Kathmandu, Nepal – Joe Lippi, Associate Director of Medical Education and Outreach
The team has now been in Kathmandu for over one week. It’s funny how quickly a place can feel like home.
Kathmandu is a dusty maze of semi-paved, pothole-filled narrow streets that meander around beautiful pagodas and temples, up hills and over rivers. The air is thick—both with a warm, damp humidity and the smell of burning incense, simmering curry, and steaming "mo-mos" (Nepali dumplings).
Looking out at the horizon you see Kathmandu’s low colorful skyline near and beautiful mountain ranges in the distance that are hidden and revealed over and over as the clouds drift in and out of view. It’s a magnificent place.
The members of this team—Nancy Chee, Bonnie MacEvoy, Anne Dinsmore, Vickie Van Fechtmann, Sandy Dore-Harris and Len Sterling—are pros. Not simply because they all have a history of volunteering with ReSurge and are talented in their own professions, but rather because every morning they are up early and are anxious to get to work.
Every evening they debrief the day—discussing what worked and what didn’t and how to make the next one better. And every day they work relentlessly hard to deliver informative, relevant, and thoughtful lectures and workshops to a room full of nurses and physicians. It’s hard work to educate for hours on end in this context, and it’s even harder when those lectures and workshops are redesigned almost every night to respond to the observed needs of the students and the hospital. But this team does it, and they do it remarkably well.
The majority of the participants in the lectures and workshops are new nurses who graduated and passed their qualifying examinations only very recently. They are 15 sharp, eager young women. The ReSurge team has been working closely with them to augment their skill sets, present materials and topics in novel ways, and to expose them to nursing techniques in the care of patients with burn injuries, in particular—the thematic focus of this trip.
Days when our Nepali colleagues are doing operations, our volunteer nurses and anesthesiologist observe the work, take notes on what systems or practices might be improved, and engage in real time dialogue with the medical team. Nancy, the trip’s occupational therapist, is working side by side with Mohan Dangol, her longtime Nepali counterpart whom she helped train (this is her fifth time working with him).
The two of them do amazing things with simple materials—creating life-changing (and perhaps life-saving) braces, splints and other tools to dramatically improve the healing and restoration of function for the patients with burn injuries. It’s an amazing thing to observe.