Greetings from my nursing placement in Cuzco, Peru!

  1. 11
    Hello everyone!

    I am an RPN (LPN) student from Canada and I am writing to inform you all about my incredible nursing placement in Cuzco, Peru! I sought out this placement independently, it was not organized through my school. The organization I am volunteering for is International Volunteer Headquarters and they run community volunteer projects in 16 different countries internationally, ranging from medical to jungle conservation to childcare programs.

    Cuzco is a beautiful city and the people are incredibly friendly. It took a while to acclimatize to the altitude here, at nearly 11,500 ft above sea level. Itīs been very interesting to see how the altitude affects people physiologically, Cusquenians are more likely to experience specific co-morbidities than other people who live at sea level. My O2 saturation here is about 93%, as opposed to my normal 99%.

    My nursing placement is at a small hospital for low income families called Belenpampa, which primarily specializes in Gynecology & Obstetrics. None of the doctors or nurses speak english, so my (initially intermediate) level of Spanish has been rapidly improving. The hospital conditions are generally rundown and infection control is a bit poor, however not as bad as I anticipated and I did bring my own PPE. The facility is tiny and equipment is very limited. I am volunteering in the labour ward, or Sala De Partos. Last week I assisted in delivering 9 babies within six days! It was an absolutely inspirational & enlightening experience, which has led me to believe that neonatal might be my calling.

    Below Iīve attached a photo of myself and the very first baby I assisted in delivering.



    I have been collecting data within the hospital and writing daily reflection journals. I will likely develop a thesis while Iīm in Cuzco, in order to write a paper on my experience. The birthing process is very natural here and itīs quite fascinating. I have been learning so much, each day absorbing an immense amount of new skills and information.

    Also, this week I was invited to an upper class private hospital in the mornings (my placement is in the afternoon), to review patient histories and observe surgeries within their OR. Yesterday I observed a laparascopic appendectomy, in addition to an intricate orthopedic surgery on a severe tibial fracture and a shattered lateral malleous. It was a phenomenal experience, as it was my first time observing both a laparascopic and an open surgery.

    RPN students in Canada now graduate with the same scope of practice as an RN, as there have recently been modifications to the Canadian programs. However, RPNs are still paid much less. I intend to bridge to do my RN next September and I would like to pursue my NP masters degree post grad. My dream career is in travel nursing with relief organizations, so I am trying to gain as much experience volunteering internationally as I can before I graduate.

    I strongly encourage other nursing students and nurses alike to volunteer in under developed countries, working with low income families here has been such a humbling and truly rewarding experience.

    If anyone has any questions, please post below or feel free to message me.


    Bronwyn
    Last edit by Joe V on Jul 20, '12
    NRSKarenRN, elisabethm, misscherie, and 8 others like this.
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  3. 12 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    Blapp,

    I am ordinarily not impressed with stories like these. What caught my eye was where you were practicing: Cuzco, Peru. Having been born in "the old country" as I always refer to it I was drawn to read your post. How refreshing to see a young nurse, doing her thing, making a real difference in the world. That smile you have on your face is "priceless", and makes you better looking than 20,000 facials. Keep up the good work and thank you for doing something for a truly needy part of the world.
  5. 0
    Lovely post and lovely picture. Thank you!
  6. 1
    Bravo! I admire your spirit of adventure and your sense of compassion. You reminded me of the stories of all the nurses that came before us, fictional and real, like Cherry Ames and Clara Barton. Best of luck to you as you advance in our profession.
    Zombi RN likes this.
  7. 1
    Great story!!!!! and cherryames1949 I LOVE your handle!!!!! just picked up a volume of the series at an antique store, trying to rebuild my collection form childhood!

    cherryames1949 likes this.
  8. 0
    Great story. Great pic.
  9. 0
    Good for you. I too want to make that difference in the world, but I haven't quite figured it out yet. Congrats on finding on what makes you happy. You look great. Keep up the good work.
  10. 0
    Quote from blapp
    Hello everyone!

    I am an RPN (LPN) student from Canada and I am writing to inform you all about my incredible nursing placement in Cuzco, Peru! I sought out this placement independently, it was not organized through my school. The organization I am volunteering for is International Volunteer Headquarters and they run community volunteer projects in 16 different countries internationally, ranging from medical to jungle conservation to childcare programs.

    Cuzco is a beautiful city and the people are incredibly friendly. It took a while to acclimatize to the altitude here, at nearly 11,500 ft above sea level. Itīs been very interesting to see how the altitude affects people physiologically, Cusquenians are more likely to experience specific co-morbidities than other people who live at sea level. My O2 saturation here is about 93%, as opposed to my normal 99%.

    My nursing placement is at a small hospital for low income families called Belenpampa, which primarily specializes in Gynecology & Obstetrics. None of the doctors or nurses speak english, so my (initially intermediate) level of Spanish has been rapidly improving. The hospital conditions are generally rundown and infection control is a bit poor, however not as bad as I anticipated and I did bring my own PPE. The facility is tiny and equipment is very limited. I am volunteering in the labour ward, or Sala De Partos. Last week I assisted in delivering 9 babies within six days! It was an absolutely inspirational & enlightening experience, which has led me to believe that neonatal might be my calling.

    Below Iīve attached a photo of myself and the very first baby I assisted in delivering.



    I have been collecting data within the hospital and writing daily reflection journals. I will likely develop a thesis while Iīm in Cuzco, in order to write a paper on my experience. The birthing process is very natural here and itīs quite fascinating. I have been learning so much, each day absorbing an immense amount of new skills and information.

    Also, this week I was invited to an upper class private hospital in the mornings (my placement is in the afternoon), to review patient histories and observe surgeries within their OR. Yesterday I observed a laparascopic appendectomy, in addition to an intricate orthopedic surgery on a severe tibial fracture and a shattered lateral malleous. It was a phenomenal experience, as it was my first time observing both a laparascopic and an open surgery.

    RPN students in Canada now graduate with the same scope of practice as an RN, as there have recently been modifications to the Canadian programs. However, RPNs are still paid much less. I intend to bridge to do my RN next September and I would like to pursue my NP masters degree post grad. My dream career is in travel nursing with relief organizations, so I am trying to gain as much experience volunteering internationally as I can before I graduate.

    I strongly encourage other nursing students and nurses alike to volunteer in under developed countries, working with low income families here has been such a humbling and truly rewarding experience.

    If anyone has any questions, please post below or feel free to message me.


    Bronwyn

    Bronwyn,
    You continually amaze me everyday. I am so proud of you. A beautiful story, keep up the good work.
  11. 0
    Bronwyn,
    You continually amaze me everyday. I am so proud of you. A beautiful story, keep up the good work.
  12. 0
    That is so amazing. One of the dreams I have is to do midwifery in 3rd world countries. I have always had a huge passion for the neonate.
    If I ever had a break in school I would love to go on an extended mission project like you.


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