Archive for June 24, 2016

Day 5 (Friday, June 17th) – Home-Bound

Day 5 – Home-Bound

I can’t believe it’s really the end of week one! Time is going by much faster than I expected it to. We were only in the elementary school for a couple of hours today because a few children still needed to see physical therapy. The physical therapy students are only here for one week, so they will not be back next week. The dental and pharmacy students are switching out with their peers for week two, so we will have a new set of people next week. The only students that will remain are the NP’s and the BSN’s. Although the Farm Worker Program is hard work, I am really happy to be coming back for a second week. I have learned so much about working in an interdisciplinary team, and it feels really good to know that I am providing a beneficial service to people who otherwise would not be receiving that service. I am also happy that we get the weekend off to go home and recharge for whole new experiences.

End of Week 1 photo

End of Week 1 photo

See you next week, Moultrie!

Day 4 (Thursday, June 16th) – Childhood Obesity

Day 4 – Childhood Obesity

Day camp was a little hard for me today. I worked in the height, weight, and BMI station at the elementary school. As we all know, childhood obesity is becoming a huge problem in America. Childhood obesity is more prevalent in minority populations due to factors such as income disparities and lack of access to healthy food and medical services. However, I saw a lot more overweight and obese children than I expected to see at the elementary school. It really hurt me to see children struggling with weight issues so early in life. I was sad to know that for some children, their parents could not do much to help them lose weight because they may not have the money, time, or knowledge to make better food choices. I learned from my clinical instructor that if the children do not adopt better health habits soon they could carry their poor health practices into adulthood and have a much harder time losing weight.

Graces plots a child's height and weight on a growth chart

Graces plots a child’s height and weight on a growth chart

Karime poses with Dr. Science in the donation room

Karime poses with Dr. Science in the donation room

Haja learns how to hula hoop during down-time

Haja learns how to hula hoop during down-time

A lovely lunch courtesy of a local church

A lovely lunch courtesy of a local church

Lunch at a local church

Lunch at a local church

Tonight’s camp was also a hard experience for me. The farmworkers’ quarters were in very bad shape. The outside of the buildings were decrepit. Trash and beer cans were scattered all about and dogs wandered up and down the area. Worst of all is that children lived there. Seeing the condition in which the workers and their families live really made me realize how important what we are doing is. With such poor living conditions, there is no way they could afford to seek medical services. Their work also depends on their health, so being able to know what health condition they are in is very important to them. Though this experience has been exhausting at times, tonight’s camp refreshed my sense of purpose.

BSN students and clinical instructors pose in front of the Ellenton Clinic van

BSN students and clinical instructors pose in front of the Ellenton Clinic van

Ashley and Jennifer take advantage of the beautiful sunset

Ashley and Jennifer take advantage of the beautiful sunset

Haley, the TA, and her BSN crew

Haley, the TA, and her BSN crew

Day 3 (Wednesday, June 15th) – “It Gets Easier”

Day 3 – “It Gets Easier”

Today felt like a typical day, but it wasn’t until we got back to the hotel from night camp that I realized how smoothly everything had went. I woke up feeling well-rested, despite only getting 4 hours of sleep. I was assigned to the Hemoglobin & Blood Glucose station at the elementary school and had been dreading my shift since I read the assignment schedule on Monday. I, a second year nursing student, dislike being pricked and seeing my own blood, so I dreaded the reaction a six year old may have to the test. I imagined lots of sweat, tears, and of course, blood. I am pleased to say that there was only the latter…for the most part. Most of the kids I tested were a little nervous but put on their big boy and big girl faces when they learned that they could pick out stickers after the test. Most surprisingly was a kindergartener who was excited (yes, you read that correctly) to check his glucose level. Thankfully, there was only one crier today. All the nursing students worked together to calm her down but she refused to be pricked until she saw the procedure demonstrated on my finger. Yes, it hurt a little, but I, too, put on my big girl face and said “see, that was easy.”

