April 11th, 2015 by Taisei Suzuki
Just across the road from the hospital, there is the Macha School of Nursing. Students from the school come to the Macha Mission Hospital for their clinical rotations. Though resources and technologies may be limited, they try their best to improve their skills! It is so nice to see the part of the local empowerment.
During the round, I get a lot of help from Zambian nurses – translations to the local dialect, name of medications (there are some medications that we do not use in the States, or names are different), dosages of medications, etc etc… They are very knowledgeable and eager to learn. When my attending explains some clinical applications to us, they also listen very carefully and try to learn. One day, I commented to one of the male pediatric nurses who have been working for 5 years, “you can almost be a doctor!” Then he replied, “No, I like being a nurse.” I asked why. He continued “because nurses know patients very well, and we see patients as people. Doctors view patients as cases. They do not remember names, but soon after we mention about ‘malaria kid’ or ‘broken bone kid’ then they say ‘oh yeah.’” He then turned to one of the pediatric patients, called her name, and started playing with her. She smiled back at him. He is absolutely right. We tend to be caught up with diseases and illnesses, and register patients as “cases” especially in foreign countries where names are a bit harder to remember. After that day, I tried to remember patients’ names as much as possible. Still hard to pronounce them time to time, but the concept of patient care should be borderless.