Mission Trip to Nicaragua - Page 2Register Today!
- Oct 6, '11 by canesdukegirlQuote from merrywhiteroseYou are so right. There are PLENTY of places right here that need our help. I also volunteer for our state medical assistance team. I am the Lead Clinical Nurse for the OR portion of our mobile hospital. We deploy during disasters here in the Southeast, and we spent a great deal of time serving the people of Waveland, MS when Katrina hit.At a time when our country needs us the most, I don't feel going to other countries to help is prudent. If you want to help, go to the hills of Kentucky, Tennessee, or Arkansas. There are many families there that have no health insurance so they don't seek medical help.
It is very honorable to feel the way that you do, and I completely understand.
I work with a surgeon that goes bi-annually to Jinotega for this mission trip. He asked me to join his team many times. I had to really think about it, because I did feel just the way you feel. After the third time he asked me to go, I finally shared my feelings with him. He listened patiently, and then told me that I had very valid points.
He explained that while we have plenty of people here who need our help just as much, that the people in third world countries face a much more looming battle. There are few government sponsored programs...and not just in healthcare. There isn't even a formal sanitation program in place; the people must incinerate their trash. People don't have the freedom to voice their opinions the way we can here. Violence is a way of life in many third world countries. Law enforcement is largely non-visible. Women and children don't have many choices, and there aren't programs to help them get back on their feet.
The people live by a set of rules that we can't possibly comprehend unless we have witnessed it ourselves. I was ill prepared for the injustices I saw.
Our main focus was to TEACH the surgeons and the nurses basic skills such as sterility, infectious disease prevention, surgical techniques that have the best outcomes with the least amount of trauma to tissue, and post-operative interventions to increase healing rates. We had very little resources and few supplies; all the while dealing with a language barrier. We were forced to think 'outside the box' constantly. A friend of mine who has gone on many mission trips to many countries told me that we are "teaching the people HOW to fish". I kept that in the back of my mind at all times, and it kept me focused.
This kind of experience is very helpful to foster your creative thinking skills as a nurse. It sure did for me.
- Oct 6, '11 by canesdukegirlQuote from wannabecnlYou don't have to have any special experience. Keep in mind that the kind of care needed in a disaster/mission setting is BASIC care. If you know how to triage, know how to treat wounds, and can organize a make-shift unit, you are golden! We have nurses from every specialty. Some of our volunteers are not even medical, but they are logistical volunteers. We need people who can build things, have knowledge regarding computers, and can organize donated supplies in a manner that is easy to work from. We need people who know how to drive forklifts and bulldozers. As long as you are able bodied and don't mind getting dirty, you are WELCOME!!!Merrywhiterose and canesdukegirl (and anyone else who has volunteered for any nursing/medical mission), I just wanted to ask you more about your preparation for volunteering. What level of experience do you think a nurse should have when volunteering for something like that? I've been unable to volunteer for anything because I'm in school full-time, but I'll be out soon. I suspect I won't be of much use at the beginning until I have some experience.
To that end, I'm trying to tailor my job search to gain relevant experience to volunteer--what do you suggest? (With the market as it is right now, I'll be lucky to find anything, but I've applied for a med-surg float pool orientation, a surgical floor, ICU, and PACU)
Don't ever think that you won't be of much use. If you want to volunteer, there are plenty of things that you can do. The best thing to do is to join a volunteer agency and learn the roles. When you feel comfortable with what you learn, you can then in turn teach others who wish to volunteer.
Kudos to you for wanting to volunteer. You will LOVE what volunteering gives back to your soul.
- Oct 10, '11 by kty1Quote from wannabecnlThank you for bringing this up as the USA REALLY needs help from medical teams such as nursing, MD and Dentists. I am thankful for all the many people who do go overseas to help, but wish we could first "clean up our own backyard" so to strengthen the many people right at home; before venturing out and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars outside.It is also true that the domestic need is great, especially in rural areas. I just saw info online about the Red Bird Mission in Beverly, Kentucky. So many opportunities abound for volunteering as a nurse. I hate to go anywhere as a volunteer until I get some actual experience, so let's hope I get a job soon.
Again, thanks to all who are so generous with their time and helping outside USA. Hopefully, you will commit to helping USA on your next trip as there is a critical need!
- Oct 10, '11 by kty1Quote from merrywhiterosei volunteered in joplin, mo after tornadoes destroyed the town, including the hospital. they were desperate for medical help. we had no running water, supplies were short, & a make-shift pharmacy that had the basics. the tornadoes ripped off these patients' glasses, filled their eyes with debris, they lost their houses, & everything, including relatives. you don't have to leave our country to find people needing medical help.
you are so.....right as you do not need to leave the country to help others in need. there also does not need to be any tornadoes, hurricanes, etc, as we know, in order to volunteer to those thousands who are living without basic medical needs as well as, surgical needs (i.e. cleft lip repair etc).
thank you for donating your time, and hope the many nurses who read these posts will also donate their time to the many people right here in the usa who desperately need their services.
- Oct 11, '11 by Enthused_Nurse2BI have a couple questions -
1. Do you feel that there is some value to volunteering abroad such as personal growth and/or experiencing a new culture and seeing new places?
2. If nurses are "confined" only to the US, then are they not being deprived of the valuable experiences they can only obtain abroad (i.e. new life experiences, personal growth, seeing new places, etc)?
Sorry if these questions sound charged - it's just that I feel humans everywhere need help, in the US and abroad. I think it should be up to the individual to decide what experiences they would like to seek, especially when combining that with volunteering their skills. If they want to experience life differently and (volunteer) work abroad, then more power to them, right?
- Oct 11, '11 by merrywhiteroseI feel Americans should help other Americans, instead of going to other countries. You can get valuable experiences w/o leaving the country. There are plenty of poverty-stricken people HERE that need help. America has a melting pot of cultures to experience. I don't feel that it's right sending our money to another country, especially with the country possibly going into a depression.
- Oct 12, '11 by beachbumRN88sdfasd
- Oct 12, '11 by beachbumRN88Instead of "Americans helping Americans" how about "people helping people."
If the mentality of "its us versus them" persisits we will all lose.
"We are all in this together, and nobody gets out alive"
- Oct 12, '11 by Enthused_Nurse2BThank you beachbumRN. I share that philosophy and I was trying to get that point across in my post.
- Oct 13, '11 by CrazierThanYouBeautiful story!