Monday, June 6, 2011

First Day at the Clinic

We had finally arrived at our clinic, Alto Caballero. As I stepped out of the van, I was astonished by the number of people awaiting to be seen by the doctor and nurses. The patients ranged from the babies in their early months of life all the way up to women in middle adulthood. Our instructor set us up into four different stations: Immunizations, height and weight measurements, critical care, and shadowing the doctor. Initially I got placed at the immunization station. As different patients were walking in to get immunized, the nurse tech who does them was explaining to me what each medication was in each vial, the route it was given, the dosage amount being withdrawn from the vial, and the technique used in terms of how each shot was done. There were several differences that I found compared to what we do in the states. First and foremost, the nurses normally don´t wear gloves when they give vaccinations. Additionally, when they were withdrawing medication from the ampule, they don´t use a filter needle first. Moreover, instead of tauting the skin for an intramuscular shot, they would pinch the skin. Lastly, the nurse would aspirate during a subcutaneous shot as opposed to just injecting the medication. After observing the nurse do several injections, I felt comfortable doing them on my own. I had the chance to do four vaccinations on four different patients. Two of the patients that I had the chance to do it on was a three year old kid and an eight month old. I was nervous because I have never given a shot to a pediatric patient, but the nurse tech was there right by my side, which made me much more at ease. When I was doing the injection on the three year old kid, he was smiling throughout the entire process. It was comforting to know that he was in no agony or pain at all when I was doing it. I then had the chance to do several height and weight measurements. I had trouble remembering the spanish numeric system, but luckily my partner that I was paired with had a better grasp of it.

After going to the clinic, we visited the elementary school. We had the chance to talk to the assistant director of the school and we asked him several questions, which he gladly answered. Some things that I was fascinated with was the distance and how long it would take for the students to walk to school. He said it roughly took them an hour and a half. Another thing that caught my eye was how they were only given milk for breakfast and nothing to drink for lunch. Some students therefore brought water bottles to school. After we finished talking to him, we had the opportunity to meet up with an English teacher and his students. They sang the ¨Head, shoulders, knees, and toes¨ song to us. After leaving the school, we headed back to the bus. As we were walking along the street, I turned around only to see a horde of students walking with us. We ended up walking with most of them for nearly twenty minutes, until they reached their house. I was amazed by how close the sibling relationship was. They would all just hold hands as they were walking, which I rarely see back at home. After making it back to the van, we said our goodbyes to the students.

Go Bulls!

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