This year, Hospital Arco Iris (HAI) celebrates its’ tenth year in service to the poor and hurting in La Paz. The hospital is well known and respected in the community for it’s outstanding care. It is staffed by over 100 dedicated nurses. It has been wonderful to work with the Nursing Director, Luz Patina, a woman with a great heart towards her patients and towards her staff. Nursing education is a desperate need. I was able to provide an inservice for the staff addressing “Changing Attitudes About Caring for Patients with HIV”. The class was well received and comments were made about how uncommon and inspiring it is to have nurses providing education to nurses. Continuing education is not available to most nurses and when it is, it is taught by physicians. My initial plan has been to do a comprehensive needs analysis to determine where to focus our efforts. I will be rounding to each of the units in the next three weeks and spending time with the nursing staff. The patient/nurse ratio on some of the units is 23/1, a ratio that is difficult for us to grasp but actually quite common in this country. Once I have been able to actually see the nursing scope of practice, we will come up with a plan to strengthen the nursing practice through education and training. One area of priority will be to work with Nursing leadership to empower them to train and raise up the next level of leadership.
Gwendolyn Ellis, RN, BSN, CNR