Meet The Nurses That Journey The World To Save Lives

By Elaine Alston

Why somebody would journey with out pay to care for an additional human life that they didn’t know has all the time been intriguing to me. These nurses work in deplorable circumstances, poor climate climates, and ill-infested populations.  What’s the attraction of this rigorous work surroundings that others would view as a demise lure? 

Since 2017, I’ve been documenting nurses who’ve achieved these medical mission journeys.  

A day within the lifetime of a medical mission

To grasp what medical mission nursing entails, we have to have a look at a day within the lifetime of a medical mission nurse.  

After a 16+ hour nonstop flight and eight,250 miles later, Dina, a volunteer RN, arrives in Johannesburg, South Africa. Going via customs, baggage declare and loading up within the van was easy crusing. 

Sights of individuals with baskets on their head, tons of small vehicles, and swarms of individuals promoting varied gadgets on avenue corners are what Dina anticipated. She didn’t anticipate to see the intricately designed houses and buildings. The delicate toll programs and the variety of luxurious vehicles weren’t what she had envisioned a so-called third-world nation would seem like. 

Nonetheless, she stored transferring, excessive off nervousness and the anticipation of saving the world

Upon arrival to a gated neighborhood, she was stunned she would not be staying in a hut or an indigenous neighborhood. The 24-hour safety guards that stood strong, with appears to be like that would kill, made her really feel protected in an unknown space. 

A decade in the past, a mission journey might need taken her to an indigenous society. Teammates would primarily be made up of retirees, most of them religiously affiliated. At the moment, medical mission nurses would work to the bone, go residence and examine off it off their bucket checklist. 

We have now modified the tradition of medical missions. Attracting extra working-class nurses who’re energetic within the discipline permits one to deliver again experiences which can be utilized to their nursing observe.  

Getting acquainted with the medical mission workforce

When Dina and the others walked into their dwelling quarters, it wasn’t the everyday hostel filled with 15 workforce members in bunk beds. Because the four of them unpacked and obtained settled in, they had been prepared for the primary official “meet and greet” of the mission workforce. Going over the agenda, schedules and initiatives had been the principle precedence. 

The day by day schedule consisted of waking up at 5:30 am (queue noises of birds that appeared like Jurassic Park was simply exterior the door). Nurses would then depart for work by 6:45 am. Packed like sardines, the journey was 30-45-minutes to the clinic.  

Nurses would then begin a 7-hour shift the place they might see upwards of 100 sufferers to offer care and companies comparable to: 

  • HIV screening
  • TB screening
  • Triage
  • ER
  • Pre and post-natal care
  • Girls’s well being and household planning
  • Psychological well being assessments
  • Training
  • Cellular clinic to rural areas
  • Lab work

Lastly, a 30-minute debriefing session would sign the top of the day, adopted by one other 30-45 minute “sardine can” journey again to the lodge.  

Because the workforce displays on their first day, tears of disappointment overwhelm Kattie D., RN. “I saw a woman who was severely sick, but she allowed the elder women behind her to go first, out of respect for her age. Everyone is so considerate, and the level of respect is far greater than I have ever seen.” 

Joyce B., RN shared, “I’m so impressed with the way the comprehensive healthcare system works here. Everything is streamlined and so organized. Although they don’t use a computer system for documentation, they don’t skip a beat.” And as Tiffany G., RN recalled her day, “The nurses are looked in higher regard, and the patients show more respect for the nurse.” 

Persevering with to Day 2

With eyes midway opened, the workforce struggles however presses on. The ER is packed! With three beds, a few couches and chairs to make use of, Nurse Millie should decide the severity of every affected person and place them accordingly. With just one employees nurse within the ER, she directs us to get the job achieved in an orderly and environment friendly method.  

We ask Nurse Millie: how would you might have survived if we weren’t there? Sister Mille says, in her smooth toned voice, “I would have done the best that I can. Without funding, the clinic cannot afford to pay professional nurses. We rely on the hands of volunteers to help.” 

We finish our day driving again in full silence. We had been exhausted, over stimulated and overwhelmed with emotion. Surprisingly, it didn’t change our eagerness to do all of it once more the following day. 

Reflecting on volunteering overseas 

The success I obtained on this nursing enrichment program is strictly what I wanted. I began to surprise what I used to be lacking at residence in my nursing career. Why don’t I really feel the identical stand up and go as I do right here? Is it as a result of we should be conscientious of customer support, so our hospital receives 5-star scores? I perceive compliance however I simply need them to allow us to do what we do greatest! 

My mission work in South Africa has made me rethink my method to nursing.  I wish to be the perfect nurse I may be.  Though I could not agree with all of the politics of our healthcare programs within the US, it mustn’t have an effect on my nursing care. “You see how little someone else may have yet they’ve giving quality care and you may have more, and you ask yourself, what am I complaining about?  I better give quality care to my patient.” Deborah Ok. RN

One of many primary questions I ask the nurses I interview is, “What is one of the biggest differences they see in South Africa vs the US?” Probably the most profound reply so far has been, “South African nurses don’t allow politics to get in the way of how they care for their patients. Quality care stays precedent over everything, and they do their job as if their life depended on it.” Nameless.  

As I interview, Kimberley J., RN, she says that volunteering overseas has been a need of hers for so long as she may bear in mind. “Images of being in a desolate area, with this earthy orange colored dirt and helping someone who really needs my help, was the driving force.” 

Nurses have an instinctive altruistic being instilled in our soul. Our nature fuels our need to assist ones in want, particularly if we categorize them as weak. In case you noticed a baby about to expire into oncoming visitors, instinctively, you’ll run after that baby to avoid wasting them. This instinctive attribute is stronger in some and fewer in others.  

In contrast to conventional mission journeys, medical missions have the added side of a healthcare part. Whether or not catastrophe reduction or a centered pushed undertaking, a medical skilled can infuse each to create a well-balanced humanitarian expertise. “I feel like my work in 3rd world countries is so much more appreciated. It’s not that I want to be patted on the back for every procedure that I do, because I did choose this career path. It’s because of the love I have for this profession, makes me yearn for patients to feel the same but in gratitude.” Vanessa H., RN.   

As I believe again on how Nurse Millie carried out herself within the hardest circumstances with compassion and the utmost care and respect for her job and her sufferers. In essence, I really feel so free in a spot that has nothing however happiness and gratitude. Once you love what you do and do it with freedom, that’s pure bliss. 

That’s the energy of giving again.    


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