Archive for Farm Worker Family Health Program

My Experience in Moultrie

Alejandra Del Rocio Mendez, BSN, BUNDLE Scholar

During the month of June 2016, I began my journey as part of the Farm Worker Family Health Program with 14 amazing classmates, nurse practitioner students from Emory, and with students from dental hygiene, physical therapy, and pharmacy programs in Georgia. Located in the South part of the state, Moultrie is a small town home to such appreciative migrant farm workers and children, and generous people who volunteered to provide us with breakfast and lunch, supplies, donations for the farm workers and children, and a place to stay. As part of the Farm Worker Family Health Program, which sends nursing students to Moultrie every year, our goal was to work with an interdisciplinary team and to use the skills and knowledge we learned in our public health, health assessment, and rural health courses and from our clinicals in order to provide health care to a population who faces limited access to care and experiences difficulty overcoming language barriers.

For two weeks, our schedule went as follows: visiting the local elementary school every morning Monday through Friday from 8am until 12 noon, having lunch at a local church around 1pm, resting from 4 to 6pm, and then preparing to go to night camp every afternoon Monday through Thursday from 7pm to midnight and set up mobile stations at local farm camps. Every morning, we drove in carpool groups to Cox Elementary School which was about a five minute drive from the hotel where we were staying at. There, we set up auditory, vision, blood glucose and hemoglobin, height/weight/BMI, and blood pressure stations in order to screen children part of the Migrant Farm Worker summer school program. The purpose of screening each child was to complete a Georgia 3300 public health form so that these kids would have the opportunity to enroll in school if they were to move to a county due to migrant family circumstances. We took turns gathering groups of children and taking them to the nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, or physical therapists for them to receive their check-ups.

In the late afternoon, we prepared for night camp by gathering our flashlights and head lights, spraying ourselves from head to toe in mosquito repellant, and practicing some phrases in Spanish to communicate well with our clients. Our trip began by caravanning to the farm camp for that night. At arrival, we set up tents with stations for intake, blood pressure, hemoglobin and blood glucose, height/weight/BMI, and foot care, while the nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, pharmacists, physical therapists, and research students set up their own tables. Nursing students were paired with one or two more nursing students in the group and assigned to a different station each night, so we each had a chance at each station. Believe it or not, my favorite station was foot care. I enjoyed the time I spent with each of the clients and the opportunities to talk to them in Spanish. One thing I enjoyed doing was adding humor to my conversations to help the farm workers feel relaxed and less embarrassed about a nursing student taking care of their feet. Additionally, I took the time to assist the nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, pharmacists, and physical therapists with interpretation since I am fluent in Spanish. During this experience, it was important to note that the care we provide to the migrant farm workers and their families might have been the only health care they receive throughout the year.  For me, it was important to communicate well with the clients to make sure we gathered the correct information to assess, diagnose, and educate. There were several moments during my time in Moultrie when the farm workers came up to tell my classmates and I how grateful they were for all that we were doing for them and the time and effort we dedicated to help them.

An exciting part of my Moultrie experience was the opportunity to experience being out in the fields to pick out vegetables for ourselves. Going into the fields and picking out vegetables opened my eyes and increased my awareness of the importance of the work by the migrant farm workers. Since this experience, I have not forgetten where my food comes from and who picked it, and have thanked farm workers for their important job.

My time in Moultrie was a lifetime experience as I made new friends, met some hardworking and humble workers, and gave to a population who provides so much to us. Moultrie holds a special place in my heart. Honestly, I wish I could have been there much longer, and hopefully one day, I will have the opportunity to return and do much more. The need for healthcare services is so great in this area and with this population and it brought such a warm feeling to my heart to be able to share a laugh with the farm workers and with the kids despite the life situations they must face. My experience with the Farm Worker Family Health program has been very rewarding and very meaningful, because it proved to me that engaging in a nursing career was the best decision I have made.

