Hola!!! My name is Erica and I am a junior nursing student from Viterbo. I haven’t had a chance to write on the blog yet and I would like to comment more on the hospital that we visited on day 2. As a nursing student I was really moved by the visit to the hospital. I have spent much time in hospitals in the US and to see the difference was down right shocking. It was a very beautiful area I thought. There were a lot of gardens and plants throughout and the entire hospital was all open. When talking to the other nursing students on the trip we all thought that there seemed to be just a sense of disorganization- although we recognize that they have their own way of doing things that probably is very organized for them. We were able to get a tour of the old part of the hospital and then we heard about the new addition.
The old part of the hospital is separated in half- one side is the women’s ward and the other is for the men. There are two separate hospitals for pediatrics and obstetrics. There were different buildings in this particular hospital for the different specialties such as a neuro unit, cancer, and surgical. In these buildings there were no rooms for the patients. They were just long rooms with beds lining the walls and barely any curtains separating the different patients. It was so different to what I am used to in the US. We hear so much about patient privacy and confidentiality- there is no way that that can exist here.
We were also able to walk thru the emergency/urgent care unit. This was a little overwhelming. There were patients everywhere waiting to see someone. Since this is the only public hospital in the whole country people from all over the country come to this hospital to be seen. They also do all cares for free at this hospital including dialysis and chemo. Anyway, the emergency waiting area was so full of people. Some had been seen initially but were waiting to see a doctor I am guessing because they already had IVs started. However there were not enough IV poles in the hospital so many of the patients were holding their IV fluids. As a nurse in training I couldn’t help but feeling as if I should step in and do something… anything. It was hard to see them all sitting there knowing that many of them must have traveled a very long distance to be there and then they have to wait in this crowded room just hoping to be seen.
Even though there were parts of the hospital that were hard to handle, such as the crowed rooms, the privacy issue, and the damage done to the buildings by earthquakes that has yet to be restored, there were many impressive elements as well. I mentioned that the do dialysis and chemo but they also do many surgeries including transplants. They also have an MRI machine and a radiology unit. This was surprising to me after seeing the facility itself. Dr Virginia, the doctor that was giving us the tour, mentioned several times that infrastructure is not their priority… The care of the patients always comes first. It was mentioned in an earlier post that this doctor only makes $1000 a month! I make more than that working my summer jobs in the States! It really hit me that she was there to care for the people of her country and not to make money. With a salary like that you’d have to be. She was such an inspiration to me as I am going into the health care field. I hope that I will always remember her and remember that I should not be working for the money but rather to care for people who need it. That’s what we are being trained for and that is what we need to keep in the forefront. It’s so hard to let our minds focus on the money or the salary and that really gets in the way of the care we are giving sometimes.
As for the future of the hospital… They are currently building a new ICU wing since there is a need for more beds. I believe they said that the new wing would have around 40 beds (although I could be wrong). I would have to say that from my short time at this hospital that I think that this hospital is in good hands with Dr. Virginia working there. If they have more doctors like her… they will continue to make a huge impact on the health of this country. There is so much more I could say about my experience at this hospital and ust what an incredible impact it had on me but my post is already reaching the point of being long-winded! So stay tuned to hear about more of our experiences and we will continue to keep you updated as we are able!
Thanks for reading!
Until next time…