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As my time in Jamaica comes to an end, I just want to thank all of the wonderful people I met throughout the month that have made this one of the best experiences of my life! I have learned so much over the past month and have grown as a person and clinician. For this being my first medical mission trip, it was pretty epic! Initially when I decided to do this, I was super nervous because I had never traveled alone before. When I told people I was going to Jamaica, everyone was worried about my safety. I can honestly say that I never once felt in danger. From the friendly staff at Couples Tower Isle to all the doctors, nurses, and drivers I met at the various hospitals, I always felt supported and secure.

Now to get to the good stuff…! When we  drove up to the first hospital, Port Maria Hospital, I honestly thought “This can not be a hospital”. Coming from the nice, shiny, tall, air conditioned hospitals in America, I was pretty shocked. I’m sure my face said it all while walking through the hospital and seeing the clinic room we would be working in. Port Maria Hospital was probably the least equipped hospital, but ended up being my favorite! The people there were amazing and so helpful!


Port Maria Hospital doctors’ room

We went to two other hospitals throughout the month: Annotto Bay and Port Antonio. We saw a variety of cases but still lots of gen peds cases like viral URIs and asthma. There was several things I had to get used to. The formulary and medications used in Jamaica was different than what I typically use in the US. I learned the many different brand names of Acetominophen like Panadol, Cetamol, and Paracetamol. In the hospitals I worked at, the doctors had to draw all the labs and start IVs on the patients. In the hospital I train at, the nurses do all the lab draws and IVs, so it was great practice for me!

I also had to get used to working with the limited resources available. I saw a patient that had paronychia, which is an infection around the nail bed. He had an infection in his toe that required an incision and drainage to get the pus out so his toe could start healing. The treatment room at the hospital was not nearly as well equipped as one would be in the US, but somehow the docs always found a way to treat the patients!


Cleaning a patient’s toe for an I&D

The patois that the Jamaican people speak was sometimes hard to understand! I had to fix my face sometimes because I could feel myself looking quizzical! And I’m sure parents got tired of having to repeat themselves multiple times because I just couldn’t understand what they were saying. Overall, the parents were really understanding and patient with me as I tried to talk with them and learn the system! The patients were great, and so adorable! I really appreciated how grateful the parents and patients were.

It wasn’t all work though! The resort was fabulous! We got to do any of the water sports, from sailing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and going on the catamaran cruise. There were a few days that the driver didn’t pick us up, for whatever reason, so we enjoyed a random day off lounging at the beach! 


I got to drive the boat!…just for 2 seconds!

Overall, it has been the best clinical experience of my young, professional life! I learned so much about myself and how I want to practice medicine in the future. I gained so much more than I gave, and for that, I am forever grateful to the people of Jamaica and the ISSA Trust foundation for allowing me to have this opportunity. 

I did leave with a souvenir! I fractured by toe about halfway through the month and the docs at Annotto Bay Hospital took great care of me and fixed me right up!

4th proximal phalanx fracture

4th proximal phalanx fracture

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