Celebrating nurses, midwives and their students who change lives

Seed Global HealthBlog

Through our partnership with the Peace Corps, the Global Health Service Partnership, nursing volunteers in Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania are teaching thousands of students who will be next generation of healthcare providers, educators and nursing leaders. These nursing volunteers are working shoulder to shoulder with their African counterparts in this critical effort. Our volunteers have been welcomed, inspired, challenged and forever changed by their students and colleagues.

≈The Global Health Service Partnership is only one example of how nurses worldwide are impacting the global nursing workforce…A Force for Change

We have invited nurses and nursing students from across the world to share their stories. Please read their reflections and tributes and share your own.

Pat Daoust, MSN, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, Seed Global Health

Julie Anathan, , MPH, RN, Deputy Chief Nursing Officer, Seed Global Health

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Nurses matter because they are the front line of patient care, every day, every hour, every detail.

They have a power to advocate, the power to teach and the power to model a new way to do healthcare.

They are my trusted partners and teachers in all I do in health.

Vanessa Kerry, MD MSc

CEO, Seed Global Health

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Global Health Service Partnership Nurse Brttney Sullivan writes about what she is learning as a nurse in Malawi and what inspires her as a nurse. Read More

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Dear Midwives Worldwide,

Thank you for being advocates of women globally and for creating a safe environment in which to give birth. Your vast knowledge of and experience in childbirth make you invaluable members of the labor ward team. We appreciate your holistic care of our patients. Thank you for working tirelessly to protect the lives of our mothers and babies!

Sincerely, AK and YC, Blantyre, Malawi

Midwives in the Chatinkha Labor Ward at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi. April, 2014

 

Nurses and matrons outside of the Chatinkha Maternity Center, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre, Malawi. April, 2014

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May 2, 2014

Nursing was something I did not know I would end up doing. As a child, I always wanted to be a doctor. I wrote Dr.Letitia on most of my books. But as I grew up, my dream changed. In high school, my dream changed to Pharmacy. I have an auntie who mentored me and I was convinced it was now what I wanted. I applied for Pharmacy as my first choice of course at University.

But as fate would have it and as a Christian, who believes God gives us the best always, I was instead admitted for a Nursing degree. And today, I now realise that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. And I don’t regret any bit of it. I am instead grateful.

I am taking this course because I want that when I start practicing, to support my patients and their families, to continue facing every new day with love, hope and strength. I also want to help them feel courageous, confident and always encouraged in caring for themselves and their loved ones and never to give up. I also want, working together with other members of the health care team, to provide holistic care to my patients and all other people.

I love Nursing because it is a passion; a calling from God. Also the little experience that I have had from the hospital so far, has showed me that, in nursing, it is the smallest of things ; like giving a listening ear, a smile, a pat on the patient’s back in a bid to comfort or sympathise with them that seemingly brighten up a patient’s day.

However much the above and more look obvious, some of us health care providers overlook them yet they are very crucial in nursing care .
So I encourage every Nurse out there, in whatever capacity, to be the best they can be and to always hold their head high and be proud of who and what they are. God bless all Nurses world over! And Happy International Nursing Day!

Asiimwe Letitia

Nursing Student

Uganda

 

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May 2, 2014

On behalf of the Partners In Health nurses from 10 countries globally, we congratulate the SEED Nursing program and stand in solidarity with the global nursing community.

Sheila Davis

Chief Nursing Officer

Partners In Health

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May 2, 2014

I became a midwife because….

Many years ago when I was exploring the world, our zebra striped van was stoped by a mudslide in rural Kenya and I was asked to help a woman who was in labor in the front seat of a jeep. Truth was, even as a well educated American, I had never seen a baby born and did not know how to help, at all. The mom handed her to me for her first breath. I watched her fingers uncurl and life come into her.

I vowed then to learn how to help women, half the world!, in childbirth, and have been working since as a midwife, for about 25 years.  And my greatest legacy has become my daughter who is now also practicing as a skilled, compassionate midwife.

Carol O, CNM, Seattle

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May 3, 2014

I am glad to be working with three fine nurses in Mbarara – MS, KL, and HW. All are outstanding representatives of their profession and their students have responded with enthusiasm to their teaching. It has been a pleasure to be associated with such fine professionals.

Robert Weiss, M.D.

Peace Corps Uganda

SEED Global Health

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May 5, 2014

Dear Nursing Colleagues,

As we celebrate International Nurses Day I would like to extend my warmest wishes to the nurses across the globe.  I especially want to honor our colleagues in Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania who have been working so hard to advance nursing practice in their countries through the SEED Global Health program.

The knowledge and caring that you bring to your patients inspire us all.

Peace and blessings,

Donna

Donna J. Perry, PhD, RN

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May 5 2014

As a midwife, the most important lesson I can give to my students is to help them first understand where each woman is coming from.  At their first prenatal visit,  always ask:  “How did you react when you found out you were pregnant?”  “Who did you tell?”  “How did they react?”  In this way you will learn much about the resources she brings both internally and externally to this pregnancy, and this will help guide your care of her.

What have I learned as a midwife?

I have come to see that my job as a midwife is really to help ‘mother the mother’, and get those around her to do the same. If a mother feels “mothered”, she will take care of herself, her pregnancy and her newborn child.  If we as a society could all learn to “mother the mothers” in our midst, it would make their job of nurturing the future so much easier, more joyful, and more satisfying, knowing that we value what they are doing for us all.

Mary Ellen Galante, CNM

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May 5, 2014

I am proud to be a nurse because: As a nurse I can make a contribution to helping to make the world a better place, and there are so many different ways to do this!

