Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hungry for Knowledge

Today I taught a seminar on Physiology and Management of Pain to the Rehabilitation Technicians at Hospital Albert Schweitzer. I have been a teacher for this wonderful group of young Haitians during their basic training at HAS several years ago, and for continuing education seminars over the past few years. I could not ask for a better group to teach. There were attentive to the very end of the almost 5 hours we were there, when the body finally tires of sitting in one place. What I most appreciated, though, was their participation. When I posed questions, they ANSWERED and discussed each topic at length. There was no 'dead air' with a question left hanging in the room. They are hungry for knowledge and this is one of the best gifts we can bring them, and the main reason that we continue to send visiting Physical Therapists here. There is a working Physical Therapy Department now at Hospital Albert Schweitzer and foreigners are not needed to treat the patients. We are needed to teach those who don't have constant unlimited access to the internet, seminars, journals and other forms of continuing education that we take for granted. We are so accustomed to the sea of information around us that often we want to be entertained more than taught. This is not the case in Haiti. Now I know that my colleagues are rolling their eyes at the topic today. I am certainly not a pain specialist. However, in Haiti, I have always said that I will do what is needed, so when I was given pain as a topic, that is what I prepared. Fortunately, I had some immediate and very knowledgeable assistance from my friends Julie DeVahl and Ross Querry, both faculty members at the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. I thank them both for sharing their expertise; I could not have done the seminar today without them! So, in a sense, they have been teaching here, too.

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