By Courtney Murphy, BSN, RN
Trauma, Burn and Surgical Critical Care Units
From Feb. 22 to March 8, I had an experience of a lifetime. Alongside 24 other registered nurses, I traveled to El Cercado and Cotui, Dominican Republic, on a medical mission with a nonprofit organization called Intercultural Nursing. I had the opportunity and pleasure to provide free health care to some of the poorest people in the Dominican Republic. We treated persons of all ages, from infancy through late adulthood. Many of the men and women I met walked more than two hours to see “the wonderful American nurses.”
During our first clinic day, I met a woman in her 50s who told me she suffered from chronic headaches. After performing a thorough assessment, I decided to give her some Tylenol in addition to the toiletries everyone we saw received. As I handed her a small bottle of Tylenol and began to explain how frequently to take the pain medication, tears began to roll down her cheeks. She told me she has never been able to afford Tylenol and has lived in pain for the past ten years.
My heart melted when I saw how appreciative this woman was. To know something as simple as Tylenol was going to make such a huge difference in this woman’s life was a wonderful feeling. For each clinic day that followed, I encountered many more individuals who were so thankful of the care we provided.
As nurses, we make a difference in the lives of strangers each and every day. This opportunity allowed me to change the world, at least for the 800 plus people we saw and treated during my two week mission. I look forward to going on another medical mission in the near future to help even more people and bring smiles to the faces of those in need.