Un dia en el hospital!

Hola! Bienvenidos desde chitre, Panama. Today is Thursday June 24th 2016. The Usf staff and students from the college of nursing had the privilege of going to the collado Rios hospital where we spoke to the charge nurse along with other personel about the differences between nursing practice in the United States and Panama. Along with having them answer a plethora of questions we presented with, the students of Usf took a personal tour of the hospital going through many different units such as the Emergency department, orthopedic floor, intensive care unit and briefly got to see the Operation room. It was an amazing experience to see the practice of nursing how it evolves here in Panama from keeping paper charts to medicine-on-wheels, it was truly an amazing experience, the staff welcomed us with open arms and were more than happy to provide us with an amazing day. As the day went on we spent the afternoon partaking in the festivities surrounding the San Juan Bautista Festival, we are so grateful that the wonderful people of Chitre have continuously welcomed us with open arms making our global Heath experience one we will remember.


Muchos saludos,

Jayde y Andrea


Monday, June 27th


We were back in the clinics this morning, and we took a few photos to show you what we have been up to at Centre de Salud de Chitre!

USF Nursing Student Elizabeth Maffett administers medication to a Panamanian resident at the Centre de Salud de Chitre. With the spread of H1N1 in the community, we USF students have administered over 300 immunization shots at this clinic during our visit.


Nursing students Gianna Constantine and Kathie Longwell pose for a picture with pediatrician Joaquin Chen at the Centre de Salud de Chitre. This young boy came in for a physical assessment. Lucky for him we USF students pay close attention in class!


Kailey Taylor administers a vaccine to a 2 month old infant. Her technique was smooth and efficient. Patient safety is a huge priority in nursing and Kailey demonstrated excellent nursing skills.


USF students and faculty get together for a picture with Sally-Beth (center), our clinical instructor while in Panama, at the end of a day full of service to the community. Vaccinations to adults, to adolescents, to infants, physical assessments, and patient education were just a few things we did in the wonderful Centre de Salud de Chitre!


Today, we also had the chance to visit the area of town where the local artisans live and create their pieces. We met up with Professor Daniel, a history professor at the University of Panama. We started our tour with shopping of course, in a central store. In this store, the local artisans bring their pieces and they are sold in this one central location. From there, we went a few streets back to the homes of the artisans. These artists live and work in the same area, and even have a store on what is typically the front porch. A few of the artists let us come in and see them at work on their new pieces of pottery, and let us see their kilns. The kilns are run by coal, and are large enough to hold several large and small pieces at one time. They take up to four hours to get up to temperature.

After visiting a few homes, we went to a “factory” that produces pottery, and here we met a gentleman (below center) who is famous in this area for his pottery. He has taught many of the local artisans the trade that he learned from his father. He has been making pottery since he was 11 years old. We were able to watch him make three pieces in about 20 minutes, and then he let a few of us give it a try. One thing that I found really interesting is that they do not use electric wheels with pedals; they turn the wheel with their foot using a wooden platform.


Clare and Elvi

Hospital Tour

We had an amazing tour of the hospital today in Chitre, Panama. Before the tour began we had an introduction to the hospital with a nurse who was the head of the education department at the hospital. She was very welcoming and informative. She answered so many questions for us about our curiosities in regards to the hospital policies. Personally, the most interesting thing I learned from the nurse today was that a nurse’s shift at the hospital is only 6 hours a day and that shift change happens 4 times a day. I would love to be able to implement a similar work schedule for nurse’s in the United States. The hospital is very large and is also well equipped to handle several patients. I was amazed to see how advanced and modern the hospital is. It was a very educational day and I learned so much.

La feria de salud


Today we attended a free health fair provided for the people of Chitre. We helped the University of Panama students with registration, manual blood pressures, height and weight measurements, influenza vaccinations as well as patient education. Along with these available resources, the patients were able to visit with a doctor and, if needed, were written prescriptions. We were able to present our service learning projects on STI prevention and the Zika Virus. It was interesting to see how receptive the Panamanians were to the education we provided for them! They asked many questions about our topics, and we were able to answer them by providing brochures that we had made (in Spanish).

