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Kelly's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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We are beginning our second and last week in Punta Gorda, Belize. As any Canadian knows, the weather is always a topic of discussion but for us – there is only one descriptor for every day here – it is HOT!
Our students are all performing at a high level on their projects and despite a number of challenges, they support and encourage one another.

I was aware before this trip that the Belizean health care system is quite different from what we are used to in Nova Scotia. One of our partners for this project is The Hillside Clinic, which is staffed by volunteer health professionals. This clinic provides much needed medical/nursing/rehabilitative and home health services but… it’s not nearly enough. Hillside has offered an amazing opportunity for our students from the Pharmacy Tech and Practical Nursing programs. Late last week, I saw a 3yr old girl at the clinic with a very involved infection in her thigh. It had spread to her groin area, involved the lymph nodes and was clearly moving towards the abdominal cavity. The attending physician consulted with the clinic medical director to determine the best course of action. Everyone agreed that in Canada this child would be admitted to hospital, have intravenous antibiotics started immediately and have the site of the infection lanced and drained in an operating room. However, this would not be possible here. Instead, she was given an injectable antibiotic and her Mom was given instructions to bring her back the next day for another injection. Everyone was aware that this wasn’t optimal but it was available. I looked forward to seeing the little girl the next day and hoped there would be some improvement in her condition. She didn’t come back. Compliance for treatment is an issue in any health setting but the overarching issues here are that needed health care for many people in this part of Belize is not adequate and Hillside Clinic cannot provide everything to everyone.

There is definitely a difference in “knowing” other parts of the world have different health care standards and then witnessing that reality up close and personal. Students are not the only ones here that are learning and growing!

Kelly McKnight
Projects Director
School of Health & Human Services

Posted by NSCC Intl 13:58 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia health healthcare study_abroad service_learning Comments (0)

Bev's Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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Our week thus far in Belize has been incredible. We are fortunate to have a group of students who are truly embracing this experience and I am proud to be here with them representing NSCC. We have been divided into two groups, one to go to the schools to teach hand washing and oral hygiene and the other to observe at the Hillside Clinic. These groups will switch the second week we are here. I have spent the last four days with a group of five students at the clinic.

The Hillside Clinic is run by a group of volunteer health care providers such as physicians, pharmacists and nurses and serves as an educational opportunity for students in several health care disciplines. The clinic provides outpatient services to the villages around Punta Gorda. There are several mobile clinics where Hillside volunteers will travel to more rural areas. The NSCC students have participated in these mobile clinics, home visits and outreach programs for seniors in the community. Observing the NSCC students interact with clinicians and patients at the Hillside Clinic has been amazing. Hillside exemplifies interprofessional/interdisciplinary care where all health care providers work together, interacting and discussing patient care. Hillside has provided a wonderful and exciting learning experience.

The NSCC students have been professional every step of the way whether it involved cancelled flights, lost luggage or long van rides. They have adapted without complaint and moved forward with a positive attitude. They greet each new experience with anticipation, excitement and an open mind. Each night we share a dinner together where we discuss the highlights and challenges of the day, which we refer to as “apples and onions”. As a faculty I cannot express how appreciative I am to be here and share this experience with everyone.

Bev Stotz
Pharmacy Technology Faculty
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 10:06 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia pharmacy healthcare study_abroad service_learning Comments (0)

Nicole B.'s Blog

International Service Learning Program in Belize 2013

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Our adventure set off to a rough start, having a delayed flight, which cost us two full days of travelling including a very cramped five hour bus ride to our final destination. With such a rocky start I could only be worried about what the remainder of the trip would entail. I have been pleasantly surprised with our activities ever since. Tide Tours has done an amazing job of accommodating our group. We eat at a different place each night and the food has all been great!
This week I travelled to three different schools, where Kristie and myself went into a number of classes with activities involving hand washing and oral hygiene. Going into this project we had limited information about the schools facilities, and their background knowledge around basic hygiene. All of the classes ceased to amaze me when they knew to brush their teeth three times a day, and every time I missed washing my hands during a skit. Instead of teaching about basic hygiene it became more of a reinforcement. It was so rewarding to see such beautiful, bright children take something away from us, but also for us to take something away as well.
This opportunity has proven that I am able to adapt to new situations. Our first day at the schools was tough not knowing how much background these children already had, we managed to assess the situation and grow our lesson plan, and as the classes progressed the children became more interactive.

