Alternative Spring Break – Puerto Rico, Day 6

By Lindsey Zwecker
Photographer: Trisha Cabantac

On Thursday, March 15th, we headed to Hospital Castañer where we were welcomed and given a tour by Dr. Jose Rodriguez. The group was given a brief history of the hospital and we were able to meet with the nursing director.

This hospital is located in the mountains and serves the surrounding towns. The hospital still did not have power since Hurricane Maria hit so it was being run completely on generators.

The group had the opportunity to go through different rotations in the hospital. Pairs went to the emergency department, the inpatient facility, the clinic, the laboratory, and went on home visits with a doctor.

Most of the facilities ran very similarly to how hospitals run in the states but the home visits were very different and an interesting experience. Two of us went out with a doctor, an LPN, and a med student in a small van to different patient houses that were either too far into the mountains or the patients were bed ridden and unable to travel.

Although Spanish was a barrier for most of us to communicate with patients, we overcame it and had an amazing experience learning how hospitals are run in Puerto Rico. Tomoyo even had the opportunity to place an IV for the first time ever.

We finished the trip watching a movie about how the hospital was founded and created and toured the new emergency department that is being built currently.

After the hospital, we traveled back to Ponce and everyone took a nap in the van. The day was really amazing for the group. It was eye opening to see how a hospital is run in Puerto Rico and see the similarities and differences between care and nursing roles. It was especially interesting after learning so much from the nursing association president on Monday and then seeing what he taught is physically in the hospitals.

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