During our time at the health fair, the ministry of health held an inauguration of the event. It was at this time that they thanked everyone who attended the event and helped make it a success. Dr. Visovsky along with Dr. Palacios- a director at the Ministry of Health and Dr. George- program director for the University of Panama health promotion program spoke words of welcome and the importance of community health prevention programs. Following the speeches, a traditional Panamanian performance of el Diablo representing the San Juan Bautista festival was shown to us. The Panamanian nursing students also sang a song for us with one of their instructors.

Overall, we had an amazing day helping at the health fair with University of Panama students. The kindness and appreciation shown to us by the Panamanians was overwhelming and we could not have imagined a better experience!


Alexa P., Gianna C.






We have safely arrived in Chitre and it’s the first day of clinicals! The bus picked us up at 07:45am and we headed over to the University of Panama Azuero to be welcomed by the Minister of Public Health. Dr. Collado was extremely generous to offer assistance in any means necessary for us to be able to experience the villages. We then split off to our clinical sites Chitre, Llano Bonito, and La Arena health centers. At these clinics we assisted with vaccination, pediatric evaluation, and pap smears. It was amazing to see the connection between the nurses and their patients. The nurses know their patients on a much more personable level compared to in the states; however, the differences in our clinical practice were quite surprising considering different injection techniques and available supplies. We did a windshield survey, where we went to different neighborhoods and observed our surroundings. There were a variety of things that caught our eye. For one, we noticed that there was a lot of trash in the street, as well as no sidewalks. The drivers were reckless and we thought about how dangerous it could be. We also found out there wasn’t an urgent health clinic nearby which would make it difficult for people to receive the immediate care they need in emergent situations. Most of the houses in the area were very open and did not have windows or doors. This made us think about bloodborne infections that could arise from this and make this population more at risk for acquiring Zika. On the way back from our trip, we ran into one of the nurses from our health clinic and that made us realize how small the town really is. We also discovered that the neighborhood had many small markets making food accessible. Most local businesses are family owned and passed down from generation to generation. Most importantly, these first two days the Panamanians in Chitre have been so welcoming and have made us feel at home.


Nicole, Melissa, and Maria

Our First Days in Panama!

Hola todos! We arrived in Panama Saturday morning and had an incredible time in Panama City! The flight went really well and I actually managed to sleep the entire three hours except for waking up for the in flight meal. 🙂 Thankfully we went through the airport smoothly and were able to drive through the city to get to our hotel for the evening. I didn’t expect the city to have as many high rises as it did! We were all on the edges of our seats looking at the advertisements, billboards, shops, and people as we drove. Most everyone got checked into their rooms (we had a few that had to wait for their rooms to be ready) and then we got on the bus with our tour guide Manuel to learn more about the historic city.

The old city of panama was an amazing experience! The old abandoned buildings of Panama City have been transformed into new restored apartments and homes while maintaining the integrity of the old architecture. Our tour guide was knowledgeable about the history and significance of Panama City. The churches in Panama City are very sacred and valued. There are many shops along the way while walking through Panama City. The people of Panama sell their beautiful, unique handmade crafts throughout the streets. Overall, the old city of Panama was an exceptional, memorizing experience and USF College of Nursing is very lucky to have experienced the culture.

Today was our second day in Panama. We started the day with breakfast at the hotel in Panama City. The fruit here is muy delicioso! Then we went on a tour of the Panama Canal. We learned about the history of the canal and how it impacted the Panamanian culture. The canal has connected the world since 1914 by providing a faster, shorter, and cheaper trade route. It also brought a number of jobs and a diverse group of people to Panama. After our tour we enjoyed lunch at the hotel, and packed the bus for our journey to Chitré. We are all excited to explore the city and begin our clinicals tomorrow!

Adiós Panama City,

Gabby L., Annie R., and  Kailey T.