Recently, Paris Parnell, BS, CNIM, went on a medical mission to serve the Dominican Republic. We spoke with her about her experience and role here at SpecialtyCare.
We know that it’s not enough for an organization to simply state its values, so we are proud to live out our company values, Integrity, Care, Teamwork, and Improvement, each day. One of our company values, Care, means we strive to value others with our actions. We are passionate about making a difference in healthcare and we constantly work to create an environment that supports our teams, personally and professionally. We greatly appreciate the work our people are doing here and abroad!
What is your role with Specialty Care and how long have you been with us?
This September will mark 3 years working as a surgical neurophysiologist with the St. Louis team!
Why did you choose this mission specifically?
This mission chose me actually! Tom Epplin- Zapf, Director of Clinical Quality and Education, reached out to me about two weeks prior to the trip. He asked if I would be interested in joining a team called the Pediatric Orthopedic Project (P.O.P.) to the Dominican Republic! He was quite familiar with P.O.P. and participated in a few of their earlier missions trips. That same night, I researched the P.O.P. and was sold immediately!
Do you have a history of participating in similar mission trips?
This is my first mission trip since starting my career in IONM; however, I participated in a previous mission trip to Uganda in 2018. This group consisted of health care professionals from a physical medicine and rehabilitation private practice I worked for as a medical scribe in college. The physicians taught about the effectiveness and benefits of using manual medicine to a group of physicians, nurses, and therapists. I also had the opportunity to assist a nurse with teaching a group of young women about personal hygiene and sexual education.
What did you to do prepare for this trip?
Nothing too special! Neurophysiologists, who participated in mission trips in the past, gave me some great tips to help prepare for the trip. The biggest piece of advice was to pack all of my equipment in a suitcase as a carry on bag and wrap my scrubs around the equipment to serve as additional padding. Genius, I tell you!
Can you tell us more about your team from the trip?
Yes! The Pediatric Orthopedic Project (P.O.P.) is a non-profit group that travels to the Dominican Republic to perform free orthopedic deformity procedures. Most of the surgeries performed were for mild and severe cases of pediatric scoliosis deformities. In addition to providing these orthopedic medical treatments, P.O.P. also provides educational programs to local Dominican medical experts and makes opportunities to improve hospital conditions. The team was founded by two amazing physicians named Dr. Madelyn and Dr. Enrico Stazzone. Dr. Enrico Stazzone serves as the orthopedic surgeon for the group and Dr. Madyeln Stazzone serves as the executive director. They work together to create this wonderful mission to help serve the community. Additional team members consisted of physicians, nurses, both nursing and medical students, anesthesia assistants, sterile technician, and myself!
What is a moment you will never forget from this mission?
I enjoyed being able to work alongside nurses and physicians postoperatively to witness our patients at the beginning stages in their new lives. Being in this field is so rewarding but, at times, I do wish to have more involvement in patient recovery and rehabilitation. Within 48 hours, these kids were working towards their independence with doing simple tasks such as transporting to and from a hospital bed, standing with a walker, and eventually walking independently. It was such a heartwarming experience!
If you could encourage anyone to take a medical mission trip, what would you say?
GO FOR IT!!! I would highly recommend taking a medical mission trip for anyone who is interested and enjoys traveling! Long days and much manual labor are typically expected during these trips, which can be taxing and draining. Once you take a moment to reflect on your ability to volunteer such a small portion of your time to impact the lives of others, you realize it is WELL worth the exhausting days! Being engulfed in the communities of the country will allow you to witness the hearts filled with joy among the patients, families, and medical staff.
I would also recommend serving on a mission trip to strengthen your own medical skills! Many of the medical experts were forced to adapt to the culture and lifestyle within the medical community of another country, which allowed us all to bring some innovative techniques and ideas back to the hospitals and teams in America.
Interested About Medical Missions? Learn More about the IONM Medical Mission Fund!
The IONM Medical Mission Fund will support IONM clinicians willing to donate their time to travel to help monitor children from economically challenged countries who need related surgery. The fund will support any neurophysiologist who is willing to donate their time to travel to help monitor children from economically challenged countries who need such spine surgery. The fund will cover costs up to $2,500, for airfare and hotel, for each qualified clinician selected for the award. For more information about the fund and application process, click here.