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    Advanced nursing students from Florida Inter-national University lighten load of Beyond the Horizon 2017

    Advanced nursing students from Florida Inter-national University lighten load of Beyond the Horizon 2017

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Whitney Houston | Herlly Camacho, a Masters of Nursing student of Florida International University,...... read more read more

    SAN IGNACIO, Belize – In a small open field next to a school house, hundreds of people gather to receive free health care provided by the U.S. Army in San Ignacio, Belize, May 12. Treating only acute illnesses, the medical exercise is the second of three 10-day events that will be administered during Beyond the Horizon 2017.

    BTH 2017 is a U.S. Southern Command sponsored exercise, led by U.S. Army South, and runs from March 25 to June 17. It is a partnership exercise between the U.S. military and the government of Belize, that consists of the construction of medical clinics, school buildings and provides three medical readiness treatment exercises.

    So far, providers are seeing approximately 500 to 600 patients a day at San Ignacio. The first medical event in Ladyville treated upwards of 3,500 patients over the ten-day period and it is looking like they will exceed that number in San Ignacio. These events offer dental, vision, general medicine, women’s health and other services. But due to such a large patient volume there is a big need for extra medical personnel.

    To assist in administering medicine to such a large group of people, the Army makes good use of non-governmental organizations to increase their capacity. This helps with the mission and simultaneously brings the U.S. working population closer to its military. One such group that assisted is from Florida International University which sent three credentialed registered nurses from their Masters of Nursing program and one of their associate clinical professors.

    “One of the reasons that we use NGO’s such as these soon-to-be nurse practitioners from FIU, is because it bridges a gap between the military and the public,” said Lt. Col. Amy Surdam, who serves as a nurse practitioner for the Wyoming Army National Guard’s Medical Detachment.

    “These exercises build trust not only with our partner nations, but it also helps us build trust with our medical professionals in the states, and by the time the exercise is finished, you have an ally and a working rapport with the civilian sector,” Surdam added.

    Although BTH 2017 benefits greatly from the assets that FIU and other NGO’s offer, both sides gain valuable experiences in their dealings with the patients.

    “In Belize, we are working with limited resources, which demands sound clinical decision making skills,” said Lucie Dlugasch, a Miami, Florida native, who holds a doctorate of nursing, and works as an associate clinical professor at FIU. “In the states, we get used to having an imaging department, or a blood lab, things of that nature, that help us decipher what may be ailing the person. So, we really have to rely on our knowledge and experience to diagnose these people, and get them the care they need.”

    Dlugasch and her students not only brought their medical expertise to meet the demands of BTH 2017, but also a grasp of the Spanish language. This helped lighten the load for Army providers to quickly obtain patient histories, prescreens and triage patients.

    “San Ignacio is situated very closely to the Guatemalan border and is heavily influenced by the Spanish language,” said Maj. Aaron Taff, a Laramie, Wyoming native, who serves as a dentist for the Wyoming National Guard’s Med. Det. “These four FIU personnel helped us immensely to obtain detailed as possible patient histories, and they were instrumental in helping us overcome the language barrier, because they all speak Spanish.”

    The FIU personnel also took a lot away from the medical exercise due to the collaboration and exchanging of ideas that all military missions require.

    “It’s an extremely valuable setting for my students in that you can’t mimic it in a clinic or a hospital. The focus on teamwork that is engineered in an Army setting, you just can’t get anywhere else,” Dlugasch said. “It’s a two-way street for knowledge in this setting, we give and take from each other’s knowledge and experience, and we’ve benefited a lot from this unique environment that the military provides.”

    Medical treatment in San Ignacio will continue until May 16, and the third and final medical event will be held in Dangriga from May 22 through June 1.

    * editors note: All medical personnel from Florida International University participating in Beyond the Horizon 2017 are credentialed registered nurses.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.12.2017
    Date Posted: 05.18.2017 21:45
    Story ID: 234393
    Location: SAN IGNACIO, BZ 
    Hometown: MIAMI, FL, US

    Web Views: 327
    Downloads: 6
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