Nicole Boyd
Pharmacy Technology Student
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 10:02 Archived in Belize Tagged education belize nova_scotia study_abroad pharmacy_technology service_learning Comments (1)

Brett's Blog

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

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Day 1: With great excitement, we got the chance to meet Dr. Lambert today at his clinic in the city of Puerto Plata. Having an opportunity to be immersed in the culture around the area and be exposed to the language, atmosphere, and social dynamics of the people has been incredibly interesting. Speaking with Dr. Lambert about his vision for the lab is fascinating and getting to measure the space and visualize what it could become makes the goal for our project that much clearer. All of these things have truly made the trip so far a fulfilling experience and the rest of the week will be life changing!

Day 2: Another incredible day on the trip! We had the chance to visit Dr Lambert’s clinc in the Batey, walk around a bit of the area, even getting to meet a class full of school children who were learning 4 languages, Spanish, English ,French and Creole. This is a great asset for these children as it gives them an opportunity to work in places in Puerto Plata where fluency of languages is important.
This experience motivates me to pursue becoming more multi-lingual, to be able to better communicate when travelling to other countries.

Day 3: It was a great experience to visit a private lab, Coste Norde, today. The lab manager was friendly, energetic and ready to explain the origins of their establishment as well as their plans to expand the operation to include more testing.

The people here are incredibly friendly. They have welcomed us into their workplaces with open arms. Sadly, I can't say for certain that the same mentality is shared in a lot of workplaces in Canada. I feel as though I've gained appreciation for the importance of being positive and the impact it can have on the people around you.

Brett Smith
Medical Laboratory Technology Student
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 14:43 Archived in Dominican Republic Tagged education nova_scotia health study_abroad nscc medical_laboratory_technology Comments (0)

Mallory's Blogs

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

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Day 1: After 32 hours of travelling and 3 flights later, we finally made it to the Dominican Republic yesterday. The view while landing was beautiful, the terrain was very mountainous and full of lush greenery. Today we met Dr. Lambert and were shown to the space that we were to design a lab for. While we originally, thought it would be a small lab, we learned today that it potentially be the largest hospitals in Puerto Plata. This change of plans was a bit overwhelming, yet also very exciting. Part of being a medical laboratory technician is being flexible and adaptable. We have already gotten to put these qualities to the test twice during this trip, during our flight change and the change of location and size of our lab design, and we have done so successfully. I look forward to the exciting opportunities in the future and challenges yet to come!

Day 2: oday we went to Dr Lambert’s clinic in Con Greyho (spelling?)
We were able to watch patients being treated and then went for a walk through the village. We were invited into a small school amd met children and teachers. The children were being taught Spanish, English,French and Creole. The children were all very happy and polite and I wanted to be able to communicate with them. There was difinetly a language barrier there and I wished that I had time to learn Spanish before coming here. One of my new goals when I get home is to brush up on my French and Spanish.

Day 3: today we got to visit a private lab in the DR. It was a last minute change to go to this lab instead of another, but the lab director was extremely nice and welcoming. We got a tour of the lab and we were able to ask a lot of questions to aid in our lab design project. We learned a few important things that we had not thought of since we are not familiar with the testing and supply availability in this area, such as including a media preparation room since it is very expensive to buy here. The main think I noticed though was the amount of similarities between the labs here and those at home, especially when it comes to safety and quality. I am excited to use the knowledge I gained today to better our lab design.

Mallory Kennedy
Medical Laboratory Technology Student
NSCC, Waterfront Campus

Posted by NSCC Intl 14:42 Archived in Dominican Republic Tagged education nova_scotia health study_abroad nscc medical_laboratory_technology Comments (0)

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