During the Pacific Partnership 2015 mission, Project HOPE staff member Kenly Flanigan and HOPE volunteer nurse Kim Kancir took part in a Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) at Saint Mary's Hospital in Kokopo, Papua New Guinea, led by my roommate, Lieutenant Commander Katherine Chiu. Saint Mary's is run by the archdiocese and is staffed by lovely people. The hospital is located on a sprawling campus with ocean views.
The goal of the day was to engage with and instruct the nursing staff at the hospital on various topics on which they might need training. However, the staff was swamped when we arrived. So our team members spread out to help where they could. After a couple of hours of meeting with patients and observing the St. Mary's nurses, Kim and Kenly led a workshop on updated CPR techniques.
Many of the nurses at the hospital hadn't renewed their CPR certification in many years. So the information they were receiving was brand new. Kim and Kenly worked as a team to instruct everyone on infant and adult CPR. They then observed and gave tips as everyone practiced on the dummies.
CPR certification may seem like a simple thing, but often simple things get overshadowed here. The CPR technique - originally taught to most people as “ABC” (airway, breath sounds, compressions) - was changed two years ago to “CAB” (compressions, airway, breath sounds). When I discovered that the nurses we met were unaware of the updated technique for basic life support, I realized the significance of events like SMEEs and Community Health Engagements. Volunteer medical personnel can travel to a place to perform procedures and administer medicines, but when this care is combined with collaboration and education, the results are invaluable.
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