Gayrleen Blemur, RN: Morristown Medical Center

Haiti: August 2015

 This summer I had the pleasure of traveling with the organization Hands Up for Haiti on a pediatric public health focused mission trip for one week from July 26th to August 2nd. The focus of the trip was to evaluate the effectiveness of the organization's malnutrition program, Medical Mamba, in several different clinics to conduct focus groups on clean water and nutrition, and teaching sessions on safe sex, nutrition, hand hygiene, First Aid/CPR and breast cancer prevention.

 I witnessed firsthand in Haiti how lack of access to primary care services can physically impact a child's life. It was enlightening to be able to compare the availability of pediatric resources here in the U.S. and in Haiti. What touched me the most was the thought that many of the pediatric problems we encountered could have been prevented or even alleviated with early medical diagnosis and treatment. I was comforted, however, by the idea that the Haitian mothers we encountered in the clinics did the best they could with the resources they had to care for their children.

 I am very grateful for the opportunity to visit Haiti, the homeland of my ancestors and actually make a difference in the lives of my own people. It really encouraged me to enhance my clinical and assessment skills on a professional level, knowing that at any place or time, I may have to use these same skills in an environment with less technology or equipment. The Haitian people have shown me that it is possible to live a rich and fulfilled life by changing my perspective and reassigning value to different platforms. Overall it was a humbling experience and I hope to take this insight, wisdom and humility with me as I continue on my nursing.