Day 10 (6/24) – Las chicas de Moultrie

Day 10 – Las Chicas de Moultrie

For the final blog post, I thought I’d switch it up a little bit. I took part in this program alongside 14 amazing nursing students. Before this trip, most of us did not know much about each other, or the program, for that matter. But we are leaving Moultrie as sisters and more culturally competent nurses. For this blog post, I asked each of these wonderful girls how they felt about the Farm Worker Family Health Program. These were there answers:

"It's great to see how much good we are doing now. I would love to see how this program continues to grow in the coming years." Taryn Connelly, BSN Candidate '17

“It’s great to see how much good we are doing now. I would love to see how this program continues to grow in the coming years.” Taryn Connelly, BSN Candidate ’17

"Thank you Moultrie, and all the staff members, for providing us with an invaluable experience ." Ashley Rim, BSN Candidate '17

“Thank you Moultrie, and all the staff members, for providing us with an invaluable experience.” Ashley Rim, BSN Candidate ’17

"It's incredible to see how choosing to make a small difference can make a huge difference in someone else's life." Jennifer Zhang, BSN Candidate '17

“It’s incredible to see how choosing to make a small difference can make a huge difference in someone else’s life.” Jennifer Zhang, BSN Candidate ’17

 

 

"This was a better experience than I expected. The farm workers are very humble and appreciative. I wish we were here for a longer time." Alejandra Mendez, BSN Candidate '17

“This was a better experience than I expected. The farm workers are very humble and appreciative. I wish we were here for a longer time.” Alejandra Mendez, BSN Candidate ’17

"I had an amazing experience in Moultrie. The need is great in the farmworker population, but I am glad I was able to serve them through this program by putting a little seed forward. I am eager to take all the experiences and knowledge I gained through this trip to help vulnerable populations in the future." Karime Parra, BSN Candidate '17

“I had an amazing experience in Moultrie. The need is great in the farmworker population, but I am glad I was able to serve them through this program by putting a little seed forward. I am eager to take all the experiences and knowledge I gained through this trip to help vulnerable populations in the future.” Karime Parra, BSN Candidate ’17

"The best moments down in Moultrie happened when we were able to break down language barriers and share genuine laughter with the hardworking men we were caring for. It's that basic human connection that causes us to invest on a deeper level and to spark change for the future." Halle Sovich (left), BSN Candidate '18

“The best moments down in Moultrie happened when we were able to break down language barriers and share genuine laughter with the hardworking men we were caring for. It’s that basic human connection that causes us to invest on a deeper level and to spark change for the future.” Halle Sovich, BSN Candidate ’18

"This was really a great experience. I'm gonna go home and learn some Spanish!" Olivia Atlas, BSN Candidate '17

“This was really a great experience. I’m gonna go home and learn some Spanish!” Olivia Atlas, BSN Candidate ’17

"The children and farm workers we treated in Moultrie taught me one of the best lessons a nurse could ever learn. Sometimes the best medicine isn't medicine at all, but just some love and attention to let them know that someone cares." Jamie Smith, BSN Candidate '18

“The children and farm workers we treated in Moultrie taught me one of the best lessons a nurse could ever learn. Sometimes the best medicine isn’t medicine at all, but just some love and attention to let them know that someone cares.” Jamie Smith, BSN Candidate ’18

"I really learned a lot about myself during this trip. I am really thankful for this experience." Lucy Barr, BSN Candidate '18

“I really learned a lot about myself during this trip. I am really thankful for this experience.” Lucy Barr, BSN Candidate ’18

"The most important lesson I learned from the Farmworker Family Health Program is a lesson in appreciation. It is so easy to get swept up in the small stressors of daily life and to lose sight of the many gifts we are given. The farmworkers, however, continuously smiled and were grateful to see us, despite just finishing a fifteen hour day of hard labor out in the sun. They never seemed to let their work conditions, living conditions, or being away from their families get the best of them. Instead, they focused on what they had in the present: companionship with one another and the opportunity to receive some love and attention through our care. Being able to see this first hand definitely made a lasting impact on me. Like the farm workers, I will be grateful for what I do have; I won't worry about what I lack. I joined the program to give back to a population that provides so much, but I ended up receiving so much more." Kari Burdzinski, BSN Candidate'18

