Our first weekend in Bolgatanga was participating with Project GROW. Project GROW stands for Ghana Rural Opportunities for Women. It was during this day where we got to see the medical clinic where the Ghana Health Authority will one day employ nurses and doctors to serve the community. We were welcomed with traditional drumming, dancing and long speeches. Each year some select women at Project GROW are presented with donated female donkeys and goats. The goal for Project GROW is that these women will be able to sustain their livelihoods by passing the offsprings to other women in the village. Each goat and donkey was presented by the chief who was dressed in traditional attire and fanned throughout the day.
Megan Henderson is the RN who was one of the students who came to Ghana last year. She was so impressed with Project GROW that throughout the last year she had continued in fundraising and supporting the cause. Since Megan had been so involved in fundraising she was one of the honoured guests at Project GROW. Some of the women in the village even presented her with traditional house hold gifts as a present for her wedding that is coming up on Easter weekend. It was an amazing time for Megan and the group to witness such kindness.
After completing our first week in labour and delivery as well as the community clinic in he Bolgatanaga Regional Hospital our group was asked to hold lectures at the nursing college. We were very excited to have this opportunity to teach the important practices that were missing in the hospital. In preparation for our second week, the Bolga girls prepared various lectures. Kym taught on the importance of Nursing Code of Ethics, Neonatal Recusitation and Med/Surg Case Studies. Bonnie had the groups captivated by teaching Adult CPR and Med/Surg case studies. Sam taught the importance of Documentation, Nursing Legalities, and Med/Surg Case Studies. Beth taught Neonatal Recusitation, and demonstrated Adult and Neonatal Recusitation. Beth also taught Documentation with Sam. In order to help the students capture the most important aspects of our lectures Michelle wrote notes on the board. Michelle would also support the discussion we had during each lecture by being actively involved in each seminar.
It was an absolute privilege to be asked to hold seminars for the second and third year nursing students. Our group enjoyed this part of our trip the most because we felt that the nursing students were willing and eager to learn from our lectures and change health care in Ghana. Students were respectful by being attentive, asking intelligent questions, and listening quietly. It is obvious that the students were well prepared for class and that the material we presented had been already taught previously. This was an important aspect of our time since a lot of our lectures were based on discussions and questioning. We stressed the importance of critical thinking and problem solving throughout our lectures and the students seemed to really enjoy this form of lecture style.
On our last day of this clinical experience our group was taken to the nursing head administrative office where we were introduced to the head nursing manager. Since our group had spent some time in the maternity unit and community clinic we saw there some obvious supplies that were needed. Using the money raised from the Global Gala, our group marched out to the medical supply store and bought an electronic fetal heart rate monitor, multiple blood pressure apparatuses, paediatric blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, one adult scale and maternity procedure scissors. When we presented our donations to the head nursing manager he was completely taken-a-back to see that all of our donations where filling the obvious needs on these units. He insisted that we present our gifts to the head administrator of the hospital and so we did that as well. Words can't describe how much gratitude these administrators expressed with their smiles. The head hospital administrator wanted to extend his overwhelming gratitude and appreciation to our family and friends who supported us through fundraising and encouraging words.
During our stay in Bolga, we stayed at the Ghana Health Service Physician Bungalow where we were equipped with all the essentials. We even had an air conditioner unit set at a bone chilling 28 degrees. Our house was filled with a working fridge, stove, HOT shower and a three beautiful bedrooms. We were even protected by a man named John who would ensure our safety and keep watch over the house and ourselves. John, our "house officer" was equipped with a sling shot and traditional bow and arrow... Yes, the arrows were poisonous. On our departing day, John presented us with 5 bouquets of flowers picked from the tree outside of our beautiful home. It was an emotional good bye as the 5 girls piled into a small taxi with our luggage filled to the roof. We departed Bolga on the metro bus headed towards Tamale where we were looking forward to connecting back with our family in Tamale.
We are very excited to be finished our clinical experience for the nursing degree we've all worked so hard for! Our group would also like to extend our appreciation and gratitude to our families and friends who gave us the hugs that we needed during the past 4 years. We know that it probably wasn't easy on you guys either. That being said, it's time that we all celebrate accomplishments and have a little bit of fun... Bring on the sunny beaches! See you soon!