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