Our journey in Eleuthera, the Bahamas began on Saturday with our arrival onto the island. It is a beautiful island with stunning beaches and gorgeous crystal clear water. In our first few days, we were immersed in Bahamian culture – going to church, visiting the beach, taking part in a Bahamian Homecoming and enjoying local food. We also have seen some of the health disparities that exist on Eleuthera: lack of consistent power and potable water in some communities, dumping trash on the sides of the road and the beaches, and the expense of food that is mostly imported, to name a few.
One of our main goals while here is to evaluate what the Bahamian communities we are partnering with hold as priorities for their health and then assessing what the strengths and areas of growth exist. The community leaders gathered together today to discuss the ideas for One Eleuthera – an overarching program to join together and unite all the health programs on the island. Many of the themes that arose during the meeting centered around emergency care for Eleuthera. The South Eleuthera Emergency Partners (SEEP) is a group of citizens that is committed to emergency care in the southern part of the island. There is an emergency program for the central part of the island called HACE. And in the northern part of the island, emergency care is dependent upon the separate settlements. These agencies along with several other health organizations make up the health initiatives on the island. Our plan right now is to evaluate several of these programs in the next week and then to explore how well these programs are promoted and utilized in the communities.
Today our group went out in pairs and trios to four of the island’s clinics. Everyone had a little bit of a different experience, but each one of us enjoyed a rich day of learning about the Bahamian health system and growing as student nurses. I had quite the adrenaline rush when I was doing intake with one patient, and the patient began to have a seizure. As he fell toward me, I was able to lower him to the ground, make sure he had an open airway, and hold his head as he continued to seize. Since the doctor was at our clinic, we were able to transfer the patient to the “Emergency Room” (a small room off of the waiting area) where he was well cared for over the next few hours. It was a very heart-pumping experience! I’ll leave you with a picture of the beautiful landscape.