Adjustment and flexibility were the themes of our second day in Montego Bay. The ability to be flexible with plans, teaching, and scheduling was required at each place we visited. Our team was able to meet these challenges, however, by working together and supporting each other. At the end of the day, we were exhausted, but the extra effort was worth it in order to meet our patients’ needs.
Our first stop for the day was the Challenge Basic School. More than 100 children dressed in their yellow gingham school uniforms were waiting for the nurses from the United States to come and teach them. Our plan was to teach basic dental care, nutrition, and exercise. We quickly realized, though, that we didn’t have all the materials we needed, forcing us to improvise. Working together with the teachers in the school, we got the children to sing and dance, to talk about their favorite fruits and vegetables, and to sing songs about brushing their teeth. There were smiles all around, and the students learned quite a bit about maintaining their own health. Success!
Blossom Gardens Orphanage was our second stop for the day. Our plan was to teach the caregivers at the orphanage about childhood developmental milestones and methods to help the children meet those milestones. We also planned to spend time with the children, giving them some extra attention and love. We were late to the orphanage because our first session had run over, and when we arrived, two other groups were already there working. Running short on time to teach the caregivers, we had to abandon our teaching plans altogether and focus specifically on interacting with the children. No complaints from these nurses, and the kids seemed to thrive on the extra attention!
By the time the day was over, we were hot, tired, and hungry. Our goals had been to reach our patients, teaching them some basics about how to protect their health and the health of those they care for. The methods we used were not necessarily the methods we had planned to use, but with a little extra effort and some adjustment along the way, we were successful nonetheless. Learning the values of adjustment and flexibility in the provision of nursing care was another great lesson from our second day in Montego Bay…