“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”My week here in the Dominican Republic is quickly coming to an end, but I wanted to share with y’all a little bit of what I got to see and do this week. It has been the most eye opening, incredible experience. I signed up for this program just so I could have more on my resume when I apply to nursing school, but the Dominican has surprised me and is easily one of my favorite trips of the summer.
I’ve never done any type of program like this, let alone in a foreign country. I always thought I knew how it was in third world countries. I mean, I had heard how it was and seen pictures so obviously I knew, right? Haha, wrong. This trip, I have been immersed into the Dominican Republic instead of just being a mere tourist here. I have gotten to interact with the local people and learn so much about their culture. I’ve also met some pretty cool people who want to study medicine just like me from all around the world!
So here’s how it works. Every day, we take a bus down to the hospital to have our shift from 8:30AM-1PM. I am in a nursing rotation so I was assigned a mentor, Liliana, who is a nurse at the hospital there. Shoutout to Liliana for being the best and sweetest mentor ever!! Because I am in nursing, I get to go to a different department everyday.
This past Tuesday, I went to Labor and Delivery and finally, after years of wanting to, got to see my first birth! It was so beautiful. I almost cried when I saw the baby being born and when the mom got to see her baby for the first time. Being there for people in one of the happiest times of their lives is why I want to be a Labor and Delivery nurse. Getting to share that experience with them is so special. I also got to see two cesarian sections which was pretty insane. I say insane because in my opinion, it is so crazy that we have the technology and knowledge nowadays to be able to do something like that! Birth is a beautiful thing.
On Wednesday, I got to go to the intensive care unit which was pretty hard, but I learned a lot. I got to practice taking vitals on patients (I learned how to use an old school thermometer!!) and learned about using the Glasgow scale on coma patients. Afterwards, we went to the emergency room which is very different from America. It is so much smaller and the injuries you see are crazy. We saw so many machete wounds and wounds from motorcycle accidents.
Then Thursday, I got to see my first surgery! I have now gotten to witness 5 different surgeries. I saw a radial fracture repair, removal of part of the femur due to infection from leg amputation, removal of an ovarian cyst, fibula repair, and removal of the gallbladder. I can definitley say now that I really, really like surgery. I love that it is always different so you aren’t doing the same thing over and over again. I also love getting to see the anatomy that I have learned in class up close in real life. I know I know, I’m a huge nerd. I’ll admit I love science and I could literally just read my anatomy textbook all day.
Finally today, we went to la programa mamá canguro (Mother Kangaroo Program). This is a program for pre mature babies and their mothers. The mother brings the baby to the hospital every week to get checked out by the doctor to make sure the baby is growing and developing properly. After the baby is 1 year old, the mom only has to bring the baby once a month until age 5. I enjoyed seeing all the cute babies and learning about different growth problems from the doctor.
Besides our time at the hospital, we have visited a local orphanage, chilled at the beach, explored a local cave, eaten local food, visited a chocolate shop, learned about healthcare in the Dominican from global health tutorials each night from a local doctor, had dance parties, sat on long bus rides with a beautiful view of the beach, and listened to local music! On top of that, I’ve made some incredible friends and memories to last me a lifetime.
And now my week here in the Dominican Republic is coming to an end. I’ve only been here one week, but it feels like it’s been one month. I came here expecting to see some cool stuff at the hospital and maybe go to the beach once or twice, but I never expected to make amazing friends, have the time of my life, explore local places, witness so much in the hospital, learn a lot more spanish, and find out more about myself and what I want to do with my future. Thank you Gap Medics for this life changing experience.
Texan On The Go