Haiti Has Reminded Me of the Power of Touch

 I have been hard-wired as a nursing student to glove up and scrub up every time I dare set foot into a patient’s room that I forgot how much power there was in human touch free of latex and hand sanitizer.

Our goal as a clinic is to serve as many people as we can but our team has emphasized the importance of taking time to make human connections through touch. Although there is a language barrier nothing speaks louder than a compassionate squeeze of the hand or guided arm around the shoulder.  At this point you’re probably thinking , “well, aren’t you treating sick people with gross diseases and skin lesions?”  My reply for you would be, “yes, we come in contact with our fair share of lesions, pus filled wounds, dirt, bodily fluids, and snot, but this is not a reason to put caution tape up and step away”. It is for these reasons that we reach out and reassure patients that they are worth being close to and cared for. They are simply worth being loved.

Touch does more than show presence — it opens up doorways of trust, compassion, and hope. For the Haitian people, FOTCOH is not only their primary source of health care but also a place where they can come and feel cared for on a deeper level. They are met with compassion, smiles, warmth, love, and grace despite who they are or what they look like. In the states I had lost the ability to recognize the importance of human touch, but Haiti has reminded me of the power of touch and for this I am grateful.

-Anika Bousema