Four nursing students from Northwest University in Seattle traveled halfway across the world to help prepare for the arrival of the Africa Mercy, a hospital ship owned by Mercy Ships, for which volunteer nurses provide basic healthcare to individuals in need.
Accompanied by adjunct faculty member Denise Englehart, RN, MSN, the group took part in a hands-on experience that was dramatically different from textbooks or lectures.Northwest University nursing students, from left, Emily Copple, Llana Gubarik, Paul Moughamian and Whitney McCall, along with adjunct professor Denise Englehart, RN, tour the Connaught Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Without a qualified staff of nurses from all over the world, Mercy Ships would not be able to fulfill its mission of serving the forgotten poor, said Claire Bufe, U.S. public relations manager for Mercy Ships. Mercy Ships would like to highlight a group of nursing students who played an active role in preparing for the 2011 Mercy Ships Field Service in Sierra Leone one of the worlds poorest countries.
In Sierra Leone, we got such a change in perspective, nursing student Paul Moughamian said. We were exposed to so many relevant issues that dont make it into the classroom.Nursing student Paul Moughamian administers a TB skin test for one of the 150 day-workers.
As the day for the ships arrival in Sierra Leone approached, Mercy Ships staff spent time with government officials to ensure that all final preparations were in order.
The students helped gather health histories and provide tuberculosis testing for 150 day-workers. Day-workers are local men and women who assist in many capacities, including as translators, onboard the Africa Mercy. The group also toured a local healthcare facility.Nursing student Paul Moughamian visits a local hospital.
I was amazed by the way the Sierra Leoneans adapted to getting by with so much less than we use here in the U.S., Moughamian said. So many people had no access to hospitals. It was tough to see.
But the floating, state-of-the-art hospital provides a dramatically different setting. It is staffed with volunteer nurses who provide basic healthcare to individuals who have virtually no available medical care.
Back in the classroom in Seattle, Moughamian reflected on his time spent in Sierra Leone. This trip was the most valuable part of my college experience, he said, one that I will never forget.