Health care on the reservation truly shocking

  1. i have always volunteered my time and skills when i have been able to do so. nowhere have i had a greater pull towards than the rosebud & pine ridge reservations in south dakota. i plan someday to find a way to assemble a team of medical volunteers to offer healthcare to the people of those areas... the level of healthcare that they deserve. not just for a day or a week or a month, but for a few years. long enough to help combat the serious health issues nai's face that often go untreated... alcoholism, mental health, obesity, diabetes...

    maybe it's a dream, but someday i hope to somehow in someway make a difference for the lakota people in sd.

    it really makes me sick to think that this sort of thing is allowed in this country. the conditions under which so many nai's are subjected to live seem so farfetched to the people who drive around in their nice shiny new bmw's and drive home to their multi-million dollar homes. how could there be such a huge socioeconomic divide? how could people only a few miles away live in homes with dirt floors when others get marble imported from italy to adorn their foyers? it's hard to wrap your brain around such a thing... to acknowledge how terribly wrong the government has treated the nai's. and how it continues to this day...

    i know it happens to everyday to all kinds of people, but this is personal. i know i am only one person, but if enough people made enough of an effort to work towards positive change i believe something really good could come of it.

    "you may say i'm a dreamer, but i'm not the only one." - john lennon

    bridey


    if filmmaker michael moore really wanted to shock the world about the lack of health care in the united states, he should have taken his film crew to an indian reservation for scenes in his recent documentary “sicko.”

    imagine avis littlewind, a 14-year-old who was lying curled in the fetal position for 90 days before killing herself because no treatment center existed to help her.


    on wednesday, the senate committee on indian affairs held a field hearing on the crow reservation to collect testimony from native people suffering at the hands of the indian health service, which is funded at barely half of its need.
    read article in its entirety:
    http://www.helenair.com/articles/200...1081807_03.txt
    Last edit by sirI on Aug 31, '07 : Reason: edit for copyright purposes
  2. Visit Bridey profile page

    About Bridey

    Joined: Aug '07; Posts: 61; Likes: 39
    Med-Surg/Tele Floor Nurse
    Specialty: Ortho Rehab, LTC, Med-Surg, Telemetry

    32 Comments

  3. by   Medicine Eagle
    Wanted you to know Bridey, that I also am going to work on a Reservation in the hope of providing better care and giving back. This is the only way I have found to help and give back, is to dig in and give the very best medical care we can. I am going as a traveling nurse, but intend to continue as a traveling nurse on reservations. One person can't make very much difference, but I believe that there are more like you and myself who do care. So what if the hospital supplies suck and the Docs are not top notch. It is entirely possible to make up the difference yourself. As an ER nurse I have made do many times without the proper supplies, and played doctor many many times, because the one I was working with was an idiot. I have spent most of my career as a Trauma nurse in areas where the poor and homeless make up the majority of the pts. treated. Where there is a will there is a way. I wish I was shocked by what you are saying, but thanks to Siri and Thunderwolf's posts I have learned things that have made my heart cry out with the continued injustice. But I plan to spend the rest of my career doing everything I can to make things better. If there are enough of us willing to dig in things will improve over time. I refuse to believe otherwise!
    TiredBraveHeart
  4. by   Bridey
    Quote from TiredBraveHeart
    Wanted you to know Bridey, that I also am going to work on a Reservation in the hope of providing better care and giving back. This is the only way I have found to help and give back, is to dig in and give the very best medical care we can.
    I think that's awesome!! When I was younger I never realized just how dire the situation has become. Now that I'm older and I realize that the things I have seen and heard and read about the reservations aren't referring to days long ago... it's astonishing.

    I am going as a traveling nurse, but intend to continue as a traveling nurse on reservations.
    I never even considered that option. I guess my idea is a dream team of medical professionals like the ones I worked with in California. I used to do volunteer medical for concerts with an awesome organization called Rock Med. If I could find people who have as equally strong a passion for NAI's and medicine as I do I'd be a lucky girl. LOL

    One person can't make very much difference, but I believe that there are more like you and myself who do care.
    So true! If there are enough "just one persons" to step up to the plate, we might end up with a whole lot of change. It has to start somewhere with someone. You know?

    So what if the hospital supplies suck and the Docs are not top notch. It is entirely possible to make up the difference yourself. As an ER nurse I have made do many times without the proper supplies, and played doctor many many times, because the one I was working with was an idiot.
    As much as I am thankful for the doctors and surgeons who truly KNOW their purpose in life and have a calling for medicine... I have met so many who are complete dipsticks. Nurses are pretty adaptable and expect the unexpected... ESPECIALLY ER nurses. I secretly am more thankful for nurses like you than I am for the doctors. (Shhhh!) LOL

    I have spent most of my career as a Trauma nurse in areas where the poor and homeless make up the majority of the pts. treated.
    Those places... those patients need good nurses like you.

    Where there is a will there is a way. I wish I was shocked by what you are saying, but thanks to Siri and Thunderwolf's posts I have learned things that have made my heart cry out with the continued injustice. But I plan to spend the rest of my career doing everything I can to make things better. If there are enough of us willing to dig in things will improve over time. I refuse to believe otherwise!
    TiredBraveHeart
    Agreed. I can only hope that someday in our quest to find a way to provide better healthcare for NAI's that our paths may cross. Or that in the very least, we cross paths with other nurses like us.

