Alternative Spring Break – Puerto Rico, Day 7

By Lindsey Zwecker
Photographer: Trisha Cabantac

On Friday, March 16th, we went to a nursing home in Ponce, Centro Geriatrico de la Ave. We were thrown right into work and helped the staff with the morning showers of the residents. Once all the residents were showered and dressed we took them into the dining room for breakfast.

We took blood sugars and helped feed some of the residents. After breakfast, we took most of the residents into the day room. We ambulated some patients through the facility and helped the charge nurse give out medications. Soon after we all gathered in the day room and one of the nurses played music.

We had a great time dancing and playing dominoes with the residents for a couple of hours. Gladys whipped out her guitar and some of the girls in the group sang some songs for the residents alongside her. The residents loved it and it was such a joyful time.

We then walked around the facility and turned and changed some bed ridden patients. Afterwards, we took the residents back to the dining room for lunch, again helped serve and feed them.

We had a surprise visit from one of the Puerto Rican senators, Senator Cruz, that helps out a lot with the nursing home.

After the nursing home we went back to Blankito’s for lunch. We then went to Castillo Serrallés in Ponce that was built in the 1930s for Juan Eugenio Serrallés who owned the large sugar cane factory in Ponce. We were able to tour the beautiful house and get some souvenirs.

The group ended the trip with a beautiful dinner at a local Italian fusion restaurant in Ponce Plaza and celebrated all the great experiences we had in Puerto Rico.

On Saturday morning we traveled back to San Juan from Ponce to go to the airport and landed safely back in Atlanta. I think I speak for the group in saying that the trip was really inspirational and humbling, especially to see places like the hospital that still did not have power and the nursing home. This trip not only taught us to be more culturally sensitive when providing care in our practice but also to appreciate the resources we have as nurses in the United States and how important it is to give back to the community around us and in places like Puerto Rico.

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