Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Let's make it count

Now that my training is all done I think its ok to share my projects and what exactly I’m doing with all the fabulous tax dollars I’m sucking up over here.

Sorry for not sharing sooner, I really want to make sure that I only included projects that I think have a decent chance of success. I also needed to hear from Peace Corps that everything I’m doing is stuff they will support.

So I’m dividing my time between four main areas

The Hospital

My job description lists me as the “Safety and Quality Volunteer,” which means that sit around and think of things the hospital could do to improve our patient care. How to do this?

- I have revamped each flow sheet on the patient chart to minimize documentation, maximize patient care, and provide a more accurate clinical picture of the patient.

- Providing continuing nursing education by facilitating peer-led education talks with morning report

- Trying to get a better lab point of care system donated

- Revising outdated policies

- Beginning a hospital chart audit and data collection system

- Forming a Quality and Safety committee to function after I’m gone

- Wrote a few grants in order to get a youth friendly service center started and the staff trained (think Planned Parenthood in America.) This is my biggest project and the one I am most excited about!

- Hospital staff volunteers will be trained in soap making as an income generating activity and to provide soap to our patients (this one isn’t off the ground yet, and yes, I DO know how to make my own soap now.)

The College

My job description at the University lists me as the “Clinical and Skills Lab Coordinator.” This one has a lot of potential! I’m going to be in charge of the nursing school skills lab and helping run the patient simulations. The rest of the job is sort of what I make of it, but it will involve placing the nursing students with good clinical experiences, monitoring their progress, and evaluating their work. I think I’ll be reading lots and lots of care plans!

I’ve also done a little lecturing, most recently the reproductive system. That one deserves its very own blog post….

Private Hospital in the City

They are opening an ICU, the first that will be to true “western” standards. My job for the past few months has been to train the nurses in Critical Care. There is no such program in the schools, so we were starting at square one here. I helped to form a relationship with the government hospital, which has a high acuity unit that we can train in and observe for learning purposes.

The Village

My village chief was kind enough to give me a nice long list of things to do.

- Build them a clean water source. Looking for funding for this now. *

- Find a way to treat their current water source

- Help facilitate their fish farming endeavor (yep, that’s right, I know how to fish farm now as well)

- There’s quite a few more small projects but since I’m not sure they are going to get done I don’t want to list them

Ok, so the fifth area is my house and what I want to do just for me.

- Get chickens

- Get a goat and make goat cheese, but at least just own a goat

- Start a beehive. Just received training on this and it seems totally possible. Not to mention a certain crazy friend is beekeeping in downtown Atlanta, so I always have her as a resource and motivator.

- Build a brick oven to make pizzas in. Hoping special man friend is going to help with this one. Construction isn’t my greatest asset.

- Still working on learning to play guitar and failing miserably

- Make time to read!!

- Possibly learn Chichewa, which I am STILL failing miserably at.

Wish me luck. I’m down to less than 2 years to get all this stuff done; a fact that sends me into a sweaty-palmed panic. I may not sleep until 2013, but at least I’ll be productive!

* You guys knew that eventually I was going to hit you up for money. Well I won’t quite yet, but it’s coming. You’ve been warned.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Unexplained Absences Explained

I should have given a little warning about my current absence from the blog. In my defense, I didn’t do a very good job communicating with anyone about it, including my very own mother who just emailed me the following:

"Did you get eaten by a lion? Or a hyena? Or sucumb to a dread disease?"

The Peace Corps requires so much official notice when we travel like supervisor signatures, landlord acknowledgement, office approval, blah blah.. I wish they would just generate a nice little official notice we could send out to everyone. Turns out if you aren’t around for a few days in America everyone just thinks you’re working hard, maybe just being a little anti-social. Here, if you’re not good about warning people and go missing you get emails about lions and disease. For the record, I haven’t seen a lion, and I’m pretty sure that because THERE ARE NO MORE LIONS. Ok, the disease scenario is slightly more plausible. I did manage to get mange, which is evidently almost impossible for humans to get, and I’m pretty sure I’ve got another worm, actually, I’m positive I have another worm. I promise I will get around to taking care of it.

So I’ve been in the mountains training for two weeks, then to the city for more training only that was me conducting the training. Then, across the country for a music festival at the beach with special man friend, then back home for a few days, then back across country with special man friend for safari. Here is a visual representation for those of you that didn’t get that the first time.

Sorry its so enormous....

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old house

I don't know that you guys were sufficiently impressed with the awesomeness of my home. To put it in perspective a little bit this WAS the home I lived in for 5 weeks when I first arrived. I was just a little cramped.