The guest contributor to our Blog today is Jana Siu, a Registered Nurse from California who has volunteered for us before in India.  Jana is spending time volunteering at our clinic the  “Policlínico Peruano-Americano" in San Clemente, Peru and just sent this first dispatch from the field.

Jana treating patient

by Jana Siu

I was warned about Mondays here at Policlinico Peruano Americano. It’s not even 11am and the patient log is at 62. Out in the crowded waiting room, seated on long wooden benches, there are coughing and crying children, stoic men, breastfeeding mothers and their babies, and the quiet elderly waiting with their caregivers. There is a strict organization in trying to get all these patients seen which is made all the calmer by the patience of those that need medical care. For these people, Policlinico Peruano Americano is the only option to meet their health needs.

Blanca and Leila at the clinic

It is nearing the 4th anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck the Southern Coast of Peru and everywhere I look, there is sobering reminders: piles and piles of cleared rubble, homes that have half crumbled away, empty lots where houses and buildings once stood. And the stories that stay with these people. It is all very sad but despite it all, rebuilding continues, “poco a poco”.


Here at the clinic, there is very little time to think about the past. It is fast-paced, and although the staff is very serious about the work, they remain compassionate. The one nurse, Leila and the voluntary nurse techs do an impressive job of managing patient flow. Their rusty file cabinets are bursting at the seams, none of which have tracks and they hold close to 13,000 charts. Although days can be exhausting, the staff maintains their humor and make sure procedures are explained and questions answered. I see very little of the 2 doctors here since they are just bombarded with patient exams. The lovely pharmacist, Vicki and I quickly became friends over nebulizer kits that were donated from different organizations manufactured by different companies. We were able to make most of the kits work by throwing a few pieces out the window and taping others together.

San Andres

My month here providing medical support should be interesting. Leila and I compare and swap different nursing tips, techniques, and procedures. There´s a lot of: “Really?! Hmmm…okay.” While giving an intravenous medication to a patient, she asked me what our tourniquets are like. When I told her we use single-use tourniquets, in between a giggle, she replied, ¨We´ve had this one for two years!”

More information and reporting about our clinic in Peru can be found here.

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