NURSE PRACTITIONER EXPERIENCE WORKING IN NEPAL
Sue, our Nurse Practitioner, was fortunate to have been selected as a volunteer on a medical team to travel to Nepal through the organisation Open Heart International. Sue has recently returned from this trip and has provided an overview of this amazing experience….
“As part of the Women’s Health team, we provided humanitarian relief to the marginalised women of Nepal. Many of these women suffer from incontinence, irritation & pain, abscesses and complications impacting future pregnancies. In developing countries, this can lead to social isolation, abuse and abandonment. Approximately 80 procedures, including hysterectomies, repairs and other gynaecological surgeries were carried out over ten days. Our team of 27 included Surgeons, Obstetrician and Gynaecologists, Urologist, Anaesthetists and Nurses.
My role was working as a ward nurse looking after the women and their families. I was able to go into theatre and have a step by step explanation of the surgeries being performed, and even got a sneak peek at delivery in maternity. This opportunity greatly expanded my women’s health knowledge and to be able to give these women an opportunity to return to their families and communities was the most humbling experience.
The women received a bag with shampoo, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste and a warm blanket to take home with them – many everyday commodities we take for granted which many of these women had none, some having never slept in a bed. Many of the women had travelled for days to attend for their surgery.
The conditions at the hospital were very different from here in Australia. There were frequent power outages however this did not stop the fabulous O & G surgeons from operating with one of our theatre nurse using their phone for light until the power was back on. The Nepalese nurses were not only caring and committed nurses grateful for our knowledge and shared experiences, but they were also our translators. All of the Nepalese nurses were women, as men are not allowed to become nurses in Nepal.
My volunteering experience in Nepal was more than just a trip to Nepal; it enabled me to expand my knowledge greatly. It was being part of a team that makes a difference to marginalised women and their families, making new friends and taking home many fabulous memories, and without a doubt, appreciating everyday things that we take for granted.”
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