“The most important lesson I learned from the Farmworker Family Health Program is a lesson in appreciation. It is so easy to get swept up in the small stressors of daily life and to lose sight of the many gifts we are given. The farmworkers, however, continuously smiled and were grateful to see us, despite just finishing a fifteen hour day of hard labor out in the sun. They never seemed to let their work conditions, living conditions, or being away from their families get the best of them. Instead, they focused on what they had in the present: companionship with one another and the opportunity to receive some love and attention through our care. Being able to see this first hand definitely made a lasting impact on me. Like the farm workers, I will be grateful for what I do have; I won’t worry about what I lack. I joined the program to give back to a population that provides so much, but I ended up receiving so much more.” Kari Burdzinski, BSN Candidate’18

"I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend Moultrie as my first clinical experience and will remember how appreciative these farmworkers were. Moultrie offered me the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary team with other compassionate and dedicated health care providers. I sincerely hope that Emory continues to send nursing students to help provide care to this deserving population." Grace Pixler, BSN Candidate '18

“I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend Moultrie as my first clinical experience and will remember how appreciative these farmworkers were. Moultrie offered me the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary team with other compassionate and dedicated health care providers. I sincerely hope that Emory continues to send nursing students to help provide care to this deserving population.” Grace Pixler, BSN Candidate ’18

Jennifer Ratcliffe, BSN:

Being involved with the Moultrie FWFH project for a second time has given depth to my understanding of this population’s circumstances. Their personal stories were heart wrenching and their medical histories will help me remember musculoskeletal disorders, and the effects of pesticides on integumentary and nervous systems, among others.

“This trip taught me to be open to change.” Cathy Wei, BSN Candidate ’18

 

As for me, I am beyond grateful. Grateful to the amazing preceptors and directors of the program. Grateful to the churches, organizations, and people of Moultrie who opened their arms and hearts to us. Grateful to the hotels and other donors in Atlanta who gave us clothes, pillows, toiletries, and various other items to give to the farm workers. Most importantly, I am grateful to the wonderful men and women who endure so much to bring food to our tables so that they may try to provide for their families. Being able to practice what I love while providing a necessary service to an oftentimes overlooked group of people has been such an amazing experience for me. I am so happy that I was one of the special students chosen to participate in this incredible program.

 

-Haja Kanu

 

Day 9 (6/23/16) – No More Night Camps

Day 9 – No More Night Camps

I find it so hard to believe that we are really approaching the end of this program. We spent most of our time today at Cox Elementary packing up our stations and cleaning the classrooms and the gym. It feels like just yesterday we were setting up to see students. It also makes me sad to think that for some of the children, we are the only access they have to healthcare. Some will not get another check-up until next year when the program comes back into town. Being here makes me realize how fortunate I am to be able to see my doctor whenever I am not well or have a health concern. It’s easy to forget that not everyone has that luxury.

Packing up the gym

Packing up the gym

Emory NP students finish up the final charts at Cox Elementary

Emory NP students finish up the final charts at Cox Elementary

Final lunch in Moultrie

Final lunch in Moultrie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interdisciplinary team (Emory BSN & NP students in blue scrubs, UGA Pharmacy in red, and Clayton State Dental Hygiene in green scrubs)

The interdisciplinary team (Emory BSN & NP students in blue scrubs, UGA Pharmacy in red, and Clayton State Dental Hygiene in green scrubs)

 

Night camp was not very busy due to the size of the camp that we visited tonight. I was stationed at the blood pressure table again. As I measured my patients’ blood pressures, I thought back to the first time I did the same task last week. I was not used to trying to listen for systolic and diastolic sounds out in a field, surrounded by gnats and loud noises. I found it quite difficult the first time, but now, I feel like a pro. We have developed this saying on the trip: “If you can do it in Moultrie, you can do it anywhere.” We are all a little sad that this was our final night camp. Overall, it has been such a wonderful and educational experience.

The blood pressure team

The blood pressure team

Alejandra checks her patient's blood glucose

Alejandra checks her patient’s blood glucose

– Haja Kanu

 

Day 8 (Wednesday, June 22) – Foot Care Technician by Night

Day 8 – Foot Care Technician by Night

Today, I took another turn at Height, Weight, & BMI. We did not see that many children since most of the students already did rotated through the stations. Because we had a lot of downtime, we began taking inventory of the materials we had at each station. While taking inventory, it began to dawn on me that our time in Moultrie is coming to an end. It feels like just yesterday we were unloading the van and setting up our stations. Time flies!

