Des Moines University currently has one St. Lucia rotation at Saint Jude Hospital in Vieux Fort
Saint Jude Hospital (SJH) is an 88 bed general health care facility located in the town of Vieux Fort, on the southern tip of the West Indian Island of Saint Lucia. With a population of 160,000 and a per capita income of $7,400, Saint Lucia is a developing independent nation.
SJH was founded in 1966 by The Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother at the site of a hospital that had been built by the U.S. Army at the end of WWII. Since that time it has served all who come for care regardless of the ability to pay.
Since its founding, SJH has welcomed volunteer physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals, i.e., physical therapists, pharmacists, social workers, laboratory and radiology technicians.
Medical student job description
Students will rotate with members of the medical staff assigned by the medical director or program director/coordinator. The student is under the direct supervision of the medical staff member at all times. In no case will students act in lieu of the sponsoring physician.
- Participation in clinical conferences, ward rounds and discussions are open to the student.
- Students may write in the medical record, but their documentation is not in lieu of the sponsoring physician’s documentation in the medical record. Entries made by the student must be co-signed by the sponsoring physician within 24 hours. Students may not write orders.
- Identification badges and lab coats with appropriate attire should be worn at all times. Medical scrubs can be worn also.
- Students may observe patient-care activities.
- The presence of the student shall not replace medical personnel or licensed practitioners forming part of the normal daily plan of care for patients.
- Instructions and compliance monitoring in surgical scrub and other sterile technique is required for the student to rotate through the operating room.
This is an English-speaking rotation with opportunities for D.P.T., PA, M.P.H. and M.H.A. students (for D.P.M. and D.O. students this rotation is on hold until further notice). Other students must be approved by their faculty, as well as the associate dean of global health and the dean of their college.
It is expected that students will maximize their educational opportunities by fully taking advantage of the learning experiences available. If you are having difficulty finding learning experiences to fulfill 30-40 hours of clinical experience, you are expected to contact Dr. Shah for assistance.
secretary to the medical staff department
758-454-6041 Ext. 171
Dr. Chierry Poyotte
George Lee St. Jour
St. Jude Hospital (switchboard is open 24 hours per day): 758-454-6041
Mailing address for paperwork:
St. Jude Hospital
Attn: Lucilia Simon
PO Box 331
Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
- The orientation checklist must be submitted prior to the start of your orientation. Failure to submit in a timely manner may result in the Hospital’s refusal to grant your rotation.
- A St. Jude confidentiality statement must be completed and mailed to St. Jude Hospital.
- No immunizations required
- Must have current passport
- Book your flight into Vieux Fort airport
- Email Lucilia Simon your flight information after you have made your arrangements
- Dress code: no shorts, halter tops or flip flops while in the hospital. Bring three sets of scrubs to wear, no lab coat is needed.
- For D.O. students, you will attend a medical staff meeting each Wednesday morning. On the last Wednesday of your rotation, you will be asked to give a presentation on a relevant case that you experienced while in St. Jude Hospital.
- D.O. students will have an exit interview with the medical director.
- We recommend that you provide your family with the hospital switchboard contact information
- The hospital can exchange money for you, but credit cards, travelers checks and the U.S. dollar are widely accepted. Make sure your ATM pin # is only four digits otherwise it won’t work outside of the country. ATMs require a fee.
Additional trip information
- George Lee will pick you up at the airport when you arrive. If you have any plane changes, call George on his cell phone to let him know the change in flight information. If George is not there when you arrive, go to the tourist information desk at the airport and have them call him on his cell phone.
- Students will stay at accommodations provided at volunteer quarters located on the hospital compound. The cost for room and board is $150 per week. The best method of payment is travelers check issued in the U.S. for the entire stay. This facility has a common room with a refrigerator, three computers and internet access. Each student gets a room with bed, sink, open closet, desk and chair. The toilet and showers are down the hall. Refrigerators are available in the residence. Nothing is air conditioned but fans are provided.
- To use your cell phone, contact your carrier ahead of time about international calls
- Laundry service is available and the cost is included in your room and board payment.
- Wireless internet is available
- The hospital has 110 volt outlets, but a different cycle. Small appliances (hair dryers/ razors) may not work properly. The rest of the island is on 220.
- If you would like to drive while you are in St. Lucia, you should plan to get an international drivers license while in the U.S. You can contact the nearest triple A (AAA) office for this service. There may be a fee. Transport vans hold 12-15 passengers and offer an inexpensive, efficient way to get around the island.
- Meals are provided at the hospital cafeteria. The meals are lean with bread and peanut butter being staples. Fresh vegetables or fruit are rare. The main meal is served at noon. Water is drinkable but they prefer students obtain their water from the cafeteria where they have boiled it. There is a grocery store about 45-minute walk away, where you can stock up on supplies to augment meals.
- Please contact the DMU global health department if you have a concern or there is an emergency. Dr. Shah’s cell phone number is 515-201-6234.
Saint Lucia packing list
- Comfortable cotton clothing (skirts or dresses for ladies if you’re comfortable in them)
- Shower flip-flops
- Prescription meds
- Batteries for camera, etc
- Beach towel
- Recreational equipment as desired
- Hiking boots or heavy shoes for trekking or mountain climbing
- Water bottle
- Scrubs (2-3 sets)
- Insect repellent
- Small flashlight
- Pens (to give away) and small note pads
- Books to read for fun/studying
For students on a clinical rotation: Stethoscope, otoscope and specula, tongue depressors, stickers to give away to kids in the clinic, Band Aids, gloves and hand sanitizer (to wear yourself), pen lights, reflex hammer, alcohol pads.
Comments and suggestions from students that have rotated in St. Lucia
Some common terms used in the hospital by patients:
- A knock – refers to a patient being hit or bumped by an object; or describes trauma sustained to part of the body
- A gas - bloating sensation and consequent abdominal pain. The pain may also be located on any part of the torso
- Piles - hemorrhoids
- Giddy – lightheaded or dizziness or near-syncope; one needs to find out from the patient what he/she is referring to
- Catch mih breath – shortness of breath
Some commonly encountered patient presentations in the outpatient setting:
- Diabetes (type 2) and diabetic complications
- Skin rashes (tinea versicolor, tinea corporis, allergic dermatitis)
- Colds, flu, coughs
- Ear infections
- Pharyngitis/HEENT complains
- Please ask before taking someone’s photo
- Jeans and shorts are not acceptable in any of the churches.
- Shorts are not allowed while on duty at the hospital
- It is very important to greet people. The greeting after dark is “good night”
- English is the official language, but most St. Lucians communicate with each other in their native Kweole Patois
- St. Lucians have a wonderful lilting West Indian accent and are very soft -spoken. Do not hesitate to ask them if you are unsure of what you have heard. In turn, we can be difficult to understand, particularly for the elderly. A smile and patience will go a long way toward understanding each other.
We encourage you when you have free time to explore the island, make new friends and enjoy the beauty and culture of St. Lucia