Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Ghandi

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Costa Rica

While in Costa Rica, I worked at a clinic with one other nurse and one to two doctors. Daily we would see anywhere from 25-30 patients.

What I enjoyed the most on this trip was working with girls from a ministry called Refugio. This ministry is in a slum called La Carpio where 99% of the women are raped or sexually assaulted by the age of six. While there I was able to listen to, pray with, and get to know these girls. Being able to support and show love to such a hurt group of girls was a blessing to me.
What I enjoyed the least was hearing the stories of La Carpio such as the babies sleep in sugar sacks that are hung from the ceiling so that the rats don’t eat them. I just can’t imagine having to live that way. It was very hard to hear such a thing be true.
The cultural differences I observed were the happiness in Costa Rica. The happiness that this culture had was so contagious. These people are people who have essentially nothing and are happy with what they have. In the Costa Rican culture it is customary for families to always be together and eat every meal together. I enjoyed this aspect because it made every day more fun and exciting.

A memorable moment to me is when the girls from the refuge and I had a mud fight. These girls have to grow up so fast and their childhood is stolen from them and being able to play with them took away all of their worries for the time being. One of the girls gave me a coffee mug with our picture on it afterwards. I know that it was a sacrifice for her because they barely have enough money to live off of. Another memorable moment was teaching a fifteen year old how to add and subtract. This particular boy never had the opportunity to go to school so he attends a tutoring program in La Carpio ran by Christ for the City International. Seeing him progress and actually understand the math was very exciting for me.
While on this trip, I translated for an American doctor and was able to better my Spanish medical terminology. I enjoyed working with Dr. Elizabeth because I was able to observe the different treatments for the diseases that I’m not used to seeing in Illinois. Since the clinic in La Carpio is operated mostly from donations, many times we had to work with what we had and be creative with our supplies. I learned to adapt to a new environment and be ready for any situation that would come through the front door.

I would just like to thank ONAAT for the scholarship I received. I was able to change the lives of many people in the one month that I spent there. I hope to return to Costa Rica whenever God provides. 
By: Ashley Basurto


Friday, October 25, 2013

Nuevo Laredo - Sue's Mission trip

[LATE POST - our apologies!]

Well, it's going on 3 weeks now and I haven't told you guys what's happening.  Sorry about that!

We've been slaving away (you might have seen the Tribute to Post It Notes) on the project proposal.  MSF Swiss is taking on the ED of the General Hospital (public hospital) in Nuevo Laredo. This is where people go who have the social insurance or none at all (about 50% of the population is at risk).  You would be astonished to see - there are 3 private hospitals with all the money in the world, look just like ERs in the US, TVs in the waiting rooms, marble floors and walls, polished spokespersons greeting you at the door ... And our hospital is the run down, doing their best with very little, dangerous part of town where all the traumas go.

The situation is that in Nuevo Laredo, over the past 13 years of the War on Drugs, two cartels have been fighting for control of this corridor - and civilians are caught in the crossfire.  Everything is locked up tight, few people on the streets, "no go" areas of the city.  400,000 residents living in fear.  This has caused the outlying public health clinics to limit services, hours, care and so everyone has become accustomed to coming to the ER for everything (sounds a bit familiar to our situation at home?).  The ER has now become overwhelmed with 50 patients per day, boarding for days (including TB patients boarding for a week in an non-ventilated "isolation" room in the middle of the ER), no in ER pharmacy system, doctors who are not ER trained, nurses who learn on the job ... AND the pre-hospital EMS/911 system doesn't work.  

What we've done so far is redesign the physical layout (working with the hospital architect), created the positions of Chief of Emergency Medicine and Nurse Manager of ED, created a new flow by having Triage and Fast Track, make lists for equipment, medications, training and systems that will help fix all of the above.  Sounds like a lot, eh?  Well, as we being to fix the ER, we will tackle the EMS system and fix that, plus repair the referral system to the clinics. 

We started with blank faces and blank walls.  The Mexican ER doctor had been here 3 weeks working and immersing himself in the ER, but had no idea how to go about creating a proposal to fix things.  So they brought me in.  My first task was to rearrange the office, put pieces of paper on the walls and  a pad of post its in each hand.  And began to brainstorm.  I can only imagine what was going through their heads - no one on the team had ever seen such a thing!  For 2 days we put ideas up on the wall, discussed, fine tuned and began to shape the ideas one by one and see how they could fit together.

Then came time to begin putting finger to keypad and bring it all together in a cohesive whole.  Each day we work on collecting more information, adjusting original ideas and trying to figure out what the project ought to look like.  The proposal will be sent to Geneva tomorrow and the discussions with the overseeing desk begins.  A week later, the fully polished version is presented to the President of MSF Switzerland for approval.  THEN the work really begins.

Our work day starts about 8:30 til 2, then 1 1/2 hrs for lunch and back to the office til 6ish.  My evenings are watching internet TV (The Daily Show and Colbert Report in order to keep up on the news :), chatting with Pete on Skype, reading, watching DVDs, etc.  Weekends so far have found me happy with internet sites to watch the Seahawks wins and Formula 1 races.  We've really not seen anything of the town - home to office by car, back again, to/from the hospital ... I walk a bit on weekends, but there's nowhere much to go that's safe.  Most of the city is "no go."

