VCU School of Nursing

Educating nurses from entry-level through the doctorate. Ranked in the top 4% of undergraduate nursing programs nationally.

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An update on her time in Tanzania. The author is Ginger, an accelerated student due to graduate in December with a BS in Nursing:
So I am here in a cyber cafe and have a short time to let you know how life has been this week.
I have been learning so much and having so many good experiences. I have been going to the clinic everyday from 8am-4pm. I work on my language with the clinic staff all day and review and study at night. I get teased a little now and again and sometimes the staff tells me funny things to say. (They taught me to respond to hey with something close to “I’m cool” or “poa”- they laugh a lot and get very sad when I use the correct “safi” now) Two nurses said I know knew enough Kiswahili to stop speaking any English. I don’t know about that but I was able to diagnose and treat a Malaria case by myself this week when the doctor I was working with left me to it. I was lucky that 75% of the cases at the clinic are malaria so I had some experience with it. In Kiswahili I asked “Are you vomiting? How many time? Do you have diarrhea? Do you have any pain? Where? Do you have a cough?” I then sent her for the malaria test at the lab. I have only seen one test come back negative all week.

I was also able to spend some time in the mother and child clinic. Every month from birth to five years the mother is supposed to bring the child in to be weighed and have their progress marked on the growth chart. (Thanks Professor Hart for making sure I knew how to do that right) It is interesting to see the babies hanging in their slings from the scale. Some crying, other laughing as they swing. When we give them the vaccine, they all cry. Then we can very easily slip in the vitamin A or the polio vaccine into their open mouths. One of the first things I learned was how to say “I’m sorry and don’t cry baby”
I was also able to witness some basic hand surgery at the clinic and some major wound care not unlike what I might do while working in the Burn Unit. It is to be sure we have different ways of doing things but it is always interesting and new.
Since I live in a guest house I have not had the opportunity to eat much local food but am about to foray out into the busy street for some lunch. Maybe I will find some good cart food nearby. I have no doubt it will not be like my beloved Christopher’s but it will be good I am sure.
Every day is a new adventure and a great learning experience. I can’t wait to tell you so much more in the coming weeks. Thank you all for your support and love. I can feel it a world away.

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