My calling in life is nursing. I got paid to do what I loved. Volunteering with Team Rubicon, I hoped for an opportunity to use my skills as a registered nurse on a voluntary basis. Operation Continuing Promise in Guatemala was that opportunity, and I made the most of it.
On the clinic floor, my head was on a swivel, focusing on what was going on at all the medical providers stations, assessing and anticipating who may need assistance. Locking eyes with patients and then communicating through the interpreters that I understood their fears and symptoms, and then reassuring them they were not alone.
I could recommend some simple relaxation techniques and encourage them to allow themselves time for just being mindful. That brought smiles! Clinic patients told me they were praying for me. Imagine that. Sometimes we referred patients to the Guatemalan Ministry of Health for surgeries and follow up care. I’m praying for them, praying that what our medical professionals identified as needs would see fruition.
I saw kids’ faces light up after receiving a bright-colored toothbrush and I loved the scenes of U.S. Navy and TR guys getting goofy to keep the children entertained as they waited their turn to be examined. These will be the images I will remember, with a smile on my face and peace in my heart. We gave them our best, each and every day. No matter how hot or tired we were, the medical team picked up the ball and ran with it.