On our tour of the Charles Harwood Health Department, a public clinic that used to be the main hospital on the island, we learned that they treat uninsured patients. However, a lot of uninsured patients don’t seek care here, believing that the care is substandard and only “poor people” go here. Regardless, the services they offer are family planning, OB/GYN care, pediatric care, well-baby care, dental care, immunizations, routine health screening, and lab testing.
When we met with our guide, Monica Halbert, we were told that the midwife would be in the next day doing prenatal care, and offered for a few of us to shadow her. As a future midwife, I jumped on the opportunity, along with Alex, Diann (our MSN student who works in L&D), and Emily.
Meg the midwife was amazing- she went to Yale, has an MPH, and commutes from St. Thomas to St. Croix catching babies and providing prenatal care. After seeing a few patients, she allowed us to do the initial interview (How are you doing? Have you had any bleeding or fluid discharge? Has the baby been moving? Any issues since I last saw you?), and then use the handheld Doppler to locate the fetal heartbeat. She also taught us how to do a fundal measurement to see how the baby was growing- I was in heaven. The patient’s charts were written by hand, which allowed for more face-to-face patient interaction, and so different from the electronic charting that we are used to (and takes forever, directing our attention to the computer instead of the patient). Meg was very thorough in her care- definitely a role model for those wanting to work in a low-resource setting!
After sending a thank-you email, Meg wrote back!
So nice to hear from you! You four were a pleasure to work with! Your concern for the clients and for mastering the skills required to provide top notch care was evident. You are all well on your way to highly successful and rewarding careers and to making a great contribution to the well-being of your patients.
Feel free to keep in touch and call on me if I may be of any assistance to you in the future. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!