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.
Ashley, a BSN student, patiently waits to enter the dinner room.
Dinner at the Moultrie Fine Arts Center, hosted by the Mayor and his wife.
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.
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.
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.
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.