There are moments that remind us of everything that we are about and what really matters. This morning was one of those moments. One of the unquestionable and urgent needs of Hospital Arco Iris is the training of nursing personnel. The staff/patient ratio is challenging and the auxiliary staffing negligible. In an effort to confront this challenge, the HOPE team proposed the integration of a Certified Nurse Assistant Program to be developed and run at Hospital Arco Iris (HAI). This program, under the initiative of HOPE team nurse, Gwen Ellis, would provide a powerful liaison between the Hospital and Fundacion Arco Iris (FAI). FAI has been in existence for 17 years providing refuge and training for the poorest of children coming from the streets of La Paz. These children find in FAI a safe place to live, food and a home until they reach the age of 18 when they “age-out” of the system, leaving many of them feeling lost and alone once more. Although Arco Iris works hard to offer each of them training and schooling, as well as continual support, the challenges are immense. HOPE’s dream and vision is for a CNA program to merge two very vital needs. It would provide free training to ex-beneficiaries, allowing them employment at HAI at an entry level position while at the same time, providing CNA’s for the hospital to help lighten the workload of the nurses, enabling them to focus on more specialized care. The plan was proposed last week and received with much enthusiasm. Today, we had the opportunity to meet the first set of interested students.
The four students entered our introductory meeting quiet and rather nervous but it didn’t take long to see that nervousness replaced with a look of absolute hope and gratitude. Viviana, a young lady raised in the orphanage that now is a mother herself looked at us with tears and said, “I feel like God has sent you. I want something better for my child but needed a chance.” Rosa, a 19 year old graduating in 2 months and facing the “real world” said, “I always wanted to be a nurse but was afraid of graduating because I didn’t see a future. Thank you for bringing us Hope”. Needless to see, the sincerity, warmth and deep gratitude of each of the students had the HOPE team in tears. Each of their lives, each of their futures can be redirected by offering them an opportunity to receive the training and jobs that they so desperately desire. When our hospital is flooded with personnel like them with hearts full of gratitude and compassion, they will treat their patients with a warmth and care that will flood their souls at a time of desperate need.