Week 2: Clinics began and the focus of the trip shifted back to learning and serving. By this time, we felt comfortable in our surroundings and were ready to engage in the work of clinics. We had grown into a family and team over the first week of preparation in Tennessee, and the first week in Cambodia. Our goal of providing health care to those lacking access was accomplished. So many lives were touched through our work, work that is in large part due to Hope Through Healing Hands. Without the support of this organization, I would not have been on this trip providing health care to those in need. Here is a look into a couple days throughout week 2 in Cambodia.
05/17/18. Clinic day one was a crazy day with many positives, negatives, and a steep learning curve! The clinic, held in Battambang, started slowly, but we were refining how to work as a team, how to support one another, and how to work with translators. Nothing could have prepared me for the incredible feeling of serving the Cambodians. Once we developed a rhythm, the day flew by! We saw all kinds of patient cases and had a wonderful day.
Seeing patients with a translator
05/18/18: Clinic day number two was busy and wonderful. We now had a routine and were growing into a strong interdisciplinary team. Communication with patients through translators became much easier. We began to recognize common complaints, as well as common cultural healing methods and beliefs. I learned so much in these clinic experiences. I am so excited to continue learning and to become more confident as a provider over the next 8 days of clinic. This experience is a critical component of my NP education! Today I truly saw the team come together as a cohesive unit managing about 70 patients. I continued to grow in my confidence and abilities as a provider. I still found myself asking for second opinions, but it was exciting when my critical thinking, assessment and diagnoses were confirmed!
Examining a baby's mouth.
05/21/18. We were back at it today, providing health care in a village called Tomnopdach. But we were not in a nice building with fans, rather, our clinic was near the village chief’s house under a large tent. We saw 70 patients today. It was humbling to see the home environment of those coming to the clinic - no electricity, no running water, homes built off the ground with bamboo slat floors and thatch roofs. Although we were hot and sweaty in our short-sleeved scrubs, the villagers often wore multiple layers of long sleeve shirts and trousers. It really made me re-evaluate how fortunate we are to have access to laundry and air conditioning! Overall, today was hectic and busy, but a positive experience. Even though I can communicate only through a translator, I was pleased to be able to connect with our patients. The health concerns of the villagers are different than what we see in the US. For example, today I saw a little girl with significant herpetic lesions who needed acyclovir which was not available; a fortunate baby who was patiently fed by his family because breastfeeding was extremely challenging with his unrepaired cleft palate; obviously infected wounds; heads FULL of lice; osteomyelitis; impetigo and tinea capitis and tinea corpus; osteoarthritis; and dehydration. It was hot as all get out and a LONG day, but 100% worth every second spent serving the Cambodian villagers.
The FNP student team and faculty