Cecille Joan Avila / Partners In Health
Thank you very much for your continued support of Partners In Health/Zanmi Lasante and University Hospital in Mirebalais (HUM), Haiti.
We're pleased to share with you a story about Lauria (pictured above), a nurse at University Hospital. Please enjoy the excerpt below, and read the full story at http://www.pih.org/.
Watching her work with patients and staff, it’s hard to imagine Lauria as anything but a nurse. Yet the profession was not her first choice. A lover of math, physics, and chemistry, the Cayes native dreamed of becoming a civil engineer in her community along the southern coast. Her mother had other ideas. Tuition for nursing was much more affordable, so she pushed her daughter to pursue the career against her wishes.
Lauria was in her second year at the National Nursing School of Cayes when her father mysteriously fell ill. He started driving four hours, one way, to Port-au-Prince to visit doctors in search of answers, and his daughter often accompanied him.
“We went to five different hospitals hoping for a diagnosis, but were never given one,” Lauria said. The young nurse thought her father might be suffering from tuberculosis or pneumonia. She talked to him about his illness, bolstered his hope, and encouraged him to keep taking his medication. Finally, at the capital’s TB sanatorium, they learned he had lung cancer.
“My dad died in May of 2010,” Lauria said. “It was too late for the doctors to do anything for him.”
Caring for her father made Lauria appreciate the value of her new profession, and small encounters during her clinical rotations reinforced her sense of purpose. One patient from her early years of nursing school stands out in her mind. The woman was in a “horrible state,” Lauria remembered. Her catheter hadn’t been changed. She hadn’t been bathed in four days. And her hair and teeth hadn’t been brushed for likely as long. The young nurse carefully washed her, brushed her teeth and hair, and changed her clothes and bed sheets.
“It was then when I realized I needed to continue this work, because people needed my help,” Lauria said. “I learned the importance of nursing; it’s not about me, it’s about my patients.”
Thank you again for your support!