Hoping they will find and send the field team before I go so we will have some handover.  In the meanwhile, I'm going to be working on protocols, manuals, assessments and training and getting ready for the field team to implement what we've envisioned.  It's going to be an interesting 2 years for them and I'd love to see the results one day.

- Sue 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Happy Emergency Nurses Week!

It's hard to believe but another year has passed us yet again. It's Fall of 2013 - and it's emergency nurses week!  I might be a little biased, because I am an emergency nurse, so this post is to all of those ER nurses who work short-staffed, pee once a shift (at the end), take a lunch break (stuffing food in their mouth's between codes) and always having that nitty gritty attitude of "This is not the worst part of the day - it. could. get. worse."

Emergency nurses are amazing at their jobs, they have inventive and thoughtful ways of caring for the most complicated patients. After 30+ years working in the ER, I still see veteran nurse's leave a sick patient's room with tears in their eyes. They know what the route will be for this, mom, daughter, father, son, grandmother, uncle, cousin, friend, wife or spouse.

It's really nice to be celebrated, and every year, hospitals take the time to honor their emergency department nurses with a week-long or day of festivities. This celebration is for the nurses who give their best in acts of service, compassion and commitment.

Emergency Nurses Association is doing a really fun celebration contest this week. I don't know if any of you participated in it last year, but here's the short of it: "Last year, we sent all of you a video featuring staff to wish you a happy Emergency Nurses Week. This time, we want to hear from you. This is your chance to not only share what being an emergency nurse means for you, but to celebrate your colleagues from all over the world. Join and help us celebrate!"  - Instagram Contest - ENA  Tag it with #ENWeek

This year's theme as set by ENA is "Everyday Extraordinary". I really like what they say about ER nurses. But I also think, that this can apply to ALL nurses, in every nature of nursing. ENA states "Everyday Extraordinary is a call to acknowledge the daily bravery, devotion and dedication provided by nurses who save lives and care for the critically ill, mentally ill, traumatized, and marginalized patients who enter their doors 24/7."

Cheers to you and all of your dedication and hard work. THANK YOU!!

Global Outreach Mission

Global Outreach Mission (GOM) is another featured organization we would like to share with you. This organization has had over 70 years of ministry experience around the globe...and I mean they are around the globe!  I was amazed at how many countries they have working projects in!  GOM is dedicated to sharing the Gospel of Christ, and they are doing so in over 50 countries.

Currently they have an urgent request out listed on their website: "The Floods in Pakistan have devasted many. Please prayerfully consider helping!"  Donate to Help Pakistan  Other projects GOM is currently working on are: Clean Water Initiative - Sierra Leone, West Africa; Dental Clinic - Belize, South American; Leprosy Clinic - Congo, Africa; Prison Medical and Child outreach - Costa Rica.

Global Health Services Evangelism is the fundamental goal; and essential programs such as church growth, leadership training, camps and medical ministries are a catalyst for effective evangelism. GOM seeks to successfully build and maintain hospitals, smoothly handle short-term clinics in isolated villages, and provide medical professionals with unique opportunities to successfully introduce the love of Christ.

There is a medical need mission to Costa Rica listed on the website that sounds interesting. The trip is to Orosi Valley, south of the capital city of San Jose. Medical teams will travel to areas with the central valley to hold medical clinics for those who have little or on access to proper medical care. There are several opportunities for all- physicians, nurses, paramedics, physical therapists, dentists and physician's assistants.  There is a children's ministry that can be held in conjunction with the medical clinics and opportunities also exist in a local orphanage or at the retreat center.

If you are interested in learning more or contacting a mission specialist please go HERE

Hope you take some time to learn more about this wonderful organization. Thanks for all that you do!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Camp Boggy Creek - Pediatric Nursing Volunteers

I was thumbing around on the website today and found an excellent little camp that I thought I should share to you. Have you ever heard of Camp Boggy Creek? Well if you haven’t, it’s an excellent example of what happens when you gather people together who really want to make a difference in the world and in someone else’s life.
Here is one of the opening lines from their About Us page - “A camp where children with serious illnesses and their families can forget the word “no” for a little while and embrace the promise of “yes”.

Camp Boggy Creek has been around since 1996. It was originally founded by Paul Newman and General H. Norman Schwarzkopf. This camp is huge! And it is in one of the best places to visit on earth, especially when it is winter everywhere else. The camp located just outside of Orlando Florida on a 232-acre camp. The camp serves children ages 7-16 who've been diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening condition.

Are you interested now? Well if you are there are many times and many ways you can volunteer or donate to help. Since Camp Boggy Creek is open year around, their need for volunteers and donations are large. The camp utilizes 1800 volunteers annually to provide a safe, free and medically sound camp environment for these children.

To look at their list of volunteer needs please click HERE

Here is a basic list of their current needs:

Special events, airport transportation ambassador, housekeeping, dining hall/kitchen, maintenance, quilts, afghans, Boggy Bears, Office support, service projects, woodworking. 

During the summer, medical professionals are needed at their summer camps.  These volunteers are nursing or physicians who specialize in the illness they will be serving during that summer camp session. Some summer camp sessions require other medical volunteers, such as pharmacists, EMT/Paramedics and respiratory therapists. Medical and nursing students are also encouraged to volunteer as cabin counselors!

If donation is something you have in mind, here is a direct link to their donation page. Thank you!

We hope you take a moment to read about this wonderful camp and take the opportunity to either donate or take the next step towards volunteering your time there!