Spring 2006 South Africa Service Learning participant
As a volunteer, you'll get hands on experience working with another culture in the medical field. English is a secondary language in the community and spoken by many. However most of the conversations take place in their native tongue of Xhosa. As a nursing student you'll get a variety of tasks within the clinic that you can apply to your practice. You'll work with other nurses and be filling pill boxes with ARV medication and taking weights of patients and looking for indications of medication adjustments if necessary. You'll also be writing prescriptions for the patients if they are on longer-term ARV regimens to be picked up at the local clinical pharmacy. If you are comfortable taking blood, this is a great place for practice, however there can be a lot of risk involved with working with HIV+ blood. You will get to spend time in the pharmacy helping to dispense medications for the patients infected with HIV and TB, as well as treating symptoms and complications. There is a hospital right next door to the clinic where you will spend some time touring and getting a feel for how health care is implemented in South Africa. The staff is very supportive and helpful and will provide you with new experiences each day. They will teach you to be an active member within the clinic. There is so much to learn and take in from the experiences you'll get; it is up to you as to how involved you want to get with the clinic and its patients.
E-mail Chris for more information on this service learning site!