Here is Margarets story:
Nepal is a developing country located in South Asia and has a population of 27 million. It struggles with high levels of poverty. Despite this the people are among the friendliest on earth. They are welcoming and warm, their exchanges with foreign help are genuine and their smiles are heart felt. Last week I got the opportunity to visit Nepal as a volunteer and below is a summary of this rewarding experience.
Our main team consisted of 5 experienced Emergency Nurses, an 'In-county' Nurse co-coordinator, Lucy, from a Not for Profit Association called 'Nurse Teach Reach' and an Emergency Physician. This association conducts humanitarian work in emergency, intensive care and palliative care nursing in Nepal. The nurses had extensive experience in Australian emergency departments as well as delivering nursing education. The emergency physician, Dr Brian O’Connell had worked in Nepal for 3 months in 2012 with his wife Ruth and his vision was to not only train doctors but also nurses as specialists.
1. 3rd Nepal Emergency Medicine International Conference 2015
The team was invited to participate in the week long activities planned for the 3rd Nepal Emergency Medicine International Conference 2015 which included the following:
- Key note speech at the inaugural Emergency Nursing Conference titled ‘Importance and Development in Nepal’
- Facilitation of a day workshop on emergency documentation
- Presentations at the Emergency Medicine Conference on Emergency Nursing in Australia
2. Emergency Department visits in Kathmandu
We received formal invites to visit emergency departments within Kathmandu. Visiting these emergency departments orientated us to emergency nursing in Nepal, allowed us to meet with our local contacts to discuss the potential for an ongoing connection for work and to conduct formal education sessions. We also video recorded simulated teaching sessions on Emergency Nursing Assessment and Basic Life Support.
The emergency departments are very resource poor. Patients need to pay for their own medications, investigations and treatments. They need to rely on their families to provide the majority of their care. There are no sheets on the beds, no running water or shower facilities. People that attend hospital generally come from very poor backgrounds
Our team had the great honour of meeting with and sharing afternoon tea with key nursing figures in Nepal. During this meeting we discussed a national framework for emergency nurse training as part of the Ministry of Health strategy and identified ways to train and develop emergency nurses over the long-term. It was agreed to conduct a needs assessment which would inform the development of a national curriculum. This program would be piloted at one of the University hospitals. Ongoing support was discussed including exploring help from volunteer agencies such as Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), an Australian Government initiative.
I am very grateful for this opportunity to pursue my interest in international nursing by being involved in this Emergency nursing initiative along side 'Nurse Teach Reach', the pilot emergency team and ISTIH (The International Skills and Training Institute in Health). I love my job as an emergency nurse and this opportunity to combine my career with my love for cultural exploration has been very rewarding. Of course it was not all work. I got to do a bunch of really neat and exciting stuff, including a close encounter with a monkey.
- Dr Chris Curry, Emergency Physician, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA
- The International Skills and Training Institute in Health (ISTIH)
- Ms Alecia Daly, Clinical Manager, Westmead Hospital
- Ms Jane Montgomery, Project Officer, Agency of Clinical innovation
- Dr Naren Gunja (for his recommendation)
For further information on Emergency Nursing in Nepal contact Ms Lucy Rowe, Director, Nurse Teach Reach on www.nurseteachreach.org