Friday, April 30, 2010

Need for Health Care Workers in Haiti

The roosters started crowing sequentially. I rolled over and looked at the clock and thought, it can't be that time already. I felt like I had just gone to bed. At 6AM I managed to drag myself from a horizontal to a vertical position, got dressed, gathered everything that I needed for the day, i.e. bottle filled with water, power bars, two phones that almost always appear to be attached to the sides of my face, my camera, date book etc, and headed over to Alumni hall.

Alumni Hall is one of the dorms on campus that house volunteers while they work at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer and or the Hanger clinic. Here I met the new Project HOPE volunteers, and assisted them in getting their first day started at HAS. At 9:30 AM, I headed to the Hanger clinic where a potential candidate for the case manager's position was waiting for me. Mr. L is an accountant by profession, but presently is unemployed and is therefore excited about the prospect of having a job again. Mr. L is scheduled to shadow me for the day.

Although excited about this possibility of finding and hiring someone into the position, I hold some concerns about the lack of basic medical knowledge. Is a medical background necessary? I was asked this question several times, by different volunteers and non-volunteers in the clinic. Some have suggested maybe not. However, I have some reservations and feel that the position requires that the person of choice have some medical knowledge even if very limited. Why? A number of the candidates that come through for physical therapy and prosthesis fitting have non-healing wounds. These wounds almost always require dressing changes and monitoring for major skin breakdown that might cause the inability to wear prosthesis and progress through therapy successfully. I believe the case manger should have the knowledge and skill set in making these appropriate decisions with the team, in caring for such patients safely and effectively.

Nonetheless, in as much as I believe the need for a person with a medical background is of importance for the case manager's position, I can be convinced to think otherwise if Mr. L or any other potential candidate exhibits some very important qualities, i.e. willingness and eagerness to learn, has excellent decision making and organizational skills, has personal initiatives and fortitude, is able to work independently, has effective communication skills and last but definitely not the least, is able to work as part of a team well. If these qualities are exemplified then one could easily overlook the medical aspect of the job. In this situation the physical therapist could potentially take on the role of the medical care provider. Knowing when to seek medical assistance from appropriate medical staff, i.e. nurse or a doctor as needed.

Thanks for reading-Project HOPE volunteer Joy Williams

Help support Project HOPE's long-term efforts to help the people of Haiti. DONATE NOW

No comments:

Post a Comment