Saturday, June 25, 2011

Introduction to Peruvian Health Care

      We arrived in Piura early this morning to a welcoming crowd from Sacramento Santisimo, the parish compound we are residing at. They were so happy to see the second group of Marquette students. As we drove through the bustling streets of Piura, I felt like I was headed home, especially after a long week of staying in a different bed every night. The hospitality of the staff at the church is fantastic, and we immediately felt comfortable within the compound walls.
            Right away, we were taken on a tour of the public hospital in Piura. The nurse showed us the surgical areas, where they mainly perform basic surgeries, such as laparoscopic ones. If one would need a major surgery, such as one for the heart, they would need to travel to Lima. In the hospital’s emergency room, there are many components that are similar to those in the United States. There are two observation areas, one room for pediatrics and one for adults. Next to these rooms are the triage area and the trauma room, which contains one bed. There was a large supply of medications in this room, all of them labeled in Spanish, which will certainly be a challenge later. In Peru, medications are not as modern as they are in the US. They are still kept in ampules here, which are glass containers that need to be shattered by hand. The drug would then need to be drawn up with a filter needle and then drawn up again with a regular syringe. In the US, there is more access to supplies, so this process has been shortened with most medications.
     In our time here, we will be working with the ER nurses, and the first group of MU student nurses have reported giving shots and placing IVs on their first day. There is complete independence of students here, especially the Peruvian student nurses. I look forward to this exposure in the coming weeks. We begin formal clinical days on Monday, and we are scheduled to visit Vida Nueva, the drug rehabilitation center for men.  For now, we are settling into our new home and beginning new friendships!

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