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Michelle's Blogs

International Service Learning Program Med Lab Technology in the Dominican Republic 2013

Day 1: Hello from sunny Puerto Plata. We got off to a rough start due to weather delays in Halifax but arrived yesterday, somewhat tired. However sunshine is restful and we are rejuvenated today. In the meantime, I have had great opportunities to get to know our group of students and together we have used our collective problem solving skills. As a group, we’ve discussed some areas we want to look at closely when we get to the lab and discussed some differences we expect to see. We debriefed about how the delay interfered with our original plan to meet Dr Lambert yesterday.

Today we met with Dr Lambert and realized the extent of his vision for the lab here in PP. This dynamic man has a vision for his people! It was both interesting and exciting watching out student try to process the big picture versus what we can do in a week. Sticking to our goal, the students started the process of lab design. and all of us felt overwhelmed by the conditions we experienced -- and we know we have only begun to see the full picture. Our students are exhausted and tired from the differences in what we take for granted in Canada and the reality of here. The culture shock is still continuing to unravel for us. I want to be sensitive to the students' needs and emotional reactions to the cultural differences that they saw today. This will continue to be a focal point as we move forward toward the goals we set.

Day 2: What a day of learning we had today! Yesterday was just the beginning to set the stage for today's experience. We went to the Bayte where Dr Lambert, our contact, had a clinic. We saw a lady with ulcers on her leg. As we watched the staff address her leg, I quickly recognized her treatment - Flamazine - as the same as we might use in Canada for burns. In watching this, I wondered about the scope of practice for nurses here and the issue (or lack of) regulation in the health professions here. Interestingly, the patient described some home remedies she used and the MLT students were immediately able to describe to her why these remedies weren't effective.

Next we then saw the realty of the living experience and recognized the impacts of the determinants of health. We visited a school where students were learning without any electricity And saw homes where people lived without running water or power. All of this supports the students project of building a lab to support health care for this community.

Then we went to the public lab to see what resources they had. Tomorrow we head to the private lab. At the end of the day tomorrow, we'll offer a comparison of the public and private health care system.

Day 3: Today we went to a private lab, Coste Norte to see how it is run. What an experience we had. Rob and I decided to let the students take the lead on the tour so they could gather the assessment data they needed for the project.
We were so proud of the questions they asked and the connections they made - highlighting both similiaries and differences from home. They now have a good foundation to go forward with the next phase of the design process.

Michelle Kucey
Academic Chair, School of Health and Human Services
NSCC Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 14:35 Archived in Dominican Republic Tagged education nova_scotia health study_abroad nscc medical_laboratory_technology Comments (0)

Kristin's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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It is only day 2 in Belize and what an adventure it has been so far! It felt like we were never going to arrive as our trip here sent us on a few detours.
We ended up with an amazing group of people, all who share a common goal of wanting to make a difference in the lives of the individuals in Punta Gorda. I would say that so far, we are meeting our goal in every way, shape and form!
Day one for me was at Hillside Health Clinic where I had the opportunity to work in the pharmacy side by side other student pharmacists and a pharmacy technician ( who is from Belize and is an officially trained pharm tech! ) It was really neat to see how the pharmacy operated. They do not use pill bottles so all patient medications are distributed in plastic baggies with hand written labels taped to the outside. There is not double check on prescriptions so it encouraged me to be extra cautious that I was picking out and packaging the proper medications! The shelves of medications are arranged by drug class rather than in alphabetical order so if I didn't already know this before, I had to learn which class each drug was in in order to be as fast, efficient, and accurate as possible. There is rare to no distribution of narcotics at Hillside. Most of what I saw being distributed was medications for diabetes, fungal infections and parasites and pain medications such as tylenol and ibuprofen. It was really neat to see how they could make do with what they have and every patient who needed treatment did not leave without receiving it! I observed how many of the patients who have been visiting Hillside long term really put trust and faith in their health care providers because Hillside has such a wonderful reputation of helping each and every person in need.
I also had the opportunity to do a few home visits in the town of Punta Gorda. A few of the nurses, med students and a pharmacist will travel into the town to see patients who are not mobile enough to make it to the clinic. It was a real eye opener to see how many of the patients live. The living conditions are so different from what we are used to in Canada. It makes me really appreciate what I've got.
I think the biggest thing that I can take from this experience so far is the way that I have managed to adapt to such different ways of living, a completely different environment and people and learning to be able to live without all the necessities that we take for granted back home! My hope is that my ease to adapt in new environments and with new people will serve me well in pursuing my career job. I am excited to see what the rest of this adventure will bring!
Kristin Ligi
Pharmacy Technician Program Student
NSCC Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 17:31 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia health pharmacy study_abroad Comments (6)

