Dear OADN Members:
The first full month of the summer has flown by, and we are now getting ready to celebrate a very special summer holiday, July 4th! It is a celebration of the freedom this country affords each of us. I have reflected lately on this great country as I was fortunate to represent OADN at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Congress in Barcelona, Spain. I think when traveling abroad, you cannot help but think about your own country. As I think about my time at ICN, meeting nurses from all over the world, discussing with them the many issues they are confronted with in their practice; there is a universal language amongst nurses that focuses on compassion, empathy, and concern for their patients’ access to healthcare. It does not matter where we live, how urban or rural, the geographic terrain, as nurses we believe in the right of healthcare.
The trip did not only make me think about healthcare, but in general humanity. The attacks on others that have become a societal norm, and yet the events continue to be so disturbing. It is the nurse who often is dealing with these tragic events. As I talked with others from around the globe, it is evident that nurses are confronted with many tribulations on a daily basis. Minimal supplies, lack of adequate staffing, often poor facilities, and yet the human spirit of a nurse withstands all of these situations.
In less than two short weeks, I will have the honor of traveling with six other OADN members who have volunteered their time to travel to a very remote area of Guatemala. We also will be confronted with some of these same issues. We will be in a village of approximately 500 people, 12 hours from Guatemala City providing basic healthcare. It is rather primitive with limited supplies, no running water, and dirt floors, but the essence of helping others truly diminishes the hardships. We have been preparing for this nursing mission trip for the last several months and now the time is approaching. We are excited, and yet I am sure there is an amount of apprehension. I have experienced this trip in the past and it was truly life changing, which is one of the reasons I was compelled to share the event with others. The community individuals will be so thankful no matter what we provide. However, they will give us so much more in return.
So as we approach this holiday celebrating our freedom, despite some of the political discord in our own country, and a concern for quality and accessible healthcare, I am proud to be an American and more importantly a nurse. I am grateful to have the freedom of living in the United States. We are very fortunate in many ways, and yet it is vital nursing’s united voice is heard as the healthcare debate continues. OADN as a member of the Nursing Community continues to monitor and stay involved in healthcare transformation, as we are committed to the healthcare for all Americans. I also ask each of you to keep the Guatemalan Adventurers in your thoughts and prayers and we look forward to sharing our experiences with you.
Donna Meyer, MSN, RN, ANEF, FAADN