By Jennifer Browning
As part of the partnership with Bernard Mevs Hospital and their local staff, Project Medishare volunteers are not only focused on assisting with providing healthcare, but also in training in the various specialties.
Working with local nurses in the prenatal and neonatal intensive care units is one way medical volunteers are assisting the Bernard Mevs medical staff.
“They have been to nursing school, they already have the basic skills and the background, we are just helping bring them up a level,” Robyn Candell, a volunteer PICU nurse from Victoria, B.C. said. “The nursing staff here is very outgoing, they aren’t just sitting there waiting for us to say something to them. They will talk to us and argue with us if they need to, so that’s been really good. The biggest challenge is the language. “
While there are translators available to assist the nurses to communicate, another language challenge presents itself because all of the donated equipment at the hospital is not in Creole or French. Also, for many of the local nurses, this is the first time they have worked with premature babies.
“The equipment is in English,” Candell said, “so [the local nurses] can’t understand what the buttons mean. They haven’t seen a lot of the IV pumps, and they aren’t used to working with the preemies. We are supposed to work with the local staff on training them about the things to look for in preemies such as doing slow feedings and to teach them how to use the IV pumps so they can administer medicines.”
By the first day, Bazile Marie Uvonne, a Haitian nurse working at Bernard Mevs, said she had already learned so much.
“Before we weren’t used to having a lot of equipment to use,” she said, “and today I started learning how to use a heart monitor and a suction machine, before today, I didn’t know how to use such machines.”
Uvonne continued to say she is appreciative that she has the opportunity to collaborate and learn from other nurses.
“It is great with the knowledge that [Project Medishare’s volunteer nurses] have and what they will bring to us,” Uvonne said. “It will make us better at caring for the children in the neonatal unit and those babies in critical care. We can only benefit from this partnership here.”