Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nursing in Haiti

For the past three weeks or so I have been the acting nurse at COTP.  This is the third time I have filled this role, but this time has been much longer than previous times.  Each day is a new day in Haiti and you never know what to expect.  Every morning and night, (and occasionally in the afternoon depending on the medicine the kids are on) I go around to each room and give meds out to those who need them.  Every other day is med set up day and I draw enough up for two days worth.  The medicine our kids are on range from Iron and Multi Vitamins, to several types of Antiobiotics, Anti Seizure Meds, and ARV's for our HIV + children.

I wish I could say that every thing has gone perfectly smooth since I took over this role, but unfortunately when you care for 57 sick and malnourished infants and toddlers in Haiti, there is always something going on.  During my time as nurse, we have had two kids with seizures.  One stopped on it's own but the other one continued for several hours even after a full dose of valium.  We had to keep him on oxygen for a while to ensure his stats stayed high and then eventually took him to the local hospital for tests.  Turns out he had an infection in his shunt that was placed due to his Hydrochepulus.  

Last week I spent 3 full days at the hospital getting check ups and procedures done for our kids.  Two kids had to have abscesses drained because of a staph infection that many of the kiddos have right now.  One was about the size of a golf ball on the poor kid's head!  I have also been trying to get an ECHO done for one of our little boys who has a heart murmur.  The doctors believe it's a flow murmur due to malnutrition, but we will know for sure after the ECHO.  Of course that's easier said then done when you live in Haiti.  He has been to the hospital three times now and has yet to have it done.  We now have an appointment to go back on Monday, so hopefully it will actually happen so that we will know more! There was also a little boy that we rushed to the hospital one night because he was incredibly swollen and looked miserable.  We thought there was a possibility he might have been experiencing kidney failure.  After lab tests though, we found out that this is not whats going on, but he's just low on protein.  We will now be giving him Medika Mamba to help him build his protein back up and hopefully gain some weight.

I am very thankful to have learned how to check ears this week so that I can tell when a child has an ear infection.  Unfortunately, the day after I learned, I went to check someone's ears and the Otiscope quit working.  It wasn't a big surprise as it was on its last leg any how.

Thankfully I have a pretty amazing network that I can turn to when ever I need help with anything medical, which is nearly every day or two!  We have been blessed with having a Nurse Practitioner here one day who was able to walk through the baby house with me and answer all my questions.  We also had a Pediatrician come out one day and do the same.  There is a large group of visiting Docs at the hospital right now who have been a huge help every time I have gone there!  And then there is also our founder, Jan Bonnema, who emails back almost instantly when I have a question for her!  There is no way I could do this with out the help of these people!

The truth is I actually really enjoy both drawing up and administering meds.  It's a great way to go out to the baby house every day and make sure that I say hi and check on each and every child.  If all I did was be the nurse I would love it, but it's to hard to do this on top of everything else!

Thankfully we have a new nurse coming in on Monday for 3 months so I won't be doing this for much longer!  After a couple weeks of training, I should be able to hand the reigns over to her which will be exciting!  Please pray she does well here and that she learns her new roles and responsibilities quickly!

1 comment:

  1. This is inspiring! I'm studying to be a medical assistant and I'm a little nervous about the needles!