Tuesday, February 8, 2011

School Nurse.... me? or not me.. that is the question

Well the good news is im starting to like my new job! I think for the first week i was too overwhelmed and stressed out to enjoy it.  Its so different than anything i had imagined. I guess when i think about it... i don't even know what i had in mind!

The school im working at right now is in Santa Maria so needless to say its mostly hispanic and Mixecos.  Are  you wondering what Mixteco is ? if so... dont be ashamed i had no idea either. I literally had to come home my first week and do some researching so i could better understand the culture and where  a lot of these little kids came from. Basically the Mixtecs are an indigenous group of Mexico. In pre-hispanic times, they lived in the western region of the state of Oaxaca and part of the states of Puebla and Guerrero and they were one of the most important groups of Mesoamerica. There are only two Mixteco translators in the whole district because there is such great differentiation of dialects within the Mixtec culture. Its been estimated that theres at least a dozen different Mixtec languages! and even then i can tell the translators sometimes have a hard time communicating with the parents. Most of the kids speak very little english so its easier for me to communicate with them.  I learned that most of them go through no schooling at all. Not even any home schooling. They don't use clocks and have no concept of time, nor do they use medicine or any kind of treatment. They rent out rooms in houses with other families. I have one family in particular ( a mom and two sons) who rent out a living room in a house. Its sad, but its cheap. This boy in particular is a seizure patient. In the two weeks ive been working he's seized twice.  We've been having problems with medication compliance. Where they come from they think kids who seizure are of the devil. So he's not getting his medication either on time, or at all.  

Long story short, its a lot of different situations like that. As a nurse, my favorite things to do are skills! Ya know... typical catheters, wound changes, cpr.. anything that is fun and exciting.  I really think God is trying to teach me a lesson... not sure what yet..  maybe i need my heart softened ? Or maybe i need to be brought back to the real reason why i wanted to get into nursing ? One thing i know is that im definitely falling in love with these little kids. I HATE getting up so early, but right when i see all of those little mexican faces i get excited!

2 comments:

Emily said...

Hi, I found your blog while I was looking for information on Mixtec communities in Santa Maria. I work among Mixtecs in Washington and I'm studying Western Juxtlahuaca Mixtec.

I was concerned at how you portrayed the Mixtec families that attend school in Santa Maria. My roommate, who is Mixtec, lived in Santa Maria and his younger siblings used to go to school there.

We can assure you that Mixtecs use clocks and are quite good at telling time. I recently stayed with a friend's family in El Jicaral, Coicoyan, Oaxaca and they do, in fact, have clocks. In my own life I've found Mixtecs as a group to be very punctual. Of course, we are all individuals and there are "flaky" Mixtecs just as you would find with any people group.

Mixtecs make use of both herbal and Western medicine. They do have concepts of health, illness, and life cycle that are different from our own. That, coupled with the disrespect they are shown at clinics and the callousness that they perceive from doctors, can lead to what we might call a lack of compliance with medical treatment.

I have too often seen friends and acquaintances misdiagnosed and prescribed medications that made them feel worse - because medical staff couldn't be bothered to take time and really listen to their patients.

Attitudes like the ones in your post - that Mixtecs are ignorant, that they are backwards - contribute to this problem.

I am especially disturbed that you accused a mother of withholding medical treatment from her sick child because, in your opinion, she believed her son to be "of the devil." Mixtecs do not believe persons with epilepsy to be of the devil. That is an awful accusation.

It seems that a problem in the Santa Maria area is that parents feel they aren't heard and youth feel bullied for being Mixtec. I've also heard that Mixtec youth disengage from schools and school culture. What if they read what you wrote? How would they feel about school staff?

There is a lot of great information about Mixtecs and their languages available at www.sil.org/mexico You can also contact the Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities. They have an office in Santa Maria.

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