I have reflected on how grateful I was for having the opportunity to travel across the world with the help of One Nurse At A Time. It was an incredible experience. I left the mission feeling motivated and appreciative. America is not perfect but have so much more than other countries.
Our mission was cut a day short as the surgeons flights were affected by the typhoon that hit Japan. It gave me a chance to adjust to the time change and explore Ho Chi Minh for a day.
The first day at Can Tho Children’s Hospital, we met with the hospital leaders (nurse, surgeon and anesthesia). We discussed plans for the following days. We also participated in screening pre operative patients (for the following day).
On the second day, we were able to go to the OR. We were fortunate to witness the first case of parental presence during induction of anesthesia at this facility. We rounded on the surgical ward and ICU. We provided feedback on post operative care. There was particular overuse of antibiotics for cases such as hernia repair. We also provided feedback regarding surgical site care. We noted overuse of dressings and discussed the dressings were not needed for certain cases. We circled back and rounded on the PACU patients. At the end of the day, we provided a powerpoint lecture for the nurses regarding simple dressing care. This was my favorite part. The nurses were very invested and asked great questions. They were quite eager to learn.
The last day, we again rounded on the ward. Our group was quiet large as the nurses, surgeons and medical students participated in rounds. We finished of time of the ward by shadowing the wound care nurse. Her technique was great. Again, we had a lengthy discussion regarding wounds that needed care versus sugical site that did not require dressing. The nurses were open to the ideas we provided. We met withe the hospital leaders and recapped the days. We discussed what types of lectures the nurses want the next mission.
In addition, we are working with IPSAC in how to improve nurse involvement in their missions. Dr. Holterman is open to our ideas. We have also provided feedback to APSNA as we are hoping to better develop the nursing piece of the program. There is a lot of great work to be done. We are working on a proposed schedule for nurses in future missions. This needs assessment was necessary and I hope to be a part of the development for future missions to follow.
It was incredible to connect with the nurses in Vietnam. They were attentive and shared the same compassion in providing the best care for our pediatric surgical patients.
Please extend my gratitude to the donors and the Board Members of One Nurse At A Time. It was an amazing experience.