We’ve heard from our volunteers in Phan Rang and are happy to report that the trip has been quite a success so far. Of course, like all of our team trips, it has also been a lesson in flexibility and adaptation.
Working in the field is not always easy. Conditions can present a myriad of unusual challenges unique to developing countries. Resources can be scarce and facilities can be basic. Our teams often find themselves in situations requiring skillful improvisation to ensure our patients still get the highest quality treatment and care possible.
Volunteer PACU nurse, Wendell Alderson, reports on this from the field:
“We had a couple of cases today that were allowed to go home directly from the recovery room. They were both minor procedures where birthmarks were removed. The main mode of transportation over here is moped, so before I could discharge them I asked who would be holding the kid. It’s usually mom, as Dad drives with the kid in the middle. I also made the kids walk around the unit a bit to make sure they were not dizzy before the ride home. Can't say I have ever tested a post-op patient to make sure he or she could ride home on a moped.
Also, today I got word from one of our interpreters that one of our palate patient’s IV was not running and blood was backed up in the tubing. I went up to the ward on the sixth floor to find the IV hanging from the bed frame and not high enough for gravity to run it in. There is only one IV pole on the entire ward, and it was being used by three patients on the other side of the unit. I tied tape around the hanger part of the IV and had to hang it from the light fixture above the bed. It was running fine when I left.
One thing about these missions, you certainly learn to improvise and work with what you have. I have told many nurse friends that if you are a nurse that is not comfortable working out of your comfort zone, this is not a job for you.”
A big thanks to Wendell for sharing his stories and to our hardworking team. Keep up the excellent work!
photo credit: Wendell Alderson