Monday, March 28, 2016

Fostering Fun

This past week we were placed on the pediatric ward at Lewanika General Hospital in Mongu.
(Jackie) Following graduation, I wish to further my career in the field of Pediatric Oncology. And hopefully become a nurse practitioner within this specialty field. Within my past placement in the OR and PAR in had already become familiar with the hospitals resources and staff ingenuity.

The pediatric floor itself is much like the rest of the hospital. It is divided based on condition and event of stay; whether it be surgical, medical, or malnutrition. We had the opportunity to see a variety of patients and conditions during our rotation on the pediatric ward. After doing rounds with various physicians on the floor we realized some of the children had been hospitalized for weeks even months. Those are weeks and months that these children are not in school. In Canada our educational system is a privilege, one in which many children take for granted or are unaware of how fortunate they are.

Children here do WANT to go to school and get an education. With all the fancy things the children know we have, all they ask for are pencils, crayons, and paper. Well, and stickers! Stickers here are pretty much the coolest thing ever and kids put them on their foreheads for everyone to see! In hospital same hold true, kids ask for crayons, books, paper, and stickers!

We tried our best to work along side staff and students on the floor. At times it did prove difficult as our nursing practice in Canada differs slightly from practice here at Lewanika. We modeled our Canadian nursing practices for the students and staff in hopes we could share our knowledge with them. Similarly, we observed the students and staff on the ward to learn from them and about their nursing practice. At UBC we were taught to check in on each patient in the morning followed by a thorough assessment, prioritizing patients reason of stay in hospital. At Lewanika, nurses go around and see each patient while damp dusting (a method of cleaning) but do not perform assessments on them. The practice here is to allow the physicians to see the children as they do their rounds, and that is where  the child is assessed. As we encouraged charting and assessments as a priority is was challenging finding a way to model best practice when the nurses were used to their own nursing cultural practices.

Priya and Jackie with one of our favorite nurses Anette.

As previously mentioned, many of these children are missing a lot of schooling. As we had some time to spare on the floor than many of the staff, we were able to spend the quieter moments with the kids to initiate play therapy. The time that we spent initiating play therapy with the kids was crucial because it allowed the kids to interact with one another which is a very important part of their development and growth. It also allows them to use the play therapy to practice skills such as reading and writing, which is something we would often do with the kids. It was amazing to see how some of the kids really started wanting to be with us in play therapy. Many children were shy around us initially but began to ask us to read books or to draw with the . Also, a lot of the kids did not have things to do during the afternoon periods so having play therapy would allow  them to get their minds off being in the hospital and play as kids! Seeing them smile and watching their faces light up when we would do paintings or play with bubbles was a great feeling.

Priya painting with some children on the Pediatric Ward. 

On our final day on the ward we got to paint eggs with the kids and their families for Easter! The eggs were hard boiled so it was a great way to add nutrition for the kids and some  protein  as well. The kids and parents had so much fun painting the eggs and decorating them even though for most, it was their first time. It was nice that mom's were getting involved as well with the children. It was an interesting experience for us to explain to the parents that the kids could eat the eggs after decorating them so they could get the protein too! Because who really wants to eat a green egg? (Besides Dr. Seuss, who was also a favorite among the children at reading time!).

And finally, this past weekend we all went to Livingstone! After a 10 hour bus ride we arrived at our hostel, JollyBoys. We visited Victoria Falls which was amazing and breathtaking as well as went on safari in Botswana (neighboring country with Zambia). On separate days,we both went zip lining over a Victoria Falls Gorge, it was crazy. We jumped off the cliff with the harness attached to the line at the back. We literally jumped off the cliff like superwoman! 

Giraffe at Chobe National Park, Botswana

To all our family and friends we miss you and love you!

-Priya and Jackie 

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