I was reflecting recently how blessed we are at The Refuge to have a professional nurse who is compassionate, gentle, competent, and efficient, and who loves helping others. I started wondering just how rare it is to have 24-7 access to quality health care professionals in Honduras, so I looked up some stats. And I hardly ever do this, share (boring) stats, but here it is: There are over 9 million people in Honduras, and only around 7500 nurses in the country, according to Licensiada Norma Perez, a professional nurse and former employee at Mission Lazarus. I looked up the WHO stats and found out that in order for every person in Honduras to access a nursing professional, each nurse would have to be responsible for about 1200 persons all the time. So we are very lucky to have a professional nurse whose full-time responsibility is the well-being of the Refuge residents and staff.
And aside from the obvious stuff like treating scrapes, sore throats, and infections, Idalia is a valuable advocate for the kids during administrative meetings regarding their individual behavioral plans, because she knows each child so well. She is also a teacher and mentor; she plans health lessons and trains our older adolescents who assist in our community clinics. She navigates the government hospitals when necessary, networks with colleagues, and assesses when private care is more appropriate for the patient.
She is a case manager not only for Refuge residents and mission employees, but also for special cases that present in our community clinics. Most recently, she escorted a young 3yo patient and his mom to the U.S. embassy to obtain visas for medical travel. No matter what is asked of her, Idalia attacks the task at hand because she loves nursing patients back to health.
I asked Idalia if she would mind me sharing my thoughts about her and her career. She told me, “It makes me really happy to know that you are pleased with my work — if sharing with others will benefit The Refuge, please do so, and thank you!”