Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Michigan Difference in Thailand

Not only have we made a significant difference in the weight of our suitcases due to the vast number of scarves bought at the silk shop, we have also started to reflect on the effect of our presence here in Thailand.

Playing peek-a-boo with a small child through the window, relieving the pain from a stye in an eye, and putting a smile on the "Smoothie Man's" face, who anticipates our daily arrival, we sport our Michigan Maize and Blue colors with pride in Thailand.

While small effects are great, we are even more excited at the cultural intra-professionalism occurring. Not only have we learned all the Thai student's names we are working with and them ours, the students are now asking various questions and having us confirm their assessment skills.  The language barrier is still one of the greatest barriers encountered, but through charades and an incredible effort from the students, understanding of chief complaint and history is obtained.  Working together, we are able to collaborate with those in the clinic to devise a plan for patients.

Evidence of the full circle of healthcare and the importance of Community Health Nursing is evident in our adventures. This week, we did a home visit, a home that did not resemble anything we have experienced as a place of dwelling before. The patient had not sought healthcare services in an extended period of time, yet had several things that were of concern. Education was provided at the time about coming to the clinic to receive a referral to see a physician about these ailments, yet we all left feeling questionable about the reality of this plan.

As we walked into the clinic today, we were met with a familiar figure. The patient from the home visit came to the clinic today to receive our full assessment and referral! If we had never ventured to that home, a place of discomfort for most clinicians as it is outside of the normal clinic routine, it is uncertain if or when the patient would have sought healthcare.  Now we are aware of and involved in the steps that have been taken toward follow up.

All of these small gestures, interactions, and learning experiences have allowed each one us to grow in a significant way. We are proud and fortunate that the people we meet positively impact our lives, and that we in turn do the same. Through our strong educational foundation and tradition of excellence instilled at Michigan, we are doing our small part to make a difference in this corner of the world. Go Blue.

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