I am completely inspired and motivated from this medical journey to continually provide the best care for my patients. I am so thankful for the generosity and kindness that One Nurse At A Time has shown me by helping to support my decision to give back to the underserved communities in Guatemala.
I volunteered with Concern America within their Global Health Immersion program as a nurse practitioner to the region of Peten in Guatemala. While in Peten, I worked at a clinic in the small community of Las Cruces alongside local health promoters seeing patients in a family primary care setting. Every morning, we walked up to the clinic where we would find 20-30+ patients lined up outside the clinic from the early morning hours waiting to be evaluated for their health problems. It was overwhelming to physically see the immense need for primary care. It was humbling to see the health promoter role in action; due to lack of resources and health providers in the area, health promoters are community memberselected to go through limited sufficient training to become the local health provider for their community. Together alongside a promotor, we treated patients for a myriad of health conditions ranging from diabetes, hypertension, farming accidents, hydronephrosis, liver failure, to pre-mature infants with failure to thrive. I also had the opportunity to participate in the teaching for the first course for a new health promoter. It was so incredible to see the training of a new health promoter, and their journey from defining and understanding their newly elected vital role in society, to learning how to take vital signs.
One of my favorite experiences was teaching new health promoters how to take a blood pressure. I also had the rare opportunity to participate in the “charlas”, or public health discussions with children within the classroom. This particular day, I participated in the teaching of children on how to prevent worms and parasites, as this is a common complaint of childhood in Peten.
The experience and memories of living and learning from a local health promoter as well as treating patients who do not often have access to health care, is what will stay with me. I feel that this trip has enriched my life, and I am so fortunate to have had this opportunity to provide my nursing and provider skills to these communities. I now have an even greater appreciation for different cultures and beliefs as well.
Thank you One Nurse at A Time and Barco’s Nightingales for supporting my journey to Guatemala. This has been an amazing journey that will remain with me for a lifetime.