For my placement this week I was in the HIV clinic. I was very excited to start in the clinic because I have an interest in nursing with marginalized populations. I have had slim to none experience with HIV in Canada so being able to work solely with people who are HIV positive was very eye opening.
I started my week in counselling where patients are diagnosed with HIV and given education. Patients are diagnosed by using a finger prick, like a glucometer for reading blood sugar, and are given another test if the first turns out positive to make sure of the results. It was an extremely humbling experience working alongside the counsellors whose job it is to give the patients their results and help them to figure out the next steps and receive education on their diagnoses. It is a very important job to treat the patients with respect and help them to understand how to prevent the spread of disease and be their first line of contact into accepting treatment.
On my last day I spent my time in adherence counselling. This was my first time using an interpreter and I was able to fill out the adherence paper work. Although it was awkward at first I got into the flow of it. It was very interesting to see the cultural differences in why some patients would miss their medications, as well as seeing the similarities to habits in Canada. Learning different methods to help patients adhere to their medication regime and help them figure out what works best for them is definitely something I can take back to Canada.
I found my time in the HIV clinic to be really helpful in understanding the disease and how it truly effects the lives of those it touches. Being able to
to gain knowledge on how the doctors pick the different medications, how to stage HIV, what the common opportunistic infections look like, and being the bearer of life changing news for clients has helped to expand my ability to be an effect nurse in Canada.