Walking in the Shoes of an Emory Student Nurse in Montego Bay

By Lisa Pham | Woodruff Health Sciences Center | Dec. 15, 2016

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Allison Caughey
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Considering an alternative winter/spring break trip? Well this post is for you. Before I made the decision to apply for the Montego Bay alternative winter break trip, I had to think long and hard about which trip I wanted to go on and if this was how I wanted to spend my break. The thought of going to an unfamiliar country on a service learning trip seemed both exciting yet nerve-racking at the same time. So here’s a little insight on a day in the life of a student nurse in MoBay.

0710: Wake up. Shower. Put on the same scrubs from yesterday. Spray sunscreen and bug spray. Oops, accidentally inhaled it. It burns but it’s better than getting Zika.

0730: Breakfast. Fruit, lots of coffee, and eggs. Yum. Quick meeting before we hit the road.

0745: Time to go. Our bus driver is seriously the best. Drive to the Montego Bay Women’s Centre. It’s a bumpy ride. Someone’s walking their goat on the side of the road. Jamaica is so interesting.

0830: Arrived. Our team leads (Elianne Carroll and Fielding Glenn) go into the the Women’s Centre first to assess the area and come back to direct our teams on which modules will work best with the group. We’re split up and we move. Candice Brooks and Alex Arzenshek educate women on prenatal care and contraception. They also pass out heat packs that we made last night with rice and socks and it’s a hit. I guess we’re buying more rice tomorrow.

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0845: The rest of the group is either working the screening station (blood pressure, hypertension education, height/weight/BMI, and glucose checks) or are singing Christmas carols with the kids. The kids are so loving. I wish we had more time to play with them.

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0930: Screen the staff while some of us watch the kids. The staff are thankful and kind to us.

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1025: Gather in a circle. Pass the snack bag around. The chocolate granola bar is the best (shout out to Dr. Muirhead for the snacks). Debrief. We apply the PDSA (plan, do, study, act) model we learned. What went well? Whast could have gone better? What do we need to modify to be even more successful at our next session?

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1030-1400: Again, we divide and conquer at Blossom Garden’s Children’s Home. A home for foster kids. This round, Nicole Amadio and Fauziya Ali are the team leads. The number of school age kids is different than expected, but the remain calm and modify the plan as needed. Flexibility is key on this trip. Some of us are with the school age kids. Remi Erlich teach the kids how to sneeze into their sleeves. Excellent. Lisa Pham teach the kids how to brush their teeth correctly (circular motions). The rest are either with toddlers or infants playing with them and loving on them. Dria Ambramson breaks one of the swings while swinging with a toddler. The toddler was unscathed. Dria, you’re amazing.

1430: Lunch time. Refuel. Debrief. Get ready for the next site.

1500-1525: On our way to the Caribbean Christian School for the Deaf. Definitely still not used to this bumpy van ride. Also still not used to being on the “other” side of the road–not the “wrong” side (according to Willie, our van driver). We’re also all panicking about next semester’s classes but it’s okay because at least we’re panicking together. Time for a power nap for me. ZzzzZzz

1530-1600: Fielding Glenn, Sophie Shiere, and Meghan Elizabeth lead a yoga session. Most of us can’t touch our toes but the kids seem to be having a blast. All worth it.

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1600-1730: Christmas party downstairs! How sweet are the staff members to throw the kids a Christmas party with food and gifts? The kids are so excited. Laughter all around. My heart is full.

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1900: Debrief. Throw our scrubs in the laundry (shout out to Dr. Horgian for doing the entire team’s laundry). Take a minute to relax and shower.

2000: Dinner time! Eat, laugh too much, and make friends with the staff. Take a group photo.

2200: Pick up our scrubs from the dryer. Head back to our rooms.

2300: Shower. Write a reflection journal. Hit the lights and do it all over again tomorrow.