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Nicaragua Medical Service Trip

McCall Tingey
EDGE 4030
Fall 2018
Project Description
On March 9 2018, I traveled from Las Vegas, NV, to Managua, Nicaragua. l traveled through the
country to set up four different clinics around the coastal region with my RHS group leader and 3
Nicaraguan physicians. In the clinics, I met with patients, took comprehensive family health
histories, performed examinations, recorded vital signs, came up with my own diagnoses, and
prescribed medications. Along with working in makeshift clinics we set up, we did house visits to
people who were unable to travel to clinics, or who were too physically ill to do so. We returned to
Las Vegas on March. 17, 2018.
Why a medical service trip?
​I chose to go on a service trip with RHS because
I am passionate about helping those who are
truly in need. The people I helped would
otherwise not have received care/medication
they needed if trips such as this did not exist. I
am going into healthcare because I truly care
about people and I want to help those who
cannot help themselves. ​This trip is an excellent
way for me to experience, first hand, medicine in
action. I gained experience with patients, fellow
students, and professional physicians.
How my EDGE project sets me apart
I got to have a whole week of patient interaction-
learning how to take comprehensive medical
histories, hands-on examinations, and constantly
being tested on my knowledge of pathophysiology
and treatment options.

Making connections with established physicians in


another country will help me going forward in my
career, because they saw how I handled the stress
and challenges thrown at me, and they will make
great references on applications and letters of
recommendation.
Medical School Crash Course
● 4-hour class with the supervising physicians/interpreters
● Had to retain pages and pages of information on what to expect and how to treat nearly 100
diseases/disorders
● Quizzes as we went through each disease, with the physicians calling on us randomly to answer
questions about anything we had previously talked about
● Learned how to take vital signs (I had never taken a BP before, and they made me do it in front
of the whole group)

Lesson 1 of the week: remember the basics, the simple things make a huge difference (like knowing
whether or not your stethoscope is turned on…. And knowing that some of them have the ability to
turn off)
The first vs last clinic days
Clinic 1: My group was all terrified to see our first patient (which ended up being an entire family
with 4 screaming children). The three of us all tried to take history/vitals/symptoms at the same
time, and we were extremely inefficient. We were incorrect on all 6 diagnoses and treatments we
chose. I spelled nearly everything wrong because I don’t know any Spanish, and we made very little
improvement over the next 8 hours.

Clinic 4: The physicians stopped signing off on our diagnoses and prescriptions, they gave us stamps
of their signatures and only reviewed them if we felt unsure about it. We were explaining physiology
to patients, making connections with them, and we finished treating every patient who showed up
that day 2 hours earlier than planned.
What I learned
● It’s okay to make mistakes! I learned way more from correcting
● Medical Spanish- writing prescriptions and communicating with patients
● I do NOT want to be a primary care provider- this was a great learning experience
which allowed me to have a full primary care experience, and I learned that
wouldn’t be the best career path for me.
● I was incredibly humbled to see the conditions these people live in, and how
happy they are for the simplest things (kids went crazy over stickers), and I
returned extremely grateful for everything I have in my life.
Moving forward...
● I am going on another RHS trip this March to Panama, but this time I get to focus on my
discipline (dental care) and I am looking forward to another incredibly unique learning
experience through service.
● I made great connections, strengthened my patient interaction skills, and gained a ton of
confidence in my ability to go into healthcare.
● This trip changed my career plan from pre-med to pre-dental