Colleen Counsell, RN is a nurse manager from Gainesville, Florida. She just completed a two-week volunteer rotation for Project HOPE in Kupong and Rote, Indonesia as part of Pacific Partnership 2014.
Pacific Partnership 2014 includes nursing staff education exchanges and side-by-side mentoring to ensure the mission’s impact will continue long after its conclusion. This year Project HOPE volunteers are taking part in four two-week land based rotations. This is Project Hope’s 33rd mission in the past nine years with the Department of Defense.
My assignment was in Kupang, Indonesia with a team of four Project HOPE volunteers to provide support. The team consisted of Rose Wilson, RN, HOPE Team Leader and pediatric RN out of Australia; Dr. Joe Knight, an infectious disease MD out of Arizona; myself, a nurse manager from UF Health, Gainesville, Florida and Gary Glauberman, a member of the public health faculty at the University of Hawaii. The four of us represented the civilian component of the mission.
I wasn’t sure what to expect since this was my first assignment with Project HOPE. Our team spent three days covering a variety of topics and skills stations with the same group of local nurses. The first day, the Indonesian nurses were timid and asking very few questions. We taught both didactic and skills stations. A sample of topics covered were primary head to toe assessment, splinting and sling application, neurological assessment with review of Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), C spine stabilization and airway management.
It wasn’t until the last day of the training that the nurse we were training went from a very quiet group to all talking at once and giving examples from their hospitals. It was incredibly rewarding to see the end result. There were hugs and pictures and relationships established. It wasn’t until after I got home that I realized what an impact this experience had on my personal and professional life. The mission was as much about creating relationships as it was sharing professional knowledge. Volunteering for Project HOPE was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
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