The Public Hospital, Santo Domingo

During our first day in Santo Domingo, we toured the public hospital with the head nurse. One of the more surprising aspects of this tour was that the hospital professionals are trained on a regular basis, and the general healthcare system was not as “behind” as expected.

We met many healthcare professionals, including an Emergency Room doctor and a gynecologist. We learned that training sessions are regularly held in each department of the hospital to ensure that all healthcare professionals are up-to-date on procedures, studies and safety regulations in the healthcare system.

We also visited the laboratory, the doctor’s office, the triage area, the Emergency Room, the nurses’ station and the maternity wing of the hospital. In the laboratory, we saw that various samples of tissues and liquids are tested to properly diagnose and treat patients. During a question and answer period, we found out that all professionals in the laboratory hold a degree in biochemistry, and a specialization in an area of interest. In addition, if the lab is well-supported financially, it will be regularly stocked with the appropriate tools and resources. There have apparently been times when it was under-funded, and they unfortunately did not have enough supplies to care for their patients.

In the Emergency Room, we met the Emergency Room doctor and saw the reality of life for critically-ill patients. We saw one patient with anorexia, another with an IV falling out, and another who was violently ill. Surprisingly, there was also a poster with a diagram of a diseased mouse on the wall. This was designed to alert staff, patients, and visitors that if hand hygiene is not practiced, diseases can travel quickly between humans.

At the nurses’ station, the head nurse explained the triage system, patient care, and the discharge process as well as the overall process of becoming a nurse. After completing high school and a one-year healthcare certificate, student nurses must successfully complete a four-year internship designed to prepare them for the workplace. Deserving student nurses who have mastered the theory and had extensive practical training are then hand-selected by the Dean of Nursing to become a professional nurse.

When they found out I had completed a year of nursing, the head nurse expressed an interest in touring a Canadian hospital. Although she and her colleagues would not be able to tour the Emergency Room and ICU, they would still be able to learn from our healthcare system and nursing programs.

The last part of our tour was a short visit to the maternity wing of the hospital. All babies are born in the hospitals, and typically, women who have given birth are discharged the following day. This is simply how the system works, and not due to a lack of resources.

The entire trip to the public hospital in Santo Domingo was an eye-opener, and it profoundly changed my perspective of the healthcare system! I really appreciated the time the doctors and nurses spent with us, answering our questions and showing us the work they do.

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Fralan School

Fralan School

In Bani,we met a man named Francis who guided us around the town and showed us what we wouldn’t have noticed if he was not there. On the fifth day we got to visit Fralan Computer Services, which was started and is now run by Francis himself. In this school, they teach computer skills including accounting, pharmacy, economics, sales, and information technology where the students can get jobs in business and secretary services. Francis has teachers who teach 3 alternating shifts a day, morning, afternoon, and night. The students have to pay for their textbooks, and approximately 10 pesos a month for tuition, which equals to $0.25 CND. The teachers get paid by how much the work during the day. For one shift a day for the week, the teachers will get paid around 4000 pesos, which is $98.00 CND. Along with teaching us about the schooling available  we got an insight on how Francis got to this stage in his life. He started by telling us about his dream as a young kid about opening a computer school called Fralan. His friends knew how much he wanted to open a school, so they started to call him Fralan. Francis goes on to tell us about how it was hard getting the funding and materials to build the school and after lots or perseverance we was granted the land to build the school. When the plans were finalized and the building was about to start being constructed, he was offered a well-paying paying job in Santo Domingo that include very good benefits. After lots of thought and prayers, he decided to go with his school even though it was a huge risk. But the risk was worth it! The school was built, and classes started with great success. There has been ups and downs in the running of his school, and sometimes there is the fear of not being able to run the classes because of fund shortages, but he manages to make it through at the end of the day! Francis explains to us his dreams in a simple quote, “If you feed them in the morning, they will be hunger again in the afternoon. But is you teach them how to make food, they will never be hungry again!” Francis has inspired me personally showing me that no matter how big of dreams you have, and even though they might seem impossible, through perseverance you can reach them. The visit was very enlightening and encouraging to me, and many of the other girls on this trip.

Until next time!

Lisa 🙂

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