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Nsg/MD Volunteer Trip - where do I start!?

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by acuariaRN acuariaRN (Member)

acuariaRN specializes in Emergency.

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Hello everyone, Melissa here, hailing from the Lehigh Valley in PA... Staff nurse on a Progressive Critical Care Unit.

I recently decided that I am going to gather a group of Nurses and willing Doctors to accompany me on a trip to the Dominican Republic, to help meet some needs there. I grew up there and remember missionaries coming down and doing a great service to the community... and I think it would be nice for us to do the same, now that I'm in a position to take that initiative.

I'm thinking we could go to certain hospitals in the Dominican and provide a series of educational sessions for practicing nurses (as nursing staff in the Dominican would greatly benefit from a little direction, as I have observed and have been told by patients who recieved care there.) This way we have a nurse-oriented type of objective.

Or, for the Doctors to become involved, and to do service to the neediest of the Dominican community, perhaps provide prenatal health screenings (check for HTN, edema, advise necessary followups, provide supplements and teaching, etc)....

I just need to know what kind of red tape I'm looking at... for example, to whom must I speak to a) legally collect medications/supplies for purposes of donation, b) legally transport medications/supplies in bulk?

Where do I start?

Any tips or ideas on how to organize this? Also, do you know of any generous companies that would donate their surplus/near expired goods?:lol2:

Any input would help (even if your answering a question I didn't ask!!!);)

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CCL"Babe" has 28 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in pre hospital, ED, Cath Lab, Case Manager.

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Why not check out organizations who do that sort of thing already- like Doctors Without Borders? They may be of some help. There are many other organizations out there I can't remember names but if you Google I'm sure you might get some of the info you are looking for. I went to a lecture by a physicain I know about his experiences in Africa and came back in awe.

Two of the EDs I used to work for would collect supplies for mission trips. The hospital squashed it once they found out due to "liability issues".

Good luck.

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912 Posts; 13,721 Profile Views

The University of Southern Maine College of Nursing takes a large group of students and volunteer nurses to the Dominican Republic twice a year for several weeks. Anyone can go. Someone at the school might be able to answer some of your questions or point you in the right direction.

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chuck1234 specializes in Nurses who are mentally sicked.

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Wow...it is a lot of work.

Embassy here.

Probably State Department there...

Perhaps the Custom Agents somewhere...

Immigration Department over there...

The Hospital in Dominican Republic also involved...

It is going to take sometimes before this noble act becomes a reality...

Good luck....

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1,343 Posts; 5,653 Profile Views

That sounds wonderful and I wish you every success.

No need to re-invent the wheel. Definitely talk with organizations, such as missionary groups from various churches, that are already doing this, also the secular groups.

One thing to remember - while you can screen for many problems, what will you be able to do about them? That is, will you have meds to dispense? Places to refer to? I remember the serious ridicule a fellow missionary gave me when, as a much younger nurse, I was using my best assessment skills on every patient when I was on a missionary nursing trip to a foreign land, way out in the boondocks of said land, with nothing to work with except what our team had shipped in, much of which was stolen by Customs and police upon its arrival over there.

The truth is, my coworker was a very weak, immature person, should not have been our leader, but he was right about this issue. There was really only so much we could do. We gave out a lot of vitamins, treated an eye infection and hopefully prevented blindness, and referred a couple of people with serious matters to the closest hospital - over 2300 miles away and there was no transportation for the sick other than their feet or a donkey's back.

The long-term solution was the building of health facilities in several places throughout the land over the next 25 years.

You will likely have to ship in everything you will need, including food and water for yourselves.

I hope you will be able to do that which you are thinking to do. You will be blessed, I know, as you follow your heart.

P.S. I just reread your OP and see that I did answer a question you didn't ask. LOL, you must be psychic. Oh, well, I hope it is of some help to you. I still think that talking with missionary groups could help you plan and get a foot in the door.

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