Kingston, Jamaica – Day 2

“Up in The Air”

A day and a life as a nurse at Kingston Public Hospital (Victoria Jubilee Maternity Hospital)

By Nekea Smith

Up in the air would be the best way to describe a typical nurse’s day at this hospital. KPH is one of the oldest hospitals in the world, with 503 beds. It is the only public hospital in Kingston, Jamaica that services the majority of the citizens in Kingston, and the Caribbean. Being a public hospital, the healthcare services that are provided are mostly free to patients, even medication, but free also comes at a cost. At KPH there is a major nursing shortage, which most times causes one nurse to care for anywhere between 7-15 patients alone. KPH is also severely underfunded, limiting resources available for the number of patients’ that KPH services. For example, there are only 9 ICU rooms for the entire hospital, and approximately 9 ventilators. At the Jubilee Maternity Hospital, their NICU has 143 beds but only 1 ventilator. Because the hospitals are public, they are not allowed to turn anyone away. This is when nurses use the best tool available to them; triage. Also, due to policy of not being able to turn anyone away there is an actual shortage of beds for patients to lay on. While visiting the emergency ward the charge nurse stated, “Sometimes we have to put patients on the floor. If that’s what we have to do to save a life, then we get on the floor.” Though KPH and Victoria Jubilee Maternity hospital services the majority of Kingston, and the Caribbean, it is up in the air whether or not it can continue as a public health hospital. With limited funding, and resources, nursing administration says they are just not sure whether they can hold on.

After touring the hospitals, we decided to end our day with a late lunch up in the air. We traveled up the narrow, and winding roads to the top of blue mountain. Our destination was Strawberry Hill. Strawberry Hill use to be home to the manager of famous Jamaican reggae artist Bob Marley. It has now been turned into a resort with absolutely breathtaking views, which made for a very serene, and relaxing afternoon.

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Kingston, Jamaica – Day 1

nursing student holds child

By Griselda Gonzalez

Breakfast on the terrace was the best way to start off our morning in Kingston. The open space and sunny Jamaican weather were to die for. The food ranged from traditional Jamaican dishes like Bammy to French toast. After a delicious breakfast, we made our way to The Bethlehem House and helped with getting the children ready for mass. Seeing all of their faces definitely brightened our day. They were full of life and joy. Attending mass was enlightening. I learned of the many ways they include every resident into the service. It was also neat to learn that offerings in Kingston consist of fresh vegetables and fruits that come from community gardens as opposed to money like in America. We danced and sang along with the residents and then thanked them for allowing us to be there at the end of the service.

Our driver, Ron, then gave us a quick little tour of Kingston and took us for a little shopping spree at one of Kingston’s souvenir shops. Everyone that we came across was incredibly sweet and helpful. We were all very excited to see everything that Kingston had to offer!

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School of Nursing instructor to be named ‘Ally of the Year’ at Emory Pride Awards


Michelle Sariev, 06N, MSN

By Andy Goodell
Communications Manager, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

Michelle Sariev, 06N, MSN, will receive Emory University’s “Ally of the Year” award at the 2019 Emory Pride awards on March 5 at the Miller-Ward Alumni House.

The peer-nominated Ally of the Year award honors and acknowledges contributions made by an individual, department or organization to Emory’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities throughout the past year. These contributions resulted in the creation or improvement of an inclusive, respectful and safe climate for the LGBTQ community, and thereby furthered the mission of the Office of LGBT Life at Emory University.

Sariev is alum of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and currently serves as a clinical instructor for various courses in the School of Nursing that focus on human development and sexuality. She has spent the past 10 years caring for LGBTQ patients’ needs, which includes HIV treatment and prevention as well as transgender and gender-affirming care.

“Historically, nurses have been given the privilege of caring for individuals from all walks of life and assisting individuals and families through the most challenging times,” says Emory School of Nursing Dean Linda McCauley, 79MSN, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN. “Sexuality is part of the human experience, so it is imperative for nurses to develop the sensitivity to recognize, accept and care for individuals regardless of race, gender, religion or sexuality. It is what we do.”

Understanding that many LGBTQ people have had negative medical clinic experiences is important to Sariev. She knows that anxiety about seeking medical attention often stems from bad experiences.

