Volunteers quickly learn there is no down time when participating in the Pacific Partnership 2012 humanitarian mission. As the new HOPE volunteers sail toward their first mission site in Vietnam, they spend their time getting acquainted with their medical teams and learning shipboard and country specific medical skills and equipment.
Ravipal Singh, a Pharmacist from Renton, Washington, and a first-time volunteer with Project HOPE spent his first day aboard the USNS Mercy becoming familiar with the medical equipment aboard the massive hospital ship.
"It has been a great 24hrs,” he said. “The crew here is great and I am really getting excited to experience the work and patients that we may encounter in Vietnam."
Lauren Deming, a Nurse from Orem, Utah met her nursing team aboard the Mercy and was presented with a scavenger hunt challenge. “The scavenger hunt was a great idea and really helped me familiarize myself with the ship,” she said.
Kerynne O'Malley, a Nurse from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, helped her department in pediatrics prepare for seeing patients in Vietnam. "It has been very interesting to learn about what responsibilities we will have as well as the capabilities that our available in our department," she said. . "We have also been doing a lot of cleaning and preparing to see patients when we get to Vietnam.”
Volunteer Nurses Christina Grass and Cherri Dobson took part in an all-day skills-a-thon while sailing across the Pacific.
A five-time Project HOPE volunteer, Dobson,from Brentwood, California, spoke highly about the training. “I have participated in several missions aboard the Navy hospital ships, but this is the first time this training was offered,” she said. "The training was a great example of implementing “lessons learned” and a great way to make sure that everyone is the same page." said Dobson. “Today I learned how to use the IV pumps, something I have never used before on the ship.”
Dobson, being a transport nurse back home volunteered to be a dummy in the stretcher as Grass and other volunteers learned how to move a patient correctly.
"The skills-a-thon was an excellent idea,” Grass added. “With so many medical professionals onboard from all different backgrounds, you are never really sure about what training they bring with them. Going over the different equipment, such as shipboard stretchers, is very helpful. The stretchers that we use on the ship are not like the ones most of us have in our hospitals."
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