Setting up the penultimate night camp

Setting up the penultimate night camp

Night camp set-up

Night camp set-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After dreading it for a week and a half, I finally got stationed in foot care. But surprisingly, I felt ready. I have been practicing Spanish this whole trip and this was my opportunity to showcase what I had learned. Thankfully, it went well! With my broken Spanish, I was able to learn a few things about the men as I examined and took care of their feet. We spoke about Mexico, their families, and what kind of music they listened to. I even got a few song suggestions for my night camp playlist. I noticed that some men came to the station a little shy and self-conscious, but the more we talked, the more comfortable they seemed. I was happy to know that though my task was not specifically nursing-related, it helped people feel better, which is what nursing is all about.

Selfie with Don Jose (bottom right), an Ellenton Clinic employee

Selfie with Don Jose (bottom right), an Ellenton Clinic employee

 

– Haja Kanu

Day 7 (Tuesday, June 22nd) – Farm Tour & the Realities of Field Work

Day 7 – Farm Tour & the Realities of Field Work

As we are nearing the end of our trip, we assess less and less children at the elementary school.Today I was stationed at the hemoglobin and glucose table again. Because I had been at this station once before, I was not really nervous or worried. I only screened four children, which is so much less than the number of kids I saw last week. Also, because most of the other kids had told their friends how easy the test was, I did not have any criers.

In the afternoon, we had the option of donating blood to the survivors of the unfortunate Pulse Nightclub shootings. Because I am away from home and I have never given blood before and therefore am not sure of the effects it will have on me, I chose not to donate. However, a lot of people from my BSN cohort and the other schools went to a local blood bank to donate. Luckily, most of the people that donated felt fine afterwards.

Karime and Halle rest after giving blood

Karime and Halle rest after giving blood

 

I feel as though I do not write enough about the generosity of the local churches that provide lunch for us every day. Not only is the food always delicious, the people are also very friendly and genuinely happy that we are providing care to those in their community that need it the most. We always feel so welcomed by the church volunteers and so touched that people take time out of their busy schedules to provide for us. Moultrie residents truly have a wonderful sense of community.

BSN students enjoy lunch courtesy of a local church

BSN students enjoy lunch courtesy of a local church

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One exciting thing I got to do today was go on a farm tour. Both of my parents grew up in farming communities and we have a huge garden in our backyard. I’ve always appreciated fresh vegetables, so I was really excited to be able to pick a wide variety of produce FOR FREE! I was one of 12 students on today’s tour, which was guided by employees of the Ellenton Clinic. We all had a blast picking vegetables and taking pictures of the beautiful landscape. However, when we got back into the van, we talked about how hard it was picking vegetables for an hour under a beating sun. We could not even imagine how the migrant farm workers we care for do the same at a much faster pace for a longer period of time. Such hard work greatly contributes to the variety of complaints they present to us everyday.

Alejandra looks for ripe squash

Alejandra looks for ripe squash

Students try their hand at picking vegetables during a farm tour

Students try their hand at picking vegetables during a farm tour

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Today’s night camp made me realize how difficult it can be providing medical services outside of a traditional medical facility. The HemoCue machines we use to check the hemoglobin of our patients overheated several times and had to be taken back to the air-conditioned RV to cool down. During the times the machines were cooling down, we could not assess hemoglobin levels. By the end of the night, none of the glucose machines were functioning properly and we had to close down our station half an hour earlier than originally planned. Had we been in a traditional medical setting, we most likely would not have had a problem with overheating and we could have easily switched machines. However, being out in the field meant we had to be as resourceful as possible or go without. This can be quite frustrating when the patient line grows longer and longer, but we just have to be flexible and keep pushing forward. I love the challenges we are overcoming because they prepare me for real world nursing. If you can make it work in the middle of a 3,000 acre farm in Moultrie, you can make it work anywhere.

– Haja Kanu

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.