Keith's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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Good Day Everybody from the International Service Learning Program In Belize. We are having such a great learning experience here in Punta Gorda, Toledo District. This week my group and I have been assigned to 3 different Schools where we are provinding the students with health education. The Education Ministry identified to us the need for health promotion around the topics of Hand Washing, Oral Hygiene, and clean Bathroom facilities. We have been teaching the students the importance of hand washing, oral hygine, clean bathrooms and how to prevent the spread of germs. Having had the opportunity to go into the schools and assess the facilities they have it was very evident the need for education. It's evident that the children are aware of the importance for proper hygine and clean bathroom facilities. The issue lies with the students not having the resources to properly carry out the task of proper hygine and sanitation. Using the resources they have available we created a teaching plan that meets their needs in the best sanitary way possible. Being in Belize I have gained the picture of what real poverty looks like. Back home in Canada we have poverty but it's a different kind of poverty. In Canada we have social programs to help meet the needs of Canadians while in Belize they do not have the opportunities that we have in the developed world.
Having gained the opportunity to participate in this service learning program is providing me with experience in health promotion. Its teaching me how to work and interact with different cultures while being sensitive to cultural norms. International service learning allows me to expand on my skill set through portfolio development. I'm very excited for next week to gain an opportunity to work with Hillside Health Healthcare International. Where I will be working in their clinic as a nurse and going out on the mobile clinic to the Villages of the Toledo district.

You Outta Belize it,

Keith Torrey
Licensed Practical Nursing Student
Strait Area Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 14:39 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia nursing health study_abroad Comments (0)

Elaine's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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As I departed the plane into Belize, I was blasted with extreme heat. I knew that it was going to be hot, but I was not prepared for this kind of heat. We were greeted outside the Belize airport by our tour guide, Martin. Our group of 13, our tour guide, and our driver (15 people) piled into a van and headed to Punta Gorda. As we drove on the highway to our destination, I saw numerous fires and ash from previous fires. This is Belize’s dry season and apparently these fires are started from careless people disposing of their cigarettes, people randomly starting them, and dry lightning.

My first full day in Belize, began at a school called Little Flower R.C. School. We knew little of what we were going to present to the students. We knew that our presentations were to include personal and dental hygiene. The first session was challenging, but we adapted very well and proceeded with confidence. The younger students were curious and eager to demonstrate techniques for washing hands and brushing teeth, but I noticed that the older students participated very little. I also observed that some of the teachers were not involved with our presentations. The second school we visited was called Punta Gorda Methodist School. As we demonstrated our presentation, the students including the older students were anxious for us to answer questions about Canada and answering our questions about Belize. I showed a class a photo of snow, and they were all amazed. They noticed the dog in the background and said “That’s an iguana!” (a long object on the deck). The teachers were also involved with each demonstration we presented.

Since the beginning of this wonderful journey, I have adapted and been flexible and embraced the diversity and cultural aspects of Belize. And I look forward to more experiences.

Elaine Shukys
Community Services
NSCC, Burridge Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 14:38 Archived in Belize Tagged culture education belize nova_scotia health human_services Comments (0)

Stephen's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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After the very first day in Belize, I knew I had made the right decision to partake in the International Service Learning Program through NSCC International. I have already been able to demonstrate many of my skills as I worked in the Triage room at The Hillside Health Care Centre in Punta Gorda, Belize. I was able to admit patients, take pulse, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and other vitals. Meeting with many different cultures was fantastic. I got to meet local patients, as well as people from Canada and the United States, who were either travelling or now living in Belize. The NSCC faculty has been amazing, and all the staff locally have been very welcoming. I am looking forward to all the other clinical experiences that have been lined up for me. These include travelling to homes to offer healthcare, and travelling to isolated areas where healthcare is not available. I know that through this amazing experience, I will be able to go home and tell possible employers the great cultural experience that I was able to participate in. With Canada being such a multicultural nation, I feel it is important to be able to understand various cultures and experiences. I am confident this will add to my skills as a nurse and healthcare provider. If others are considering this program in the future, I highly recommend it-the opportunities are endless!

Stephen Filek
Licensed Practical Nursing Student
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 13:33 Archived in Belize Tagged culture education belize nova_scotia nursing health study_abroad Comments (0)

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