Alternative Winter Break – Kingston, Jamaica Team, Day 4

(Note: The Kingston Team’s activities on Days 3 and 5 were very similar and will be posted together at a later time.)

Day 4

“There was a farmer who had a horse and goat that were very good friends. When the horse became very ill, the veterinarian prescribed 7 days of medication. If there was no improvement by the 7th day, he would have to come put the horse down. The goat warned the horse that if he did not eat his food and try to grow stronger, he would be killed. Every day the goat cheered him on, but the horse felt very weak. The goat never gave up, encouraging the horse and coaxing him to stand. On the 7th day, the goat reminded the horse that today was his last chance to show the farmer he was getting better. All of his energy was spent on helping the horse to finally stand up and walk around. When the farmer saw this from his kitchen window he exclaimed, ‘It’s a miracle, my horse is well! We must celebrate with a feast! Let us kill the goat.'”

A nurse told us this story today when we visited the Kingston Public Hospital. She advised us that we always remember we are nurses because we care about our patients and we love being a nurse. Sometimes we will not receive the recognition that we deserve, but we must remember that the call to nursing is driven by compassion, not credit. We will give of ourselves like the goat, even if we are sacrificed in the process. That’s not to say that nurses do not receive recognition in the hospital, but just a little story to remember for the times when our role is perhaps a little taken for granted.

We were very impressed with the Kingston Jamaica Public Hospital and staff. Everyone knew about Emory University, remembered our instructors from the previous years, and were so welcoming toward us. One of the doctors even invited us into a patient room to watch his endoscopy procedure, showing us the difference between healthy mucosa and tumor.

We quickly learned that nurses are very well trained and highly esteemed. All are addressed as “Sister ___” rather than just by first name. The supervisor nurses have their own office, and are all are so kind and friendly toward us and one another. It seems that all the nurses know each other, even from different floors.

The head ICU nurse told us about all of her patients, many of which were car crash or motorcycle traumas that were transferred in from other hospitals. She shared each condition, how they have improved or declined, and her plan of care. She was incredibly knowledgeable; I would trust her with my life. She even visits her prior patients on the floor when they’re doing better, and shared how happy it makes her to see how different they look sitting up in bed.

We toured almost the entire hospital from emergency to med surg to radiology, dialysis, and more. We are so grateful for the experience and the encouragement we received from wonderful nurses who have so much passion for this profession.

Walk Good, even if you’re the goat today.

– The Kingston Team

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