by Edee Vassar, APRN
Recently, I was privileged to be a part of the HHI September Medical Service Trip. As a nurse of 36 years and a nurse practitioner for 15 of those years, I have worked in multiple settings with many health care providers. Rarely have I experienced the level of professionalism, caring, competence and collegiality that I found in both paid and volunteer staff. The clinics were very well organized and efficient. Patient care was particularly satisfying due to the capability to make home visits and to discuss problems at team conference.
For example, I went on a home visit to an elderly woman with high blood pressure who was a bilateral above the knee amputee. She complained of constant phantom limb pain which was preventing her from sleeping more than 2 hours at a time. Her daughter, who was
taking wonderful care of her, had a colostomy and was ashamed to go out of the house due to lack of colostomy supplies. We discussed both these women at the team conference and were able to find solutions to both problems. It is not often in the US that providers have such ready access to multidisciplinary teams which always make decision making richer and more meaningful to both provider and patient.
Finally, our orientation to the country, the organization and the functioning of the clinics was very comprehensive and made the whole experience that much more welcoming and meaningful. I give my highest recommendation to HHI, its mission, goals and staff. I believe it is making a significant and lasting impact on the people of the Dominican Republic