Laura demonstrates how to prick a child for a glucose test

Laura demonstrates how to prick a child for a glucose test

 

Tonight’s camp was my favorite experience so far. As I mentioned in my previous posts, I took a little Spanish in high school but am so out of practice that I can barely make a five word sentence. But through a lot of practice with my roommates and the interpreters, I am remembering a lot of what I had forgotten. I was stationed at the blood pressure table in night camp. I was also a little nervous about this assignment because night camp can be noisy, making it hard to listen to and measure systolic and diastolic pressure. To my surprise, this station was also a breeze. Not only was I able to easily obtain blood pressure values, I was also more confident in my Spanish speaking ability. I could tell that my patients really appreciated the fact that I was trying to make them feel more comfortable by speaking their native language, even if I did mistake “esto es su numero” (this is your number) with “esto es su nombre” (this is your name).  Because we had learned that migrant workers do not make much money and therefore buy a lot of cheap and unhealthy food, I was expecting a majority of my patients to have high blood pressure. But in fact, a majority of them had great blood pressure and were in great shape. This makes sense, considering how labor-intensive their work is.

Night camp selfies

Night camp selfies

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Because we had done it four times already, loading and unloading the van was very easy tonight. All teams have become so used to the routine that we were able to see all our patients and leave night camp at 11:30pm.

Day 2 (Tuesday, June 14th) – Under Pressure

Day 2 – Under Pressure

No, not literally, but I felt that the Queen song best describes a blood-pressure filled day. To me and you, getting our blood pressure taken during a routine healthcare visit is rarely preceded by tears. That statement is far from true when it comes to children under the age of eight. Though it took a lot of reassuring and sticker-bribing, the first few kids I examined were a piece of cake. Then came the kindergarteners. It was like a domino effect; one child walked into the room, saw the blood pressure cuffs, and began crying inconsolably. Seconds later, three more children in line were terrified of entering the room and begged to go home. Patient zero refused to be examined but the others eventually settled down enough for us to distract them with stickers and songs as their blood pressures were being taken. I quickly learned that saying “I’m going to give your arm a hug like this” is a much better calming phrase than “I’m going to squeeze your arm like this.” I also found that covering my stethoscope with colorful stickers makes it seem a lot less scary.

Nursing students start their day by discussing the events of night camp

Nursing students start their day by discussing the events of night camp

Alejandra and Grace practice taking manual blood pressures

Alejandra and Grace practice taking manual blood pressures

The star team of blood pressure

The star team of blood pressure

Jaime helps a young student conquer her fear

Jaime helps a young student conquer her fear

Lucy and her vision-checking glasses

Lucy and her vision-checking glasses

 

Night Camp seemed to run a bit more smoothly today compared to yesterday. I measured height, weight, and BMI. At first I felt awkward speaking to my patients because I was scared of saying the wrong words in Spanish. But with time I could easily say “I’m going to check your height, weight, and BMI.” The workers were excited to know what their weight was and whether or not that was healthy. I was happy to find that a majority of them were at a healthy body weight.

 

Foot care station - Day 2

Foot care station – Day 2

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Foot care station

Foot care station

 

My station moved pretty quickly, so when I had finished with all of my patients I was able to float around and observe the nurse practitioners and the physical therapists at work. One thing I really love about this experience is how closely the different disciplines of medicines get to work together. As a nursing student I assess the patient and send him or her off to the nurse practitioners. The nurse practitioners make a diagnosis and send the patient to physical therapy or dental if either service is needed. The nurse practitioners also write a prescription for the patient which is filled by the pharmacy students. It’s really great to see what really goes into taking care of a patient. In the future, I hope to come back to Moultrie as an NP student.

Update: The gnat population dramatically decreases following a rain storm. It rained earlier in the day, so the gnats were not much of a problem tonight.

