After spending only one day in a hospital in Santo Domino, Dominican Republic I will never again complain about anything in an American hospital. We are so lucky y’all. Being here in this country has already been so eye opening.
After a long, long day of flying and sitting in an airport, I finally arrived here in Santo Domingo. I’m here through an amazing program called Gap Medics. It is a UK based organization that gives students the opportunity to witness health care abroad. Currently, Gap Medics has programs in Dominican Republic, Croatia, Thailand, and Poland. There is one program for 16-17 year olds and one for 18+ years olds. You can choose between nursing, midwifery, dentistry, medicine, community health, and physical therapy.
All of the Gap Medics students live in a giant mansion along with our adult supervisors. Our house here in the Dominican has a pool and is a short walk from a frozen yogurt place! Rooms are dormitory style with bunk beds. We have a chef who cooks us breakfast and dinner Sunday night through Thursday night. This week, we have 35 students in our house and everyone is so nice! The shortest amount of stay is 1 week (which is what I’m doing), but you can stay for as many as weeks as you want. Of course, each additional week costs extra money.
So today was my first day at the hospital and I was very shocked at how different health care is here. I am here for nursing and I was put in a group with 3 other nursing students and we were assigned a mentor who is a nurse at our hospital. Today, our mentor gave us a tour of the hospital and all the departments, explaining to us what happens in each one. Our mentor speaks english, but of course most people here speak spanish.
There are so many differences between the hospitals here and in America, but I’ll just talk about a few of the big ones that I noticed today. And I hope that none of this comes off as me talking down on the hospital here. I am simply trying to point out the differences because I truly am in awe of how differnet everything is.
The first thing I noticed is that there is no air conditioning so the hospital gets pretty hot especially in these summer months. There are fans everyone to try to keep the rooms cool, but when you’re wearing scrubs you kind of can’t help but sweat.
This particular hospital is also a mix of being inside and outside. There are multiple buildings that are separated from the main hospital building. There are also multiple entry ways that do not have doors and so even if there was air conditioning, it wouldn’t keep the inside very cool due to all those openings.
Something else that was very evident was the lack of patient privacy. Most rooms had many beds lined along the walls with patient after patient. Depending on the room, some had curtains between each bed, but some did not. The patients were never asked if it was okay if us students observed them. That was a bit weird for me because back in America, we always had to ask the patient first if they were okay with a student observing and if they said yes, only then could we go into the room to watch.
Today was truly eye opening in realizing how fortunate we are to have the healthcare we do. No matter how much we complain about our health care, it won’t change how great of care we receive and the resources we have available to us. We are so, so blessed.
From Santo Domingo,
Texan On The Go