“Primary care is about keeping people healthy, involving everything from screenings to vaccines to diet and exercise,” says Sariev. “But when you talk about LGBTQ people, they’ve had such a bad experience historically in medical clinics. Oftentimes, they don’t go into care because they’re afraid they’re going to have another bad experience. So they miss out.”

A big part of changing this starts with how nursing students are taught about care for LGBTQ people.  In the spring of 2018, Sariev was recruited by the School of Nursing to teach their Human Sexuality course. The School of Nursing also approved a new elective specifically focused on LGBTQ health. Sariev, along with MSN Program Director Elizabeth Downes 04MPH, DNP, will co-teach that course sometime in the next year.

The community is invited to attend the 2010 Emory Pride Awards. RSVP here.

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Jamaica – Day 6

Today we visited three sites: the Challenge Basic School, The Women’s Centre and Melody Girl’s home.

At the Challenge Basic School, we taught preschool and kindergarten age children how to wash their hands. We had them color with fingerprints and then used glow germ to show them how important washing your hands for 20 seconds, and cleaning all parts of your hands is. The children were blown away by the glow germ and loved fingerpainting with the nurses.

At the Women’s Centre, students taught the women about safe sleeping, SIDS, swaddling methods, and how to use journaling as a therapeutically. The women were grateful for the blankets students left behind for their babies and all the education they received. 

Finally, at the Melody Girl’s Home, students spent time with girls ages 13-18 talking with them about their passions, beading, making necklaces and helping them with their homework. Nursing students left the Girl’s Home feeling exhausted, yet fulfilled to see the girls so passionate and hopeful for their future studies. 

Carly Whalen

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Grady Hospital – Day 4

Today we went to Good Samaritan and had the opportunity to see the clinic and hear more about their mission and the community they serve. It was shocking to hear that the life expectancy gap between this neighborhood and Buckhead is 13 years. This shows the evident disparity that is undeniably present for this community, and it is incredible how Good Samaritan works to bridge this gap by providing quality healthcare for all.

Dr. Lathrop was extremely knowledgeable about the social determinants of health and how they impact a person’s health. She provided insight on how providers can work with the community and meet people where they are with the resources they have. Friday’s the clinic provides care for people experiencing homelessness. We had the chance to make lunch for these patients. We made a chicken and vegetable stir fry and provided a hot meal to patients after their appointments. It was rewarding to see our impact and help where we could.

This day was a great opportunity to gain insight into the community we are surrounded by and how we can make a difference. Healthcare is crucial and can help patients physically, mentally, and emotionally. Good Samaritan addresses the whole person and provided an incredible example of patient centered care!

Hailey Gatins

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Jamaica Day 5

This morning. at the Montego Bay New Testament Church of God, nurses continued to provide blood pressure and blood glucose screenings to Montego Bay residents. Today, they provided care to 72 patients! We found, to our surprise, that residents in rural areas had significantly lower blood pressures and blood sugars than those in the urban setting. We thought this was likely due to less walking and more desk jobs found in the urban setting. 

In the afternoon, we visited the Cornwall Regional Hospital and were given a tour by the nurses. It was interesting to see how the hospital in Montego Bay was similar in some aspects to hospitals in America, yet also so different. This hospital was particularly interesting, as the hospital itself was shut down due to ventilation issues, and the units were displaced to makeshift spaces such as dormitories and tents. It was amazing to see what the entire nursing staff was able to accomplish with such limited resources and space.

Carly Whalen

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Grady Hospital Day 3

It’s the Grady experience, Day 3, but it’s really our group’s second day appearance at the site. Gone are my first day jitters. I’m not really sure what I had expected on the first day. I guess I held my breath when we walked through the ER because I expected to hear loud screams of doctors asking for atropine and dramatic yells of clear. I expected scenes of evisceration like some gore movie from Friday the 13th or loose prisoners. All these silly imaginations have settled, and in its stead, I see physicians, residents, administrators, technicians, and patients milling about in the cafeteria. I even see construction crews ready for the day’s job. I can look outside the cafeteria window and see the backlog of traffic and hoping that someone has not gotten into an accident and isn’t himself on his way to Grady. It is a typical day at a hospital.

