The following is a little blurb from my dear friend Jessica who, along with some other fabulous JHU nursing students, did her Public Health clinical in St. Croix:
I had the opportunity to do my public health clinical rotation in St. Croix along with 6 other students. The island is a US territory located southeast of Puerto Rico, however, many of the islanders actually originate from the “down” islands of the Caribbean, which makes for a unique blend of cultures and food. While on the island we primarily worked at an independent living facility for seniors 62+ doing home visits and conducting a needs assessment survey with each resident. However, we also had a share day at a local clinic, visited the one hospital and nursing home on the island, worked at a home that provides care for disabled adults, and provided education on teething, toileting and well baby check-ups at the Early Head Start facility. We were also able to screen over 200 islanders for blood pressure, blood glucose and BMI while working at the farmers market. The illnesses that plague the islanders are similar to what affects us here in Baltimore: diabetes, hypertension and obesity. The difference is that health care resources and services are much scarcer on the island. Any advanced or specialized care outside of cardiology requires transfer to either Puerto Rico or Miami. One highlight of the trip was the eco tour/medicinal plant hike with Ras Lamumba, a local Rastafarian. He explained to us the medicinal plants or “bush” as they are referred to on the island that are used by the locals for common medical ailments. I think what made a lasting impression on me was how well we were received by the people of St. Croix (also known as Crucians). We were welcomed wherever we went and thanked for the many services that we as nurses provide on the island. While every day was long, tiring and hot, each day was also very rewarding. And of course, we couldn’t leave the island without visiting the beaches, which are beautiful and come highly recommended!