Monthly Archives: August 2014

Kazakhstan Blog Post #6

Drive Open Camp


This week was the final week of the Drive summer season. It was a true finisher – 6 days, 9AM-6PM every day, 70+ kids. We were already on fumes coming in, but we had to give a final push. This was our opportunity to coach some new kids and make a lasting impression on them. It was also the camp nearly 75% of them had been waiting for all year long (based on a hand-raising survey conducted on the first day of camp)!

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We created four “leagues” – NBA, Euroleague (which Chris was commissioner of), NCAA, and National League. The ages ranged from 10 – 20 years old and for most of the week, we utilized not only the main gym, but a tennis court turned basketball facility, and a small gym barely the size of one half court. We also acquired four other coaches – two American brothers and two local guys who are the upcoming faces of Kazakhstan basketball. Without these crucial additions, I don’t think we would have survived!

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Each day had roughly the same feel, with stations in the morning, a long lunch, and game time in the afternoon. Throughout the week, we tried to instill our core values as we did in the Girls’ Camp – team, integrity, discipline, responsibility, sacrifice and love. The difference this week was each day one league would have to do a skit to represent the “value of the day.” Intriguing was not only the performances, but more so the way in which each league interacted with each other while in the process of putting the skit together. About 85% of them spoke Russian, while some of the American kids that attended camp were only able to speak English. While some of the groups formed their cliques early on in the week, by the time it came to doing their skit, and eventually by the last day, the cliques were unrecognizable and new friends had been made.






By far one of the best days of the camp was “D-Day”. A scare tactic perhaps, yet pretty brutally hard, we spent the morning doing stations completely dedicated to defensive movements. The coaches prepped by applying eye black, wearing bandanas and dribble goggles, and getting their scare faces ready (think Monster’s Inc.). We did our best to put on a show, and when it was time to destroy the kids mentally and physically, we were ready. Tuck Jumps, line hops, continuous lunges, d-slides, ladder drills, stairs, and more. By the end, some were gassed but others were fired up for more. The coolest part was that no one gave up and more often than not, kids were encouraging each other to keep pushing through until the end.

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Coaches with their D Day attire and mean mugs on

Coaches with their D Day attire and mean mugs on

By the last day, part of me was completely spent and simply grateful we had made it through, while the rest of me was feeling a bit saddened that this was the end of something very special. The kids, like the girls’ camp, had had a blast and wanted to take pictures with us and become Facebook friends. I can’t explain how it feels to have been apart of these kids’ lives.


Drive Coaches




On the second to last day of camp, Chris was working out in the gym, and while doing box jumps onto the stage…fell…and got hurt…cut hit shin…to the bone…resulted in 7 stitches from IMC. He got to meet all the lovely people I worked with last week! What a trooper.


Chris getting stitches at IMC

Kazakhstan Blog Post # 5

This week I had an absolutely awesome opportunity (say that 10 times fast) to visit the International Medical Clinic (IMC) in Almaty. Through the wonderful connections both Chris and I have created in Kazakhstan, I was able to get in contact with a physician who works at IMC, along with his wife and three other providers, to get a chance to see how things work at the clinic.


The clinic is run by a group of family physicians, along side several nurses, whose goal is to provide up to date, western standard medical care. All of the physicians speak English and have had some western medical training. They emphasize preventative care for all ages, especially families and they are located right in the city.

A frustration that  Dr. Sasha conveyed to me was the training of nursing in Kazakhstan. He explained that they have equal years of education compared to American nurses; however, they lack clinic experience. Even in basic nursing skills. For example, at Saint Joe’s we begin clinic hours at the beginning of our second year of school and this was a huge focus of our education. Patient contact and the emphasis on how important it was to get out of the classroom and into patient care settings. This is unfortunately not the norm everywhere in world. He expressed his desires to have his nurses get more training, especially from western medical professionals. From this conversation, I was able to set up a time to return to the clinic a few days later.

I spent an entire afternoon working with two IMC nurses and their fabulous receptionist. An area of growth for them is blood draw and IV placement. I was able to work with them on:

-Ideal placement for IV placement and blood draws

– IV placement techniques/blood draw techniques

– IV fluids and calculating drip rates by hand (no IV pumps here! My fellow SJC nurses can appreciate this…I actually had to use this seemingly useless skill we had countless tests on!)

-Basic IV site care and how to remove them safely



IV supplies

I will say the hardest part about placing the IVs was the supplies. Some were made in China, others in Germany, and others in the United States. We really had to pay attention to the packaging and make sure we were using the correct needles. This was true for all of the supplies we used. This gave me a great perspective on medical supplies. In the states, we take for granted that we will always have the supplies we need to do our jobs and take care of people. This isn’t the case everywhere.


One of the exam rooms at IMC

Because it is my passion, I also did some teaching on EKGs and correct placement on the body. The receptionist was our main guinea pig for this stuff but more amazingly, EVERY doctor let us use BOTH of their arms to actually place IVs in their arms. You could tell that they were really invested in their nurses learning these tasks and that they really respected the nursing role as well. It was just awesome to see. It was also very humbling for me to come across the world with my focus being mostly on basketball and to be surprised by the opportunity to use my love of taking care of others and of nursing in an unexpected place.

For those of you who don’t know, I am also currently in grad school, working towards becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. So, having the ability to see the inter-workings of a doctor’s office outside the U.S. was just an awesome experience. I took away just as much and learned just as much from this one afternoon as the great people at IMC did.

Here is their website for anyone who is interested!

More to come from Chris and I soon!