Today, we initiated our project. After a brief planning session. We broke apart in teams. Each team spoke to different groups, patient, administrators, technicians, and nurses. We started with our 10 questions that may trigger other questions, but we allowed each interviewer to let the interviewee to direct the course of the interview. We did manage to interview most of the nurses and technicians and many of the Spanish speaking patients. Many of the English speaking patients were in the middle of treatment and were asleep, so we respected their time and let them rest.

After the interviews, we discussed how we were going to compile the information and decided we would compile the information into an excel spreadsheet and we would determine how to quantify it later. We also determined that we would read other journal articles.

We also begin another project, which is to determine the menu for Friday’s Good Samaritan project. We are trying to make sure we provide good sustenance as well as provide a hearty meal. We want to provide dignity as well. We have thrown out ideas, and we decided that we were going to provide something warm.

As the day closes, my hope is that this little seed of a project good provide something that shows both the nurses and the patients that there is respect and honor in what they do…that they are not forgotten, and that we are all hopeful.

Thanks,

Liezl de la Cruz

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Nursing at Emory Johns Creek Hospital

About nursing at Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Profile of Marilyn Margolis, CEO Johns Creek, talks about mentorship, and Cory Woodyatt, an ER nurse, talks about why he chose nursing.

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Jamaica – Day 4

Hello!

Today we were up and out of the resort early to visit two sites, in the morning the New Testament Church of God, Retirement, and the Garlands Hall Memorial for the physically ill and mentally challenged. 

In the morning, we provided blood pressure, blood glucose, and BMI screenings at the New Testament Church of God, Retirement. Students recalled a recurrent theme of struggling to find ways to suggest a DASH diet to people who were of low socioeconomic income and did not have easy access to a grocery store and whose diet was not familiar to their own. Luckily, our resourceful professor Dr. Gordon was able to track down the Jamaican version of the DASH diet, which proved very helpful at the education station our mini-clinic.  

In the afternoon, students spent time at the Garlands Hall Memorial. Students brought out beads and string to make friendship bracelets and necklaces, as well as, puzzle games for the older children. Students found it interesting to see how school is a very formal occasion for the children, and how very inquisitive, well-spoken and polite they were. 

After a long day of travel and very hot weather, the group returned to resort ready for a seafood dinner and a long night’s rest!

Carly Whalen

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Grady Hospital – Day 2

Today, we went outside the hospital to help Catholic Charities with their refugee resettlement services. I was impressed with the dedication that local organizations have to helping the resettlement process go smoothly for refugees. Often, we see in the news the negative reactions that those around the world have to refugees coming into their cities. This experience was a reminder that there are still people willing to help refugees. Our specific role today was helping unpack storage units full of donated household items. We had very specific sheets filled with a list of items for each family. The items included everything from rice cookers to furniture. Interestingly, a specific set of federal guidelines exist for necessary resettlement supplies.  The government contracted out these services to local non-profits. While loading the supplies into the truck for each family, I couldn’t help but think about how they were preparing for their long-awaited trip away from a refugee re-settlement camp. As the United States lowers the accepted number of refugees every year, many refugees around the world hope for this day, but it may never come.

Next, we traveled to Clarkston, GA. A square mile town very close to Atlanta. The first stop was Refuge coffee shop. A quaint little place that hired local refugees living in Clarkston and supports ‘refuge’ for refugees, clever right?  One striking thing I noticed while people watching in the coffee shop was the coexistence of many different cultures from all over the world in this haven of a city. My favorite part of the day came next, helping with the after-school program. The children were excited to have new volunteers come help them with homework and play outside. While helping with homework, the struggle of being in school while learning English was evident. A barrier also existed when looking at pictures of common animals, some of the pictures did not seem familiar to the children. However, some children quickly picked up the English material. I wondered if the children only remembered Clarkston as their home or if they remembered where they were born. I also thought about how many of the children might have been born here in the United States. What would that be like to not know the place where their parents were born? As we walked the children home from school, I thought about how important the Clarkston community is to the refugees. This community understands their struggles and triumphs as refugees in the United States.

Anna Womick

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