Jennifer Tucker, RN, MSN, FNP-BC, has been named the 2011 MinuteClinic Paragon Award winner by CVS Caremark. She will attend the CVS national meeting in Washington, D.C., to receive her award.
Each year, CVS Caremark recognizes the companys colleagues with the CVS Caremark Paragon Award, the highest honor a colleague can achieve within the company. It is reserved for individuals who make remarkable contributions on the job or in their communities.
Tucker lives in Medina, Ohio, and works in a CVS MinuteClinic in Strongsville. She also is a scholarship recipient through One Nurse At A Time a nurse-founded nonprofit organization that helps nurses volunteer in humanitarian nursing.
She will begin her fifth year in Guatemala this year, volunteering to serve people without access to healthcare. Tucker and a team of about 50 NPs, physicians and other healthcare staff use their vacation time to help people with simple and complex needs. Tucker also works Monday evenings at a homeless shelter with other healthcare volunteers to help people in need. She recently had this to say about her medical mission work in Guatemala:
I have been to San Raymundo, Guatemala, three times in the past two years. Ill be returning in October for my fourth trip. We run a five-day medical clinic in rural Guatemala. During our time in the clinic, which is run by a team of volunteers from across the country, we will see an average of 600 patients and will perform about 40 to 55 surgical procedures. The group that I travel with, Refuge International, also provides worming medication and vitamins for an entire family, and we can often provide up to three months worth of medications for chronic medical conditions. We can see just about anything from pediatrics to geriatrics and are able to do a lot of pap smears, which are sent to Guatemala City for analysis.
Every trip Ive taken is different. Ive made amazing friends through these trips and look forward to seeing returning members of the medical team.
My most memorable patient of these trips was from my most recent venture. A 55-year-old man and his wife came to see me. He was obviously ill, jaundiced with scleral yellowing, as well as notable ascites and significant peripheral edema. It was obvious that he was in liver failure. As I began to talk with the wife, she gave me copies of some ultrasounds that were done recently. (In Guatemala, you can get medical testing, if you have the money. The family had pulled together money to do so). He had chronic hepatitis, with a liver span of about 6 inches below the costal margin. Short of a liver transplant, there was nothing we could do but help him to have a comfortable end to his life. These conversations are difficult.Tucker and local woman
After about an hour of conversation, bringing in many other family members, praying over our patient, crying and hugging, they left with a few medications that would make him comfortable.
It amazes me that I can tell people such horrible news, and they still hug, kiss and bless me as they are leaving. I guess in any language, honesty and caring translate well. These experiences make me rely on my basic physical assessment skills; we have no X-rays and only rudimentary labs available. They make me think outside the box and allow me to find solutions for their problems. I have learned so very much on these trips, from my translators, my friends and my colleagues. It is a hard week, 12-hour days caring for patients in the clinic and helping in post-op area, but I always come back renewed. Its so very rewarding to be able to just treat people, love what Im doing and have grateful, amazing patients.