Medical Mission Trip to Haiti to teach nurses

  1. Greetings- have never started a new thread, but couldn't find a thing on International experience nursing in another country. Three of us who teach nursing just got back from our first trip to Cap Haitian, Haiti. Our purpose was not to participate in working on the floors, although we did do that. Our purpose was to provide cont. ed to the poorest nurses in the Western Hemisphere who had never had cont ed beyond their nursing school training. They are a grateful, gracious and more educated then I expected people. Anyone else out there gone to a developing country to experience the health care? (And the horrific living conditions?) What we experienced could fill books, but for the sake of time, will be brief. No water, food or basic medicine for most. Throngs of people waiting, sleeping on benches, just to be seen. No bathrooms! (latrines for the masses....) Any feedback? Thanks!
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    About oncnursemsn, MSN Pro

    Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 253; Likes: 400
    Oncology nurse; from US
    Specialty: 30 year(s) of experience in Education and oncology


  3. by   sirI
    There are several threads in the Volunteer Nursing forum about members here who have been to other countries.

    Kudos to you on what you offered the nurses there.

    Also, I can move this thread to the Volunteer Nursing forum where others can offer input there.
  4. by   ERRNTraveler
    I have done medical mission trips to both Haiti & Romania, and experienced many of the same things you were talking about. It is very eye-opening to see all the things they don't have that we simply take for granted- something I think everyone should do at least once in their life.
  5. by   zenman
    I live in Bangladesh and we just had our weekly meeting yesterday where we (Embassy docs and nurses) get together and compare stories about local health care. Nurses here are viewed as lower than a good dog. Lot's of cultural things that you just can't change, for example, we were discussing an ENT doc educated in the states and when he came back reverted to dirty practices for ex. with his instruments. Plus, lower class people are treated differently even if they work for a company that is paying for their care. And nursing care...or lack of a problem. You might have a Harvard trained doc but when can't be around 24/7 it's not always good. It's an adventure...
  6. by   ElvishDNP
    I've been to Haiti, though before I became a nurse, so it wasn't a medical mission. But I learned so much and still keep in touch with the missionaries I stayed with down there. Incidentally....we flew into and out of Cap Haitien though we actually did our work elsewhere. I kept wondering when we were going to get to the airport to pick up our luggage when I realized we actually WERE at the airport and our luggage was being unceremoniously tossed out of the plane onto the tarmac. That was nothing compared to when we were leaving, the customs people had my suitcase on a table going through all my stuff, and a chicken flew out from under the table and attacked me. At customs!

    Beautiful country with beautiful people.

    Tarantulas, big bugs, and heat. I'd go back in a heartbeat if circumstances would allow. Thanks for reminding me how much I love Haiti & her people.
  7. by   oncnursemsn
    Thank you sirI! Yes, please move this thread if appropriate. I am thankful that I was able to go to Haiti, and I agree that all people in our country should experience a developing nation at least once. The Haitian nurses just needed validation that they are our sister colleagues, and that they are valued. I don't think they felt that. In our teaching, we tried to be sensitive not to "tell them how to practice." We were not there to change them, but to support and teach them. We learned more I think then we taught them. How they do as much as they do with no resources is humbling. Thanks to all who added to this thread! :caduceus:
  8. by   sirI
    I moved your thread.

    The Haitian nurses just needed validation that they are our sister colleagues, and that they are valued. I don't think they felt that. In our teaching, we tried to be sensitive not to "tell them how to practice." We were not there to change them, but to support and teach them.
    This is wonderful that ya'll did this, oncnursemsn. I am impressed with the efforts of your group.
  9. by   martinejoseph
    Hi. I knw this response maybe old to your thread, but I just wanted to say that I believe your trip to Haiti is inspirational. This is something that I long to do. I am a nursing students with a year-and-a-half to go. My dream is to give back to Haiti, although I was not born there my parents were. I just have this passion to help those in need. This goal is what I am striving for, and believe I will achieve. Thank you again.
  10. by   oncnursemsn
    ((Thank you)) Just attended an informational session with Dr Paul Farmer (if you don't know him, look him up- he's the 1 who put Haiti on the radar screen in this country and testifies before congress regularly). Also on the panel was a representative who is 2nd generation Haitian and Matt Damon! Spoke at the JFK Library here in Boston to an overfill crowd, we had to sit in an adjacent auditorium. The panel is hopeful the Deval Patrick (our governor) and Pres Obama will not abandon Haiti. I hope to go back, but several other nurses I teach with have gone twice and are in routine contact via email with the nurses of Hopital Sacre Coure. I am forever changed....
    Good luck to you!!