Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Beautiful Privilege

It's hard to believe that it's already the second to last day at the clinic! As the end of our trip slowly comes into view, each minute here becomes more and more precious. I find myself looking around at my amazing team, these beautiful people, the breathtaking view of the lake, and trying to tattoo it onto my memory so I can pull it out and remember when I'm back at home.
Lake Atitlán

For me, one of the most amazing aspects of the trip is the way that we get to be in multiple medical roles throughout the course of the week. All 12 of us get a chance to be nurses, medical assistants, optometrists, teachers, pharmacists, and a few things in between. Practicing the different aspects of these roles is so critical, not only for guiding us in our future careers, but also giving us a fuller picture of what medical care really is. As a nursing student, I may never again be in a pharmacist role, truly being the last voice a patient hears before they're off on their own. I may never again be in an optometrist role, doing whatever possible to make sure that my patients can see the world around them. It's absolutely amazing to be able to learn so much about so many different aspects of healthcare, I feel like my knowledge about my profession has grown as much in this week than it ever has.

Looking at my team, I can tell this learning is happening with them as well, whether it's Ralph speaking his first words of Spanish, or Caroline taking blood pressures like she's done it her whole life. Each person has grown exponentially and it's overwhelming to look around and seeing the learning that flows between us, so immense that it's almost tangible.

Before I came on this trip I thought it would be us helping the people in Guatemala and it's become so clear to me that really it's them helping us. In nursing, we've spoken a lot about how privileged we are as health care providers, our patients let us witness some of the most private moments of their lives. That concept comes alive here. The people in Patanatic have been so gracious in allowing these American strangers to come and speak a foreign language over their heads, look at them in the exam room, play with their children, enter their homes, and let us learn from them. I don't think I'll ever be able to thank Rabbi Abbi, Nurse Stephanie, Stephanie Renny, and Lauri Pramuk enough for choosing me to participate in everything that this small village has to offer. Allah has blessed me in so many ways, and this experience is without a doubt one of the best of them.​

Farwa Fatima A. Sheriff
Xavier University 2017
Bachelors of Science in Nursing

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