BY KIM SMITH
I was never in love with nursing. If I’m completely honest, it was a profession that I was almost guided into. My neighbors were nurses, and my mom told me it was a degree that could become anything I wanted it to be. An added bonus was that they made decent money. That was my reasoning for going into nursing. All of those reasons changed the moment I stepped in Virginia. My trip to Guatemala made me find my passion for nursing.
The months of meetings before our trip was meant to prepare us for what we would experience during our mission. Nothing could have prepared me for the emotional roller coaster that the week held for me. Guatemala is the most culturally rich nation I have ever traveled to, and its people are the thread that holds it all together. The people of Guatemala were grateful, kind, and beyond appreciative of everything we had to offer. There were times where I felt that I was failing them, that there was more I wish I could have done. For the community of Virginia, we were doing more than we thought. We were present. We cared. That was more than enough to them.
The one experience that stood out to me most was on the second day of our clinic. I was having a lot of trouble at that point. It was midway through our trip and midway through our clinic days. It was hot and muggy, and I was physically and emotionally exhausted. One of our last patients was a brand new mother with her child strapped to her back sleeping. She wanted to be seen but didn’t know what she would do with her daughter while she was in the exam room. I offered to hold the little girl while her mother was being seen. The look on that mother’s face will stay with my forever. It was full of thankfulness and hope. Holding that little girl, and taking those minutes to reflect gave me a chance to appreciate all that we were doing instead of focusing on what we couldn’t do. We were bringing hope and help to a village who felt that the medical community was beyond their reach.
I give credit to this mission for helping me to find my passion for nursing. The real credit should go to the community of Virginia. Without their love and appreciation and allowing us to come into their lives and home I would have never realized how much I loved nursing; how much I loved helping others. My trip definitely changed my entire life for the better, and I hope and pray for the opportunity to continue working with MSPP and the community of Virginia.