Volunteer Name: Katie Polese
Program Location: Cusco, Peru
Program Dates: 01/09/2014 – 01/27/2014
Volunteer at: Hospital Regional


My Favorite Memory:
It was working as a team with the other nurses from Cusco at Hospital Regional when the Emergency Department would get very busy.
I was Surprise:
I was surprise that even thought I was aware that the hospital here would be very different; it was still quite a shock to experience it in person.

The most difficult thing I experienced was…
The most difficult and frustrating thing I experienced was taking care of many critical patients without enough or the right medications, medical supplies & equipment that they really needed.
My best received lesson:
My best-received lesson was adapting to the different hospital setting & learning how to utilize the limited resources by training & prioritizing patient care.

Tip for future Volunteers:
Bring Green Scrubs! Specially seafoam/mint green colors. The nurses here only wear these colored uniforms so it will be confusing if you’re not in the right color. Also bring red & blue pens because the charting is done a certain way with these colors. At the beginning of every shift, introduce yourself to the other nurses so that they know who you are & that you are ready to help wherever they need you. Ask the charge Nurses “when” you should work, because different shifts are busier & need more help than others. For example, I started out working in the mornings, until O asked when they needed the most help & the nurses told main the evenings. Since I was working in the Emergency Department, the number of patients varied from then on, I started to come at 7pm & stayed as long as they needed me each night. There was a significant difference at the time of day & they really did need the extra help then. Some nights it would calm down by 11 or 12 so I would leave then. Other nights there would be so many critical patients & not enough nurses so I would stay & help until the next morning. My best advice is to be willing to absorb & adapt to the different hospital environment. The quicker you learn how they do things there & accept that it’s not as clean & pretty as the hospital you’re used to at home, the quicker you can really jump in there & help.

Essential supplies that you should try your hardest to bring include:

-BP Cuffs(s)-There was only 1 for the whole ED
-Pulse Oximeter – Also only one for the whole ED & several patients needed close monitoring so try to bring a small one (US$50) that you can wear around your neck.
-Gloves – As many boxes as possible 3-4
-Hand Sanitizer – enough to last your self the entire time, keep a small one in your pocket at all times.
-Honestly any other supplies.. They need it!!


How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff, both in the US and in country?
US staff was great & organized. Very quick to respond & answer questions.
My coordinator in Cusco was wonderful. She really helped get my settle & was very friendly.
How would you describe your accommodation?
Host home: Wonderful. Very nice welcoming family
At the hospital it was a little disorganized, as there was no set nurse for me to report in to each shift. However, that was fine because I was very proactive &made the effort to get to know the different nurses each shift so we were able to communicate & work together better. Building good relationships with the other nurses is definitely key to adapting quicker & therefore, being able to help more.


Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Absolutely!!. I would actually strongly recommend that any future Cusco nurse volunteers contact me for advice prior to their trip.

A Broader View Volunteer (ABV)  allows every traveler to choose their own program start date. This means you can arrive on any flight, any day of the week. Since ABV program fees are 100% tax deductible* we encourage you to fund raise. ABV offers advice and assistance with flight planning, affordable travel insurance, as well as procuring a visa, if necessary. Our ABV staff is available to any your questions. Contact us by email, through the on-line chat feature on our website or call us toll free at 866-423-3258.


Volunteer Registration Fee – ongoing support from ABV staff, program marketing costs, information pack, administration costs, ABV donation Fund, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.

Volunteer Program Fee – ABV donation fund, airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs. As a US Non-Profit Charity Organization all your fees are tax deductible and you can fundraise from our website to pay for the fees.

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