Jessie Wheeler + students from CV's teen program
One of the great benefits of working at Clinica Verde is that it introduces us to so many generous and wonderful people who are interested in helping out. Jessica Wheeler is one of those special people. We first connected with her after she made an online donation in 2009, when Clinica Verde was just getting started. She wrote then: “The mission of Clinica Verde rings true on so many different levels and my contribution is the least I could do.” Jessica stayed in touch over the years as we brought the vision of Clinica Verde to life. She is now a graduate student at Columbia University in New York City getting her degree as a Nurse Practitioner, specializing in psychiatry. She also works at a startup called FRND, which is like an Uber for RN’s, bringing on-demand nursing care to people’s homes.
This past summer – 6 years after she first reached out – Jessica and her husband Tim volunteered for 5 weeks at Clinica Verde. We asked Jessie to briefly share her experience.
What drew you to working at Clinica Verde?
As an avid surfer, I have visited (and loved!) Nicaragua for over a decade. A few years ago a fellow traveller mentioned the clinic to me, saying they knew someone from California who was starting a clinic for women in the mountains (I wish I could remember who this person was!). In any event, Clinica Verde was just a concept at this point, but I started donating small sums of money for the building of the clinic. When I became a registered nurse, I wanted to give something back to Nicaragua. I thought spending some time working at Clinica Verde would be a good way to do this! In addition, I’m very interested in global health and I knew CV would give me an education that I could never find in a classroom.
What was the most challenging thing about your experience at Clinica Verde?
The language barrier. I am “conversational” in Spanish but did not have enough of a grasp on the language to understand all of the small interactions that occur between doctor and patient.
What was the most uplifting experience?
Oh wow. I’m not sure. All of it? I suppose the most specifically uplifting experience was the TeenSmart Program and our day discussing contraception. I take contraception very seriously and have been a cheerleader for family planning for quite some time! I thoroughly enjoyed imparting this information to the teens in the program. Parts of it seemed to really resonate with them!
Is there one story/patient who really stuck with you?
I worked with one mother who had a very sick infant. The infant was not feeding properly, losing weight, and spiked a fever. Ultimately this baby needed to be in the ER and have IV fluids, but the process of helping the mother through it was very rewarding. The mother was nervous but appreciative of the care we provided.
We’re so grateful to have Jessica as a part of our Clinica Verde family!
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This past year, we've served over 10,000 patients at Clinica Verde, providing not just clinical care and medical consults, but education talks on nutrition, hygiene, prenatal care and more. We're particularly excited and grateful for our TeenSmart program, which trains teen peer counselors in sexual reproductive health, and our Prenatal Nutrition Program, which provides young mothers a support network and education on the stages of fetal development, the importance of diet and nutrition, and well baby care.
We couldn't have done it without you.
We want to wish all of our awesome donors and volunteers a joy-filled holiday season. You are helping to make a difference in the world through your kindness and compassion.
With love and gratitude,