The NICU team is off to a wonderful start. A team of 5 neonatal and pediatric respiratory therapists arrived safely yesterday in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Our team is very excited to be serving here as it is the first time that a neonatal pediatric respiratory specific trip has been done. In addition, the hospitals here do not have respiratory therapists. With that in mind, our goal is to help train, educate, and support the needs of NICU nurses and physicians in their daily struggles to care for and manage many neonates with respiratory illness.
Today was our first full day. We hosted a conference at our hotel for several nurses and a few physicians who were able to attend. We had a very good attendance and all the information was well received. These medical professionals have an eagerness and passion for providing the best care they possibly can for the babies they care for and their families. They have an inspiring hunger for knowledge, especially about the respiratory system and caring for neonates in need of respiratory support
The day started off with Kendra Clingerman speaking about the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system, fetal circulation, and the transition a baby makes when it is first born. This was followed by two additional presentations done by Joe Cram on fetal lung development and Jojy George speaking on high flow nasal cannula.
After these three presentations were done, we had a group lunch together. This was an insightful time for many of us respiratory therapists as we were able to engage with various nurses and learn about their lives and daily challenges in their hospital environments. These NICUs are faced with many obstacles in providing respiratory support to neonates. It was stated by a medical student that it is normal for her to need to manually bag a baby for several hours every shift she works because the baby needed a mechanical ventilator and there are none available.
The afternoon session had two more important presentations. The first presentation was done by Arun James with a focus on mechanical ventilation. In this presentation, he described the many controls on a ventilator and different modes of ventilation. The day finished out with a presentation on neonatal resuscitation, pulmonary hygiene, and prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia given by Barry Young. After this there was quality time for all the nurses to practice choosing adequate mask sizes and conduct proper technique for manual ventilation of a neonate.
Tomorrow will be our first day in hospital. We ask for prayer that we will go in with open eyes, minds, and hearts as we work to help make a difference in the facilities we will be at. Thank you for all your support through this journey.