Week 4 in the Philippines

Today is July 4th, 2022. We have officially passed the halfway point of our time in the Philippines. This week we rotated to the Surgical unit at SFCFC. On the first day in the unit we spent most of the time observing procedures and getting an idea of how the flow of surgery looks, Sir Jeff also familiarized us with surgical tools used, and also what the Post Anesthesia care Unit (PACU) looks like in the Philippines. After our day of orientation, the rest of the week was spent with Mia Aileen and me taking turns scrubbing into surgeries and acting as surgical nurse assistants. This was an amazing experience as this has been the first time I have been able to scrub into surgery and help out. It was super cool to be a part of the surgical team. However, I am not sure if I could see myself working on a surgical unit in the future as it involved a lot of standing (I stood for 5 hours straight for one surgery) and keeping my hands still not to break sterility which is not my strong suit. However, we still got to practice and observe many nursing skills during the pre and post-surgery phase as we administered medications, set up IVs, and transferred patients. On top of scrubbing into surgery, we also got to observe many more procedures such as colonoscopies, gastroscopies, and endoscopies as they were also performed within the OR unit. Another great experience was we learned about the newborn screening test and even helped perform it a little as the babies who were delivered in the hospital came to the OR for the test. Overall it was a super interesting and exciting week in the OR filled with meeting a bunch of great people. I am excited to see what the second half of this trip has in store for me.

Learning about the autoclave to sterilize supplies and equipment used during surgery.
A photo we got with the staff after our first day in the OR!
Our drain clogged in our house which lead to a few hours of clean-up after getting home from work (the rain here is relentless)
Got to ride in the front seat of the dyip on our commute home from the hospital which was a first (also featuring the rain).
A photo our preceptor (Sir Jeff) took of us with Nurse Karlene in between surgeries.
A photo we got with the OR staff and the surgeon after a successful surgery!
Another photo Sir Jeff took of Aileen and I before we were about to observe an operation.
Had a more low-key weekend where we caught up on some sleep since we were up between 4 or 5 AM for the morning surgeries but, this is my sandwich from a dinner the three of us went to after the work week.
A quick picture I took when Mia, Sir Jeff and I were all wearing matching shoes šŸ˜€

Week 3 in The Philippines

Today’s date is June 26, 2022. We have been here for a little over 20 days. This week our rotation at SFCMC was in the ICU. Within the ICU I got to observe and practice so many nursing skills as the patients within the unit were in more critical states than what I have experienced on any gen-med floor here in the Philippines and back home in my clinical rotations. I got some exposure to ventilators where I learned what some of the values indicated while also learning about the two different types of ventilation. On top of this, we got more observational experience and hands-on experience with nursing skills such as inserting an NG tube, feeding patients through an NGT,Ā  inserting a foley catheter, and setting up ECGs. Outside of nursing skills I also learned a lot about medications, especially medications used in more critical status patients such as dopamine. Outside of the hospital, we were able to go and do the 1500 steps of Mt. Maculot with our preceptor Sir Jeff and his father-in- law which was followed by visiting some of their families’ property and making fresh buko (coconut) juice. This weekend Mia, Aileen, and I also traveled to Manila to explore the city (and the ginormous malls) thanks to a lot of assistance from Melissa Simoy. It is crazy to think that we are already approaching the halfway point in this experience but I am excited to see what the next 34 days will bring inside and outside the hospital!

Monday after work Sir Jeff rode the same jeepney as the three of us as he was on the way to the auto shop in the same direction so we took this picture! He also informed me that the abbreviation "jeep" I have been using for a jeepney is spelled dyip in Tagalog.
On Tuesday to end our first 6-6 (12-hour shift) we headed to Sir Jeff’s office where we tried to do some nursing simulations on a website but ran into some technical difficulties so we instead helped clean off his whiteboard where we got to sign it after with the abbreviation JAM for our initials.
Sir Jeff treated us to our first buko shake (which was delicious) for cleaning his whiteboard.
Sir Jeff taught me how to efficiently cut the skin off of a mango (that we got freshly from the mango tree only a few feet away from where we were sitting).
A photo Mia took of me while with this stunning greenery on our way up the 1500 steps (sounds a lot easier said than done)
The group photo we took with ICU staff on our last day on the unit. Had a great week because of them!
A quick photo the three of us posed for in the reflection of a pillar in one of the many malls within the Metro Manila area.
A photo Melissa Simoy took of us while touring us around the city at night. This was similar to an American outdoor mall but a lot more action going on.
A quick selfie the four of us took before sitting down at a Bar for some drinks, delicious food, and great story sharing filled with a lot of laughter. Thanks again Melissa for showing us around the city!!!!!

