A lot of people who know me will tell you that I’m a bit of a nerd. I love learning! In fact, I’m so nuts about learning this is my first year since high school that I have NOT been doing some sort of tertiary study!
Over time I have also discovered that I love to teach. I really enjoy the challenge of helping someone to really 'get' a subject by not just knowing it well enough to explain it, but being able to adapt the information to suit the learning style of the individual.
Put those two things together - a love of learning and teaching - and I’m sure you can understand why I am really excited about the latest developments happening in Potter’s Village and in the town of Kisoro!
Part of my challenge while working here in Uganda has been to look at how I can be the most help possible here. Yes I’m a help as a nurse but I wanted to help in a more lasting way and decided to do this through… yup, you guessed it, education!
The last few months I have started slowly doing a range of training sessions with the staff, writing some guidelines and protocols and discussing what they feel their professional development needs are. These training sessions range from group discussions to scenarios (yes I have played a dramatic mother and an anaphylactic patient!). Some of what I have been developing are just aids to support the staff, such as a resuscitation flow diagram designed to fit the context and an anaphylaxis response chart. Needless to say we have had a lot of laughs doing this and the response so far has been great.
The last few weeks I have taken the next big challenge and started to design and write a self-directed learning programme to train staff in neonatal nursing. I am hoping that by the time I leave I will have completed a full set of 3 information booklets and accompanying workbooks ranging from basic to advanced neonatal care, the idea being that even without a specialist nurse available to them, the staff still have access to the information and a way to train and advance their skills and knowledge base. The draft for the first set is complete so far!
Finally, the local government hospital, Kisoro Hospital, has just received equipment to open their own Special Care Nursery. This was something we were both excited and nervous about. Nervous because no one at the hospital has any training or experience in neonatal care (doctors included!) and excited because if the nursery is a success it could do huge things for infant mortality and morbidity rates in the region. Sister Jovia (our senior Ugandan nurse) and myself went down to the unit to have a look today and help them set up their incubators. What followed was a two hours question and answer training session on basic neonatal care, how to run a nursery and how to work and maintain their equipment.
Most exciting of all is that between us and the staff at Kisoro hospital the agreement has been made to build an education relationship between their unit and ours where we will visit about once a week to do training with their staff and their staff will visit us to get some hands on experience. I’m really excited for what this could mean for the development of neonatal care in Kisoro in the coming future and feel excited to be a part of it.
I have always been told that God uses not just our gifts but our passions. I came to Kisoro to nurse, feeling in many ways inadequate for the roles I was walking into, but God equips us as with the tools we need and I have been humbled continually by the gratitude of the medical staff for what I have been able to offer. Moving into an education role I feel truly privileged for the opportunity to use my passion for learning and teaching to benefit those around me in a lasting way.
Thank you God for the gifts you have bestowed on me to use for your purposes, for the courage you give me daily to use them, and the strength you fill me with to step up to each new challenge.
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