Day 1 (Monday, June 13th) – Unloading, High School Spanish, and Gnats

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First meeting at the Ellenton Clinic in Moultrie, Georgia. Members of the interdisciplinary team: Nurse practitioner stduents (NP’s), Nursing students (BSN’s), Dental students, Physical Therapy students, and Pharmacy students. 

 

An interdisciplinary team - (from left to right) PT, NP, BSN, NP, and Pharmacy students

An interdisciplinary team – (from left to right) PT, NP, BSN, NP, and Pharmacy students

 

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Ashley, a BSN student, patiently waits to enter the dinner room.

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Dinner at the Moultrie Fine Arts Center, hosted by the Mayor and his wife. 

BSN students after dinner in the Moultrie Fine Arts Center

BSN students after dinner in the Moultrie Fine Arts Center

 

Today was the first official day of our two-week trip. I woke up this morning more nervous than I had been in the days leading up to the trip. Because we took a one and a half week long course to prepare us for the Farm Worker Program, I felt that I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. However, I still had my fears. I took 2 years of Spanish in high school but I haven’t practiced in so long that I no longer felt confident having a simple conversation in Spanish. I knew interpreters would be around to facilitate conversations during night camp but I also knew that knowing at least a few words of Spanish would make my patients feel more comfortable.

Day camp was very busy. Although we did not actually see any children, we had to set up our stations for the next two weeks. Unloading the vans with the examination equipment and donations took a little over an hour. Then we had to set up our examination stations in the gym and the upstairs classroom.

Unloading the first van

Unloading the first van

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Sharon explains the game plan for unloading the van

Sharon explains the game plan for unloading the van

Setting up the donation room at Cox Elementary

Setting up the donation room at Cox Elementary

Physical Therapy students demonstrate their skills to the BSN, NP, and Pharmacy students

Physical Therapy students demonstrate their skills to the BSN, NP, and Pharmacy students

 

I had butterflies in my stomach the entire ride to night camp. I was assigned to the foot care station, which meant that there would be a lot of opportunities for conversation while I took care my patients’ feet. Because I was so out of practice in speaking Spanish, I was scared that there would be a lot of awkward silence. When we got to night camp, we learned that the tap was too far away for us to connect our water hose. So for safety reasons, we decided not to have a foot care station that night. Instead, I was asked to help the BSN students in charge of patient intake. Being at the intake table allowed me to listen closely to the interpreters as they helped the farmworkers fill out their intake sheets. I was able to learn a few Spanish words and phrases this way.

Setting up the intake station

Setting up the intake station

Setting up night camp

Setting up night camp

The ladies of intake

The ladies of intake

Jennifer hard at work

Jennifer hard at work

 

Because this is the first time most of us have taken part in the farm worker program, things moved a little slow. It took a while to unload the vans and set up the different stations. It even took a bit longer than expected to do our assessments and move the patients on to the next station. By the end of the night, things seemed to be running more smoothly. As expected, the most popular table was the physical therapy station. Due to heavy lifting and improper body mechanics, the farm workers have a lot of complaints of muscle pain. The physical therapy students were busy from 7pm to midnight, making it one of the last stations to shut down.

For the most part, night camp was what I imagined it would be, except for one thing: gnats. They were everywhere! I drenched my body in insect repellent but that seemed to do very little for to keep the little creatures away. I quickly learned that waving my paper Emory fan in my face was the best way to keep the insects away. Because I could not do much more to help the intake process, I picked up a stack of paper fans and began handing them out to people in the lines. They seemed really grateful to have the fans.

Alejandra translates during a physical therapy session

Alejandra translates during a physical therapy session

Jennifer and Lucy pose with free bell peppers courtesy of the farm workers

Jennifer and Lucy pose with free bell peppers courtesy of the farm workers

Now that the first day is over and I know the general order of things, I am really happy I decided to participate in this program. It was obvious that the workers were really happy that we were there to provide the services they would not be able to access otherwise. Although it has been a long day, I am really excited to see what the other days will be like.