Week 2 in the Philippines

Today’s date is Jun 19, 2022, and we landed here a little over two weeks ago. This week we rotated to the ER where I got to observe so many skilled nurses act quickly and think on their feet on how to best treat patients coming in with all types of injuries and illnesses. Rotating to the ER made me think that a more fast-paced unit might be the type of unit I would like to work on when I graduate. Additionally, this made me extremely excited for our critical care rotation next semester. Along with this, I got to perform many hands-on nursing activities such as taking vitals, preparing IV medications, and even using an ECG machine on a real patient which was a first! Besides this, in my time off I got to meet some more locals and also met some family of a student back at Wesleyan who took us to Tagaytay to see some beautiful views. This week has brought many new experiences, some exciting and some challenging.

A quick timered photo we took on one of our breaks where we were trying chicken intestine, kwek kwek, and other local foods.
Our friend Kit was super nice as she offered to drive us to the mall!
We got to go to a Station 1 meeting where we got to “sign in” which felt like an honor
Most of the staff from station oneĀ  and Mia, Aileen, and IĀ  (we areĀ  in the top left corner)
A selfie we took while waiting for a patient to finish an X-ray. Notice the PPE we wore all week while in the ER (KN95, gown, and gloves)
Aileen cooking up some scrambled eggs for dinner at our preceptors house as he invited us over for a night of basketball
Mia and I spent the night playing games and sharing stories with some of Kit’s friends
The Simoi family took us to Tagaytay where we saw some beautiful view
Visited “Puzzle Mansion ” which has the most jigsaw puzzles in the world. All of the puzzles were also completed by one lady which is very impressive as some of them took days to complete.
A photo we got with everyone in the ER on our last day of the rotation.
Me on a horse!!! I had to include this photo hahaha

Week 1 in the Philippines

It is currently June 12th, 2022, and I have been in the Philippines for just a little over a week. I landed on the 4th and since then have already been able to see so much of the Philippines and learn a lot about the culture. I will not lie, the first few days were hard for me to adjust to the culture shock I was experiencing, and a little bit of homesickness as everything was so new to me and I had no sense of familiarity. However, now I am settled in and have gotten a good grasp on what to expect for the next seven weeks. So far I have had an amazing experience at SFCMC thanks to my amazing instructor Sir Jeff and the rest of the hospital staff. I have already learned so much from everyone and already feel more confident as a student nurse just after one week of hands-on experience. We have been able to practice many skills within the hospital such as , hanging IV medications, and administering COVID-19 vaccines. On top of this, I have even learned new skills like performing an ECG and taking a fetal heart rate. Outside of the hospital Mia, Aileen, and I have been able to try so many new foods and see different towns in the Philippines thanks to the hospital staff taking us under their wings and driving us around. I am excited for these upcoming seven weeks because if they are all like this one I know I will have an amazing experience.

Our first meal in the Philippines on our own where I ate pork sisig which was delicious
A photo of me after my first ride on a jeepney!!!
Tita Irma showed us which Jeepney we will need ride to and from work everyday.
A selfie we took in between administering the COVID vaccine. Ft. Sir Jeff in the green scrubs our instructor.
A selfie we took after our first day at SFCMC
A friend we made at SFCMC (Kit) drove us to Taal lake where we took the photo
Sir Jeff teaching me how to eat lomi which was so good
Went to a local resturant/bar Neighborhood with some freinds we made at SFCMC
Sir Jeff teaching me some new techniques to start an IV (Thanks Kit for letting me practice on you :D)
Spent our night playing some card games
Taking on the burger challenge which was intended for 4-6 people but we had no problem finishing
Kit drove us to Monte Maria but sadly it was closed and this is the closest we could get

The Adventure of a lifetime! The Blog of Jake Garcias 8 week stay working at St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center(SFCMC)

Welcome to anotherĀ Blog at Illinois Wesleyan. My name is Jake Garcia and I am an upcoming senior nursing major who will spend the majority of my summer break in the Philippines gaining clinical experience at SFCMC. For a little bit more about myself, this will be my first time in the Philippines, let alone my first time in continent Asia. However, world traveling is not new to me instead, it is a passion of mine as I had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain in the Spring of 2021 and just got home from a three week may term course studying transcultural healthcare in Hawaii.Ā 

When I first came to Wesleyan, I heard about the Freeman Asia opportunity and knew it was something I was extremely interested in. This dream is now becoming a reality! I am now just a short week away from departure and can not be more excited to take on this experience. I plan to upload pictures throughout my time there onto this blog every Sunday. Feel free to come along (virtually) for the ride of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.