Adios Amigos

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Hospital de Dia in Talca Chile.JPG
Who would ever think you could become so connected with a group of people in such few days?  We were amazed by how close we became with these patients and workers in the Hospital de Dia, where we spent the majority of our time. Despite multiple communication barriers (sign language and Spanish) we really formed a lasting bond with these individuals. 

These people were more than happy to take us in with open arms upon arrival, greeting us with hugs and kisses on the cheeks. They invited us to join them in breakfast, and included us in all daily activities such as coloring and morning exercises. The staff wanted to take photos with us and made our coloring pages into a book to help them remember the time we spent together. The patients faces lit up when they saw us either in the facility or out while doing their daily business. In one instance a patient was at a local food store purchasing groceries and saw us passing by. He yelled and waved to us and then we ran over to say hi and see how his day was going. We were thrilled that we made such an impact on this young man's life just by connecting and spending time with him. 

When it came time to say good bye on our last academic day we were all emotional. Many of us had to fight back tears as we hugged our new friends goodbye. The thought of potentially not seeing them again made it tough, but still being able to keep in touch via email helped ease the pain.

These care providers really inspired us to go above and beyond for our patients and showed us that the nurse patient bond is truly built on trust, respect, and compassionate care. We learned that despite communication barriers people can still connect if they are willing to take the time and effort into trying. 

<3 Mariah and Sara

View a photo gallery from the trip.

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Having been a psychiatrist in Chile I know how close to a patient we can feel. Managing emotions is an important task when we are healthcare providers. In fact, one specific risk that helthcare providers face worldwide is the so called emotional labor. You have described it pretty well in your blog entry: not showing emotions (no tears!). Also, emotional labor can consist in faking emotions (for example, faking optimism in front of a severily ill patient to decrease the chances of the patient getting depressed or not complying with the treatment). Emotional labor is a good thing when done in small amounts. It is a kind of control over ourselves. However, emotional labor can take a big toll if we do it too intense and too frequently. Peer support (taking to understanding coworkers) and supervisor support (an understanding boss) may help to mitigate the effects of emotional labor. Did you discover whether the worker in the outpatient clinic have some kind of activity to help them overcome the toll of this and other work related hazards?

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This page contains a single entry by Wentworth, Mariah F published on January 10, 2013 11:04 PM.

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