Over the last two weeks we have experienced a total immersion into the culture of this Caribbean Island jewel and so today we say good bye to St. Croix. This group not only leaves their footprints in the sands but has also touched the lives of many people who call the island home.
We conducted 103 blood pressure screenings at the Saturday market, screened 241 junior high school students for scoliosis, educated 130 elementary students about dental care, educated 55 fourth and fifth graders about internet safety, provided 30 elementary school students education about hand washing, danced an afternoon away with 30 staff members and residents at Flamboyant Gardens, and provided a health and wellness seminar to ten residents at Flamboyant Gardens. Many of the students had the opportunity to work in the hospital Emergency Room, work with doctors and nurses at Fredriksted Health Care, and Continuum Health Care. Students all visited with 27 residents at Queen Louise Home for Children and each child received a gift of flip-flops, socks, and treats from the students and faculty.
The students leave today with a new found humility, appreciation for each other, and 19 Cruzan bracelets to forever remember their community health experience at USF. We look forward to continuing to mentor these students, watching them develop into the Bull nurses that they will become.
~Dr. Shar Smith & Dr. Betty Jordan
Wednesday evening was filled with many laughs and tons of pedaling on the Salt River Bay. There are only several bioluminescent bays left in the world, and we were lucky enough to explore the wondrous sight! The swirling of your hand in the water and every paddle stroke lights up the water, giving off a glow. The bluish-white glow is actually single-celled organisms called Dino-flagellates. Some of us even caught a couple comb jellyfish! We can all agree that this trip was relaxing and fun after a day of clinical!
This week, Jeanne and I had the opportunity to do a presentation about germs and handwashing at Juanita Gardine Elementary School here in St. Croix. We presented two times, one to sixth graders and the other to third graders. The presentation started off with a powerpoint about germs and common illnesses that they can get from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. We were especially impressed with the intelligence of the third graders in their responses to our questions. The sixth graders then surprised us with questions of their own about various ways they can prevent themselves and their classmates from getting sick. Included in our presentation, we used a blacklight on the kids’ hands to show that germs are still there even when they cannot see them. The kids loved using the blacklight, and they were shocked to see that germs can stay on their hands even if they have washed their hands that day. Jeanne and I taught the kids good handwashing skills and put them to the test while having them clean their hands and use the blacklight again. Overall, the presentation was a success, and the kids at Juanita Gardine can use their new handwashing skills to better fight germs and prevent sickness in their school.
~ Morgan McMahon
The Cruzan hook bracelets are famous here in St. Croix. When the opened hook is faced towards the heart, it indicates that the person wearing it is in a relationship. When the opened hook is faced away from the heart, it indicates that person has an opened heart and is looking for love. When wearing two bracelets facing the opposite direction, it indicates “Cruzan Confusion” which means, “it’s complicated.” This ultimate souvenir shows that you have spent time on this beautiful island. During our time here in St. Croix, we found that a large majority of the locals we encountered were wearing some form of the Cruzan hook. As a result, a majority of our St. Croix family* bought one as well.
*family = the students of the St. Croix global experience team
Today I spent the day in the Charles Harwood Memorial Clinic, the clinic for the Department of Public Health. This clinic provides healthcare for the vulnerable population of St. Croix, the Community Health portion of which is managed by a Nurse Practitioner. Mrs. Todman sees an average of 12 patients per day, mostly appointment-based with a few walk-ins. I was thoroughly impressed by the amount of patients who complied with the patient education provided by this Nurse Practitioner in their previous appointments. Many of which admitted that he or she would be much less healthy without Mrs. Todman’s education on proper diet and exercise. In addition, I found it interesting that so many of our patients at the clinic were homeless, but I was glad to see that there was a healthcare provider for everyone on the island. Overall, I truly enjoyed my experience at the Charles Harwood Memorial Clinic with Nurse Practitioner Todman.