It was working as a team with the other nurses from Cusco at Hospital Regional when the Emergency Department would get very busy.
I was Surprise:
I was surprise that even thought I was aware that the hospital here would be very different; it was still quite a shock to experience it in person.
The most difficult thing I experienced was…
The most difficult and frustrating thing I experienced was taking care of many critical patients without enough or the right medications, medical supplies & equipment that they really needed.
My best received lesson:
My best-received lesson was adapting to the different hospital setting & learning how to utilize the limited resources by training & prioritizing patient care.
Tip for future Volunteers:
Bring Green Scrubs! Specially seafoam/mint green colors. The nurses here only wear these colored uniforms so it will be confusing if you’re not in the right color. Also bring red & blue pens because the charting is done a certain way with these colors. At the beginning of every shift, introduce yourself to the other nurses so that they know who you are & that you are ready to help wherever they need you. Ask the charge Nurses “when” you should work, because different shifts are busier & need more help than others. For example, I started out working in the mornings, until O asked when they needed the most help & the nurses told main the evenings. Since I was working in the Emergency Department, the number of patients varied from then on, I started to come at 7pm & stayed as long as they needed me each night. There was a significant difference at the time of day & they really did need the extra help then. Some nights it would calm down by 11 or 12 so I would leave then. Other nights there would be so many critical patients & not enough nurses so I would stay & help until the next morning. My best advice is to be willing to absorb & adapt to the different hospital environment. The quicker you learn how they do things there & accept that it’s not as clean & pretty as the hospital you’re used to at home, the quicker you can really jump in there & help.
Essential supplies that you should try your hardest to bring include:
-BP Cuffs(s)-There was only 1 for the whole ED
-Pulse Oximeter – Also only one for the whole ED & several patients needed close SpO2 monitoring so try to bring a small one (US$50) that you can wear around your neck.
-Gloves – As many boxes as possible 3-4
-Hand Sanitizer – enough to last your self the entire time, keep a small one in your pocket at all times.
-Honestly any other supplies.. They need it!!!
How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff, both in the US and in country?
US staff was great & organized. Very quick to respond & answer questions.
My coordinator in Cusco was wonderful. She really helped get my settle & was very friendly.
How would you describe your accommodation?
Host home: Wonderful. Very nice welcoming family
At the hospital it was a little disorganized, as there was no set nurse for me to report in to each shift. However, that was fine because I was very proactive &made the effort to get to know the different nurses each shift so we were able to communicate & work together better. Building good relationships with the other nurses is definitely key to adapting quicker & therefore, being able to help more.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Absolutely!!. I would actually strongly recommend that any future Cusco nurse volunteers contact me for advice prior to their trip.
This program completely changes your life. It is incredible to be surrounded by children and adolescents- essentially allowing us to help them to learn new things to help them in the future. The school helps us to see how difficult it is to be a mother or father and the obligation to give a great education to these children so that they can work towards bettering the country as a whole. Also, to spend time with the girls at the orphanage helps us to really understand what it really means to value the great moments and experiences in life. Really it can be said that love, respect and sincerity are things that every person should have and experience; the least important things, on the contrary, are the physicalities of people as well as the items that they possess. At the entrance of the orphanage, the wall reads "una persona vale más que un mundo" and through this, it doesn't matter how many hardships life presents, what truly matters is how a person continues to remain strong and happy.
The accommodation was good. Location was convenient as it was very close to the kindergarten and the Spanish teacher's house. The meals were healthy and gave us a good representation of Peruvian food. Host family were very very nice. They were very accommodating and shared everything with us without any hesitation. Also, we appreciate their patience with us especially when we are having a hard time understanding Spanish. We're very thankful to Maria and her family for welcoming us in their home. https://www.abroaderview.org
What was your favorite memory of this trip? I have so many! I met many other volunteers who were in the same area as me, and we would go out and take trips together. We went to Kokrobite Beach for a weekend, and it was so beautiful. White sand, beautiful ocean. I even got to ride horse-back on the beach! Also, of course all of the special moments I got to have with the children. Having them run to say good morning to me every morning was truly special.
What was the most difficult thing you experienced? On one of my last days there, one of my favorite little boys got really sick. He was feverish and lethargic. He just wasn’t himself, and I could tell he felt awful. It was painful not to be able to just give him the medicine I have in my cabinet at home to make him feel better.
What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for? The heat! I packed lightly, with mostly longer pants and capris. I didn’t expect for it to be okay to wear modest shorts, but I think it would have been okay, and I was sweating so much the whole month!
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc) Light t-shirts and tank tops, long shorts for the girls! I would bring a smaller “weekend” bag if you want to travel. Expect a lot of unpleasant tro-tro rides, but it’s the best way to get around so suffer through it! I would bring your own body wash and shampoos, it can be hard to find that kind of stuff in town! I would definitely make a trip to Kokrobite, and Cape Coast! Those were the best places that I visited.
How would you describe/rate your experience working with the ABV staff in the USA? I appreciated the opportunity they gave me, and how easy they made it for me to make my dream a reality. I would have liked to receive more phone calls, however, especially when it came closer to my actual departure date.
How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country? They were true Ghanaians- very laid back, but extremely friendly. They didn’t “hold my hand” throughout the experience though. They set me up and helped me in the beginning, but left me to experience things on my own for the most part after that-occasionally checking in on me.
Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial): I would like to thank ABV for allowing me to get to travel to Africa in a safe and reliable way. I have an amazing experience and wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was hard to adjust back to my “American” lifestyle because it is so much more fast-paced and I feel like I have been a little behind ever since I returned! But in a good way, because I have really stopped to appreciate all that I have. I will never forget the amazing people I met. The beautiful children, and the wonderful volunteers that I got to share my experience with will always be in my heart.
What was your favorite memory of this trip? I have so many! I met many other volunteers who were in the same area as me, and we would go out and take trips https://www.abroaderview.org
I loved this trip. The children were wonderful and my co worker John was excellent. I am so glad I got to do more than one thing there, I know me and I would have been so bored to stay in the orphanage for 3 weeks. I loved going into the village and making a difference. We supplied a mattress for a paraplegic man with bilateral hip wounds. We took a very sick lady to the hospital and she recovered. The community support the tanzanians give each other is heartwarming. I passed out vitamins and was a role model for the young man I was working with. he is not medically trained but by watching me and the questions I asked and my assessment of the environments, I believe he learned alot. I hope he will take his new knowledge and pass it on. That is the ultimate reward to empower people to help each other.
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