Although I am never consistent with the amount of blogging that I do, or even jump on the computer to write out the blog forming in my head, today I am determined to write one and post it!
Many things have happened in the hospital here on the M/V Africa Mercy in the last couple of months, but coming back after a holiday, I really felt like I needed a boost in my passion. So I prayed this week for a fresh love for the job that I work in. And two days later my prayer was answered!
I don’t think I can fully explain the refreshing poured out on me, or how exactly my prayer was answered, but I will try.
Usually my job at work is Charge Nurse, helping the other nurses with any questions, liaising with Drs and anaesthetists, organising the day volunteers that translate for us and keeping up on the paperwork needed to help run the ward. But instead of doing these things on Thursday morning I was sent to our maxilla facial ward to work as a ward nurse looking after 3 paediatric patients. So, if you know me, my love for children and hands-on nursing, you might already be able to understand how my heart began to sing. These gorgeous, 4 and 5 year olds had all had their cleft lips repaired. They needed a bit of tender loving and I felt like I could give them every bit of compassion in my heart! And a cuddle from them at the end of the shift just cemented in my heart, my deep love for these children- who are actually often left to die because of the common belief that cleft lips are a sign of the devil.
The second thing that rose my spirits was a little exercise that involved hearing from a few of the nurses what their favourite thing was about working in the hospital here and what was the biggest difference in this hospital compared to the one at home. Let me enlighten you :)
Some of the favourite things about working in our hospital here:
- Being able to do free surgeries for these people that so desperately need help and couldn’t otherwise afford it.
- Learning about the African culture from our patients, the patient caregivers and translators.
- Having the freedom to worship and pray with fellow nurses and with our patients during our day at work.
- Playing with the children, cuddling babies and doing crafts that even the old men enjoy doing and learning.
- Watching the interactions between patients and caregivers, even seeing people not even knowing each other before helping each other out and caring for each other. The African culture is so community orientated and we can really learn from them!
- Our patients are joyful in the midst of bad circumstances, pain and suffering, never taking out frustrations on the nursing staff.
- The Doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff are one big team, here to lift each other up and work together (which doesn’t mean disagreements never happen, but we try our best!).
- When you cannot speak a patient’s language and they can’t speak yours, you can still share a greeting through a smile.
Doesn’t that just make you happy?!
Have you been in a hospital lately? Hopefully not as a patient, but to visit someone perhaps? Well see if you understand the biggest difference for us working in the M/V Africa Mercy Hospital:
- We hold our bedside curtains up with magnets on the ceiling.
- Our patient’s caregivers sleep on the floor under the bed.
- Our hospital is floating on the water and we feel it swaying and moving underneath of us.
- We use translators to speak to our patients most of the time.
- We are able to pray with our patients and hold church in the ward every Sunday and devotions every morning!
- We have men, women and children all mixed together in the one ward.
- Our nurses come from all over the world, often having English is a second language.
- We work in a tiny space with many staff, patients, caregivers, translators and blocks and toys all over the floor!
- My small patients will often ride part of the day on my back as I work
- I play games and blow bubbles regularly as part of my work. (Sometimes even riding the children’s tricycle outside with patient’s sitting in the back seat.)
- My patients eat rice for lunch and dinner every day (usually along with a meat or sauce of some sort).
- My patients can sleep through the drums being played and they don’t complain.
- If we run out of a particular medication or supply, we change to use something else, because we just don’t have any left and there’s no other way to get it.
- I usually leave work at the end of the shift feeling happy and satisfied that I was able to be part of someone’s life to make it just a little better.