Friday, March 16, 2012

Cindy Dowds - Oncology Nursing in Honduras

Ashland University College of Nursing faculty member Cindy Dowds MS, RN, OCN was in Tegucigalpa, Honduras March 4th– 10th, 2012 with Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) in conjunction with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to teach oncology nursing. Her fellow team members were Dr. Barbara Wise from the National Cancer Institute and Dr. Robert Donohue from the University of Colorado. Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere with a high incidence of late-stage cancers. Honduran nurses have limited resources and no formal training in oncology care.

Cindy and Dr. Wise presented 12 bilingual lectures at the 2nd HVO/ASCO/HGSF 2012 Oncology Nursing Conference at the Hotel Plaza San Martin. Medical students served as translators. Topics presented by Cindy were: Principles of Chemotherapy; Safe Handling of Chemotherapy; Chemotherapy Administration; Nausea, Vomiting, & Mucositis; Tumor Lysis Syndrome; and Spinal Cord Compression.
Cindy and Dr. Wise presented nurse leaders from the two major public hospitals in Tegucigalpa with a copy of Casciato’s “Manual of Clinical Oncology” in Spanish, a three-ring binder of chemotherapy administration, patient education, and symptom management guidelines, a three-ring binder of journal articles with instructions for starting a simple journal club, and a pink stethoscope for the outpatient oncology units.

Following the conference, Cindy spent three days working in the hospitals with the oncology nurses and collecting data for HVO. Despite the language barrier, the small oncology team was embraced by the Honduran people and their fellow health care professionals. Cindy believes there is nothing more sustainable than education and she left Honduras feeling blessed and honored to have been a part of this team. She hopes to return to Honduras with HVO in the near future.

Cindy Dowds (middle)