The Puerto Rico experience was a total immersion into this unique culture. We also saw parts of the island that few tourists will ever see.
Our purpose was to get a first-hand experience of the healthcare system in this beautiful, and financially struggling, island. We met the President of the equivalent of the Nursing Association (the Colegio de Enfermeras), visited homeless addicts near the main medical center, accompanied a visiting nurse to deliver recycled christmas toys to low-income children, toured the medical center campus (which houses 6 different hospitals), visited the Central Hospital, the helipad and helicopter, and lastly performed patient education at the methadone clinic (within the campus).
Puerto Ricans are a friendly and hospitable people. I was moved by their generosity and eagerness to share their personal experiences with us. My life and my nursing career will be changed from this experience.
Here are some visual highlights:
Artwrork by residents of Salvation Army shelter in San Juan
Scope of Practice of the “Colegio de Enfermeras”
Jerrica holding the cutest baby around
Delivering a donation to our partner organization
A typical street scene
About to board our wah-wah (van)
Our first taste of Mofongo
Saying goodbye to Ricardo, our documentarian
Submitted by Jennifer Ratcliffe
On Monday January 4, 2016, we visited one of the many Salvation Army sites in Puerto Rico. From our tour of the facility we learned that the men who struggle with addiction are allowed to stay on site. The men have their own sleeping quarters and they have their meals on site as well. There is a set routine that they must carry out everyday. This routine consists of breakfast, work, dinner, and mass in the chapel. The men have jobs where they either work in the store below or go to pick up donations. They are also given a free day each week where they can break from the routine and relax. On the day of our visit we were able to talk with the men after they had dinner at 3:30. We took their blood pressures and spoke with them about their time at the Salvation Army. We learned that they were from all over the world. They were from places like the Middle East, the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and more. Through discussion we also found out that there were men who had been at the facility for either less than a year to ten or more.
After we spoke with the men we broke off into groups and gave seminars about PTSD, anxiety, nutrition, wound care, and hygiene. My group gave an anxiety seminar in the chapel. When we started a couple of men left because they did not like the exercise. We played a game called “Fear In a Hat”. In this game we had each participant write down their biggest fear on a piece of paper anonymously. Then we had each participant pick out a paper from the hat and read the fear that was written. Finally, we spoke about the difference between fear and anxiety and did a breathing exercise. We turned off the lights and had the participants breathe deeply while being mindful of their environment. We had great feedback from the men. The group consensus was that there was an overall feeling of relaxation after they did the exercise. Overall, we had a positive and welcoming experience at the Salvation Army.
Jennifer Ratcliffe taking BP
Anxiety Presentation by Beenish Ali and Shefene Wright
Submitted by: Shefene Wright
Have you ever traveled? Visited different countries, cities and resorts? I’m sure at this point in your life you have done so at least once. The real question is, have you ever traveled on a mission trip? I can say I have been blessed to have accomplished this one on my check list and hope to do many more. This past week I went to Jamaica on an Alternative Winter Break trip and I can only say it is one of the best experiences of my time in nursing school.
The trip to Jamaica started the day after my last final which made it a bit stressful. I then started to wonder about my level of insanity to have chosen a trip during this time, but I can definitely say it was all worth it. Along with volunteering at different churches and communities doing different health screenings, my group and I had a chance compare the Jamaican and U.S. Health systems. This was the icing on the cake for me. We toured the Cornwall Regional hospital, the main hospital in the St. James Parish, and shadowed the nurses. It felt like we were in a different world of nursing. It truly amazes me that even through the differences in healthcare and resources, we still manage and survive. It means so much to go on this trip as a student because the experience humbles you and allows you to think about how you can help change or improve things.
While, on this trip I learned more than a handful that will supplement my nursing role and career. If you have not had the chance to participate on a trip abroad or getting ready to do so, don’t you worry it is totally worth it. You will grow, adapt, mature and enjoy your time. I am brave enough to promise you that!
By: Nadege Pierre, BSN Class of 2016