The last couple of weeks have been an odd transition, but they have proven that we have established a strong presence in the hospital. Our last two weeks have been “float weeks” – instead of being assigned to a particular department, we have been stationed in the library and available to all hospital staff. These float weeks prove that we our time at NHP is ending. We are not exactly required to wear a long, white coat anymore. We are not greeted by patients and staff in a specific department. When we started our role as KCE ambassadors, we were rooted in a specific department. We had a team of supportive doctors and staff who would take us on rounds and allow us to shadow them, and we saw patients and observed the doctors working and living in their environment. Not being assigned to a specific department feels odd, and is another confirmation that we will be leaving soon.
The thought of leaving makes me a bit sad because I am going to miss so much about NHP. I am going to miss the doctors, the kids, and the atmosphere. Initially, NHP was intimidating and a bit scary. The number of sick children that we saw everyday was daunting and I think that affected me during my first few weeks at NHP. However, NHP also has so much life and learning opportunities. Despite the high mortality rate and the other stressors that the staff endures, they still manage to maintain an atmosphere for kids. NHP taught me that you have to see the bright side in most of the things that you do and that you have to appreciate the good that life gives you. NHP also taught me about the importance connecting with others. I was able to connect with the staff through PEMsoft but after some time, we learned more about each other as individuals. I’m going to miss everyone dearly.
Data collection and registration during the float week is still going strong. During the library’s open hours, we work on the incredible number of tasks that we need to do. The library is not open consistently due to meetings and classes, which means that we sometimes brave the very hot weather outside to find a place to continue working. Our transition to the library happened with little fanfare, but people still know to find us for registration and download support. Survey respondents go here as well. There was an announcement made by Dr. Ngai to inform the entire hospital that the KCE Fellows will be gone at the end of the week and these remaining days would be the last time to register for the software. We planned to have two training sessions for PEMsoft Web and PEMsoft Portable this week. However, the trainings turned into a large registration fair. It seemed like many of the people knew about the software and wanted to be registered quickly. I did a brief demo for some of the attendees. I was expecting to deliver a complete session but I am glad people are still interested in the software.
We finished doing the final exit interviews with all of the department heads and a few of the doctors that we worked with during our time at NHP. The general opinion was that PEMsoft is a useful application in clinical care. The doctors love the information and how quickly one receives it. They love PEMsoft web’s calculator and Resus tools. They like the fact that the software is tailored to the young physician and still has qualities that older and more experienced physicians appreciate. They also offered some suggestions for improvements. Many of the physicians wanted more details in the software. Others wanted the user interface to be similar to Google, where one just types in a phrase and receives exact information on the condition. Speaking with the doctors was incredibly fun and I am happy we had a chance to get their opinion before we left.
I am saddened but slightly excited to be leaving Vietnam. The trip has been incredible and I wish I had more time to spend in the country. I have loved the food, the people, the sights, and the work that we have been doing with NHP. I am truly going to miss the hospital and my position here. However, I also have to say that I am excited to go home. I love the food in Vietnam, and I think that it is very hard to replicate some of the Vietnamese dishes and flavors in the United States. But despite how good everything from chicken to fish has been here, I could not find any place that could reproduce the taste of pizza and Buffalo wings from America, even though I tried very hard and went to many places. I am also happy to be able to see my family. They are unique, but they have supported me through my travels. Another reason I am excited to go home is because my birthday is the following week after I arrive. I have not planned anything yet but I am looking forward to reflecting on my recent travel while spending my birthday at home.
According to the CDC, my upcoming birthday marks the end of my youth. It is time for a fresh start. With this experience as a KCE ambassador, I feel more prepared to pursue my goals. This job has confirmed that I want to become an epidemiologist. I want to research the cause, distribution, and effect of infectious and/or chronic diseases among children and women. I also want to be involved in interventions to reduce or eliminate the rate of disease in these populations. I knew that I wanted to become a researcher but I did not realize how multifaceted health research could be, especially with the addition of technology. I loved observing how our software impacted care. I loved having to keep up with technological trends to learn more about what might make it difficult for some people to use the software, and having a job where it was my responsibility to play with cell phones and tablets. I can honestly say that the future of healthcare service and delivery will depend on technology. The need to have information at your fingertips quickly is imperative in medicine. PEMsoft Portable and PEMsoft Web help to fill that need so effectively. I am honored to have worked for KidsCareEverywhere and watch PEMsoft be accepted at NHP.