Mobilizing Medical Missions
A few weeks ago, I went to a medical conference all about going abroad and meeting pressing global health care needs. It was something I’d been looking forward to since last year (because I couldn’t go) and because global health is something I’m very interested in. I could go on and on about how inspiring it was to hear from all of these heroes who have gone out and done what I’ve dreamt of doing: building wells, administering vaccines, helping plant and grow farms, building relationships, and understanding the true condition of our world.
But if I could tell you three big lessons I learned from that weekend, it would be this:
- Just say yes.
- The power of relationships, and that the universe WANTS you to succeed.
- Global health isn’t just about health care. It’s about EVERY-DAY basic needs like water, food, stability, and education.
JUST SAY YES
If I could describe the whole conference in one word, it would be: yes. Just say yes. And yes, maybe this is rash, and maybe you have a whole busy life where you are now, and maybe it’s dangerous, and maybe you don’t have the money, and on and on and on…
But it’s always a good time to help others and to serve. No matter what. And this doesn’t necessarily mean quitting your job and buying a ticket to Africa to volunteer as a nurse in a field hospital (although, that does sound quite grand) but it means just HELP people. Volunteer locally, give one day a month of your time helping at the homeless shelter, or at the free clinic for refugees. Just say yes.
THE WORLD LOVES YOU
Sometimes when you work for a big hospital in the largest medical center in the world, and you are just a floor nurse, you can’t help but feel small and insignificant. And I think I’m speaking more for myself than anyone else when I say this – but all the things we do for our patients on a daily basis seem like such a tiny contribution when you focus on the looming global health crisis: When children and women are getting killed off by the thousands by religious extremists, when people are dying because of a preventable disease or due to lack of clean water and food. It’s infuriating and very frustrating. But here’s the thing: the people in your world love you and support you. If you sincerely want to make a change in this world, you will be amazed by the people that encourage you to succeed. Keep those people in your life, because they will be the ones that will always support you through your toughest trials.
HEALTH ISN’T ABOUT MEDICINE
Health isn’t just about medicine and the medical care that health professionals offer. Sure, medicine has its place in health, but there are so many other facets of health that we can practice every day in order to improve our overall well being. Exercise, good nutrition, healthy relationships, clean air, clean water, sleep, education, good hygiene, sunlight, sun protection, safe sex, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on. Now picture this: All of the sudden, you don’t have grocery stores and clean water. Imagine being eternally afraid of getting shot at every time you go outside, and being bombed by religious extremists. Imagine not having the EDUCATION to understand the importance of safe sex and spacing out your pregnancies. Then, imagine not having the most basic of medications like antibiotics and vaccines to combat PREVENTABLE illnesses and diseases. Health isn’t just about medications. Health is impacted by every aspect of life, and unfortunately by the political state of the region in which you live. So, again, health isn’t about medicine. ANYONE can make a positive impact in this world, even if you don’t have a medical or nursing degree. You just need to have the right attitude, and a passion to help others.
Resources: (there are SO many more out there, but these are just a few that I’m looking at right now)
READ THIS!!! (And literally every other book by Atul Gawande)