global

Learning a Foreign Language in a Foreign Land

At our pre-departure Fulbright orientation, we had a stimulating lecture on ‘your identity abroad’. I was fascinated by the conversation that ensued but did not realize that it would apply to me directly. The racial categories South Africa were different than any other country I had experienced before. According to the 2011 Census, South Africans were categorized as ‘Black African’ at 80.2%, ‘White’ at 8.4%, ‘Coloured’ (multiracial) at 8.8%, ‘Indian’ at 2.5%, and ‘Other’ at 0.5%. When people saw me, they quickly categorized me as ‘Coloured’. When they heard me speak, my accent made it was clear that I was a foreigner. And when I finally told them I was Indian, they didn’t believe me. Before last year, I never thought that critically about my ethnicity, my identity, and what it meant to me until it was challenged. It wasn’t until others began to categorize me into groups, that I realized identifying as Indian American woman was essential to who I am and what I stand for. To me, Cape Agulhas, the point at which the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean, isn’t just a location, it is a reflection. “To me, Cape Agulhas, the point at which the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean, isn’t just a location, it is a reflection.”   My decision to take a beginners’ Xhosa class at the University of Cape Town in my...

A Lesson from Research: One Size Does Not Fit All

My time working in and navigating medical spaces within historically complex cities, Cape Town and Baltimore, has enabled me to comprehend diseases within a larger context- one that encompasses, not isolates, social issues. The reality of medicine is that patients do not have medical problems in isolation. The medical problems with which patients present occur in the context of their daily lives that are influenced to varying degrees by social, economic, and psychological factors. In Cape Town, at that time, it was often issues of transportation and water restrictions that determined both access to and the availability of healthcare. “My time working in and navigating medical spaces within historically complex cities has enabled me to comprehend diseases within a larger context- one that encompasses, not isolates, social issues.” I walked into the HIV clinic excited to meet the next batch of patients I would recruit for my study. But as I started to get set up in the usually packed clinic, every seat was empty. I can recall being confused and curious while waiting in the typically congested HIV clinic to see it barren. I looked around trying to find someone who knew where the patients were or if I had missed something. Was it a national holiday I didn’t know about? Is there a workshop for these patients happening somewhere else in the hospital? I waited for an...

Three Ancient Medicinal Practices: A Look Back Through History

Get ready to be skeeved out and generally disgusted. In this article we will take a trip through history to review three different types of ancient medicinal practices. Warning, this article may contain content that can cause an unsettled stomach, (but the small amounts of humor and interesting facts can be an antidote).  Bloodletting Originating in the time of the Romans and Ancient Greeks, bloodletting is the practice of doing exactly what it sounds like, letting out blood to cure the disease.  Ancient physicians like Hippocrates and Galen thought influenced the idea that blood was made of of four basic components, yellow bile, black bile, blood and phlegm.  So the practice ensued that if you had a sore throat, blood; migraines and stomach ache, blood; the plague, yep you can probably guess where I’m going with this.  Basically, any type of illness was thought to be solved through the purifying of one of the substances of the body.  This makes me appreciate history and the development of our society so much more, that I now can have a minor cold and go to the doctor without getting a leech attached to my arm or a knife to the leg. Animal Dung Ointments Another self explanatory name for another disgusting medicinal practice.  Poop, yes poop, used to be CELEBRATED by Egyptian physicians circa 1500 b.c.  It was used for it’s...

How Doctors and Nurses Can Work Together

Believe it or not, maintaining a healthy working relationship is often the most difficult thing for some nurses to accomplish in their career. This is usually because we are trained in nursing school to be emotional and empathic to our patient’s needs. For some, this comes more natural, while others really struggle at this.  When it comes to being professional we sometimes tend to react more emotionally then we should. It is unfortunate but lateral aggression, drama, power trips, and attention seeking personalities plague almost every workplace and especially in the healthcare field. As a nurse and particularly as a travel nurse you will run into these personalities everywhere. So let me share with you a few tips on how to fight this kind of behavior, which in turn can help you maintain a healthy working relationship with fellow nurses and physicians. Don’t Be So Emotional! Let me first start off by saying that nurses are emotional. This is not necessarily a bad thing to say considering we need to be in order to be sensitive to our patient’s needs. But reacting emotionally in tense situations and when receiving negative feedback can be a career ender for any nurse. You need to learn when to be emotional and when not to be. Make sense? It’s a tricky and often difficult skill to learn as a nurse. Let’s go over...

5 Resources to Boost Your AIDS Awareness

Our world is changing and it is important that we stay aware of what is happening. AIDS is not a new topic, but a lot has happened in the past few years regarding awareness thereof. It is said that people believe only a certain demographic can get infected. This is absolutely not true and anyone is at risk. There are some steps you can take to protect yourself, but a lot of people living with AIDS got infected without having a choice. Understanding what it means living with AIDS and how to prevent it is where one needs to start. I tried to find the best website to raise AIDS awareness, but there are actually a lot of good ones. These resources help build awareness and keep us updated with new developments. Luckily, we live in an advanced world where technology and science are changing our lives for the better. People living with AIDS no longer have no hope. There are medications out there to assist them in living a full and happy life. If you would like to educate yourself more on the subject, these resources are of a great help. AIDSHealth.org This is a great place to start when you are trying to learn some facts about AIDS. It is a website created by the University of California and has a lot of information. What is great...

Should I Eat An Efficient or a Healthy Breakfast in the Morning?

“Have a big breakfast.” A phrase I have been hearing from my mother since the day I left for kindergarten.  But it never really fit with my one glass of milk and maybe aPop Tart, lifestyle. I can now say that I have entered the adult world and swapped out the milk for coffee, but the Pop Tart will remain. But I know I may be in the minority with my simplistic, relatively unhealthy breakfast so I want to address how others see breakfast and the differences between healthy and efficient.   Famous celebrities and influential people in society have spoken out on what their breakfast routines are, as covered by an article from Time.com.   For example, Warren Buffett has had the same routine for the past 54 years, only deviating in small amounts. But when he attends the wonderful grease pit that is McDonald’s, one the staples of the United States, the great investor never spends more than $3.17 when he starts his day.  Versus the likes of Beyonce who is said to have Scrambled egg whites, a vegetable smoothie, or some whole grain cereal and milk; a much more complex and possibly healthier breakfast. But which one is more efficient? Warren Buffett never spends more than $3.17 a day; I know I have personally dropped around twenty dollars on breakfast before, trying to make an “efficient” and...

Gender Inequality is Real In This International Medical School

It’s no secret that gender inequality and discrimination exists on a global level. Of course, it is an issue that has made progress over the years; however, the international headlines I see on a weekly or even daily basis regarding the inferior status of women in the professional sphere and everyday life evoke feelings of disbelief, disgust, and dismay. In particular, although it is now legal for Saudi women to drive, sexism continues to be deeply ingrained in their culture. Along the same line, you may have heard about or seen the Wall Street Journal article that was just released on August 2nd about a Japanese medical school meddling in the admission process. Specifically, the board of Tokyo Medical University was accused of lowering exam scores of female applicants to limit the amount of future female doctors. Yes, you read that right. It was reported that school leaders supposedly favored male over female doctors because many women will eventually want to be married and have children. This translates into more doctors on maternity leave; and In light of the current shortage of Japanese doctors, the school decided to turn the tide in society’s favor at the expense of women. To make matters worse, the school has allegedly been involved in this practice since 2011, a year after the number of female matriculates doubled to 40%. Coincidental? Maybe not. According...