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Saddened to say goodbye

Posted by Thao Nguyen, MD (a third year pediatric resident from Kaiser Permanente Oakland serving a global health elective at Issa Trust Foundation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica).


It did not really hit me that I just finished my one month pediatric rotation in Jamaica until now when I’m packing my suitcases to head back to the States. What an INCREDIBLE month it has been! I think one month is an adequate amount of time to learn about the culture of medicine here in Jamaica and to become comfortable with it to apply to the daily clinic and hospital work.

The one most important things that I learned after working here for a month is FLEXIBILITY. One needs to be flexible and ready to adapt to work in a less than optimal clinical setting, but still be able to provide the best of care.

There are several things in Jamaica that will always be dear in my heart. Jamaicans are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet in your life. People are always greeting you with a smile and passing around the vibe of “no problem” on this island. The food is inarguably delicious, especially the jerk pork at Scotchies (and I’m not even a pork fan). The children here are so adorable in their crisp and colorful uniforms, holding hands and walking to school together (there is something so endearing about this), always politely addressing you as “yes, miss”, “no, miss”. The lush green vegetations of the mountains and the aqua blue of the Caribbean Sea provide the best scenery that I never get bored of while looking out of the window on my daily ride to the hospitals.

I HIGHLY encourage third-year pediatric residents to embark on this awesome journey. I am thankful to the ISSA Trust Foundation and Couples Resort for its sponsorship, to Diane and Stacey who gave me this golden international opportunity, and to Oakland Kaiser Permanente (my residency program) for supporting me with this brand new rotation. I would definitely do this rotation again in a heart beat.

Below is another cutie patient of mine that I won’t forget (permission obtained from mother).

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