    Thanks for your response!
  5. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    I worked as a traveler on a reservation in AZ for six months. The care I saw and provided there was exceptional.
  6. by   Medicine Eagle
    Quote from hellllllo nurse
    i worked as a traveler on a reservation in az for six months. the care i saw and provided there was exceptional.
    i am so glad that you had a positive experience and that the nai were treated well there. unfortunately, i have heard that exceptional medical care on reservations is very rare. in fact you are the first person i have heard say that they felt that medical care on a reservation was competent much less exceptional. i am not doubting what you say, so please don't take offense. i truly am glad that the standard of living and medical care has improved on that reservation. now we just need to work to make sure the rest of the reservations have the same increased standard of living and medical care. then we will have acomplished something.
    tiredbraveheart
  7. by   rntalk
    Yes! I am a RN who wants to volunteer at Pine Ridge, but not sure how to go about it. Wish I knew how to contact you directly so we could put our heads together on this. Is there a way?
  8. by   rntalk
    You are going as a travelling nurse to the reservation??? I didn't know travelling nurse companies gave this option. Could you tell me which nursing agency offers this. I would love to do it. Thanks!
    Signed: rntalk





    Quote from Bridey
    I think that's awesome!! When I was younger I never realized just how dire the situation has become. Now that I'm older and I realize that the things I have seen and heard and read about the reservations aren't referring to days long ago... it's astonishing.



    I never even considered that option. I guess my idea is a dream team of medical professionals like the ones I worked with in California. I used to do volunteer medical for concerts with an awesome organization called Rock Med. If I could find people who have as equally strong a passion for NAI's and medicine as I do I'd be a lucky girl. LOL



    So true! If there are enough "just one persons" to step up to the plate, we might end up with a whole lot of change. It has to start somewhere with someone. You know?



    As much as I am thankful for the doctors and surgeons who truly KNOW their purpose in life and have a calling for medicine... I have met so many who are complete dipsticks. Nurses are pretty adaptable and expect the unexpected... ESPECIALLY ER nurses. I secretly am more thankful for nurses like you than I am for the doctors. (Shhhh!) LOL



    Those places... those patients need good nurses like you.



    Agreed. I can only hope that someday in our quest to find a way to provide better healthcare for NAI's that our paths may cross. Or that in the very least, we cross paths with other nurses like us.

    Thanks for your response!
  9. by   rntalk
    Anyone know of travelling nurse companies that hire for work in NAI communities/reservations. Also know of any volunteer opportunities for RN's??????
  10. by   Medicine Eagle
    I am sorry, but think the jobs are either open or not. I know that in AZ the are two large Reservations Hopi and Navajo. You could try contacting the reservations. Oklahoma has Cherokee, and so does North Carolina. Not sure where you are. Also think there may be a Reservation in Ohio, around Logan. Again not sure. I am not real sure about different ways to work on a Reservation. My company had 1 opening. I hope it is still there. When I get the money to move my family.Try talking to Thunderwolf or Siri, they would know much more than myself. Good Luck to you!
    Walk in Peace,
    TiredBraveHeart
  11. by   NurseNora
    The Navajo reservation is the largest in AZ. I don't think the Hopi have a large hospital. The Apache have at least one hospital and some of the other tribes may as well. If you want to work with Native Americans but live closer to the amenities you find in cities, you could try Phoenix Indian Hospital. But I don't know if they use travelers as I do know some of the reservation hospitals do.
  12. by   traveltiger
    I moved to northern wisconsin 4 years ago, my spouse is a returning tribal member and is the dentist for the tribe. His office from paper clips to benefits comes from an annual grant, he has dealt /c a lot since moving here, I started working @ the local hospital that services two to seven local tribes depending upon needs. A fellow nurse et I et my hubby were invited to attend a "Cultural ed class" since then I have not seen ANY culturealy sensitive magazines, art work or much enc for ceromony.. we even provided info et suggested mag for waiting areas, no go, J
  13. by   soapaddictOH
    I would love to volunteer my time as well. Do medical missions ever go to reservations? Sounds like they should be.
    Thunderheart or SirI??
  14. by   Thunderwolf
    One suggestion is....many large cities have an Indian Center to help serve the cultural needs of its members. Contact your local Indian center....networking here is a good start.

    I noticed soapaddictOh that you are in Ohio. A starting place:

    Native American Indian Center, 67 E Innis Ave, Columbus, OH 43207

    (614) 443-6120
    67 E Innis Ave, Columbus, OH 4320

    -------------------------------------------

    American Indian Education Center, 1314 Denison Ave, Cleveland, OH 44109

    (216) 351-4488 americanindianeducationcenter.net 1314 Denison Ave, Cleveland, OH 44109

    -------------------------------------------

    Each state/city have them....connect, explore the opportunities, and some may even have trips out to a particular Rez.


    Peace
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Sep 30, '07 : Reason: font size

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