Thank you to all of the Global Health Service Partnership volunteers who are making a significant contribution to global health and strengthening nursing and medical education globally!!!

Lynda Law Wilson, RN, PhD, FAAN

Professor, Assistant Dean for International Affairs

Deputy Director, PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center on International Nursing

Department of Acute, Chronic, and Continuing Care School of Nursing

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May 5, 2014

Midwives and nurses are the supporting structure upon which the house of practicing medicine stands.  They protect and stand up for the patients they shelter and care for.  They are steadfast and unwavering despite being battered by their laboring patients’ emotional storms.  Akin to one’s fond memories of a childhood home, their words and touch bring comfort and peace.  Thank you for all that you do.

-MR

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May 6, 2014

I became a midwife after the experiences I had as a nurse in the Peace Corps 1979 – 81.  I really had no intention of working in obstetrical nursing, but after starting a rural clinic in Lesotho, I found that there was an expectation by the villagers that I provide midwifery services.  So, I spent a month in a nearby maternity center, observing normal deliveries, and all seemed to go well – I thought I might be able to help out if no one else was around to help.  Thus, my first solo delivery occurred in the back of a land cruiser, with premature twins and abnormal presentation.  My sterile delivery pack and my skills seemed totally inadequate.  Afterward, I began to interview every midwife I could find to learn more; also found that the American nurse midwives I met had trained at the Frontier Nursing Service, in Kentucky.  I returned and trained at FNS, and have worked in women’s/reproductive health ever since.  Although a crisis situation pushed me into a field I had not considered, it has been a most satisfying journey.

For my midwifery students, the most important lesson I might share is to listen to women …. Really listen to what she tells you about her life and situation, whether verbally or nonverbally.  It will help guide your practice to become the best midwife you can be.

All the best,

LJ

                                                  The photo is of a group of midwifery students

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May 7, 2014

 

I’M PROUD TO BE A NURSE BECAUSE:

Comments of nursing students at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, Uganda

Nursing is noble.

I do have a profound love for nursing for it involves a holistic approach of patients, its dignified and honorable.

I am proud to be a nurse because in nursing it’s the smallest things like giving a listening ear, a smile, a pat on the patients back in a bid to sympathize with them, being present matters most.

I love the smiles of once very ill and hopeless patients.  The feeling that I was part of their healing process.

I am proud to be a nurse because it is dignifying and fun!

I’m proud to be a nurse because I provide health care, advocate, and I’m able to change the lives of my patients.  I even have better opportunities to improve people’s lives who are ill or not ill,  internationally, nationally, and regionally.

“Nurses Rock”

It has changed my life a lot in the last 16 years of my practice by making me in the spotlight of status

I love nursing now that I truly understand its concepts and yeah, I like the fact that I am a crucial figure in health care provision.  It is fun and dignifying.  Long live nursing

Nurses are regarded to be a ‘holy people’!  I am proud to be a nurse because nursing is an honorable and dignifying profession.  Blessed to be part as the holy family.  Keep the candle burning and pass it on to others.

Chosen by God is what nurses are referred to as; Nursing has made me a particular person of influence, causing differences and change in society.  ‘Nursing Rocks!”

The smiles reflecting the joy and happiness from patients and their families after a successful service makes me feel I have value to someone’s life and that makes a very proud nurse!!!

Nursing is honourable and dignifying.  I love my profession!

Nursing is a noble profession and vocation.

Promoting health, preventing illness and alleviating suffering is a calling for us all.   Offer a service to all.  I am proud to be a nurse!

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May 7, 2014

Why I Want to Become a Nurse

Students from Bugundo Medical Center

Mwanza, Tanzania

…to help families and the communities  who are not aware about health issues, to how to prevent diseases, transmission and treatments plus measurements to be taken.

…to save lives.

…to conduct research.

…to provide counseling to patients about HIV/AIDS, nutrition status and nosocomial infections.

…to provide good education.

…to provide good wound care.

…to become a good teacher in the world.

…to have a good standard of living.

“Nursing is a force for change”

 

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May 7, 2014

I am proud to be a psychiatric nurse because it has strengthened my compassion for marginalized persons,

opened my heart and mind to the suffering of others and offered me the chance to positively affect another’s life,

which is the greatest gift of being a nurse.

Yeah!

Nancy Remington, MSN, RN, PCNS

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May 9, 2014

I became a midwife because:

I think the one thing that really stands out for me in my decision (and confirmed my decision even after I was accepted into the Midwifery program), was while I was working on a Guinea Worm Eradication Program in a very remote area of Northern Ghana. I was in a health center with a nurse midwife and a woman was brought in by her husband on the back of a bicycle in obviously prolonged labor. She had been in this condidion for days at her home and thé traditional birth attendant was unable to help her.  A Nurse-Midwife made the decision to transfer thé patient to the closest hospital for delivery. Sadly the mother and baby died as a result of complications. Hearing about this patient’s death really affected me and motivated me to become a Nurse-Midwife and work in remote or underserved areas where Midwives are needed to save women’s lives. As a Nurse-Midwife, I have done just so and in so many different settings. I work to prevent maternal deaths, that is ultimately my passion and my purpose in life! And I love it!

Meredith Casella Jean-Baptiste, CNM

Coordinatrice de Sante Maternel

Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais

Partners in Health/ Zanmi Lasante

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May 12, 2014

Happy International Nurses Day!

I decided to become a nurse after my Peace Corps volunteer experience in rural Cameroon from 1992-96. I was an agroforestry volunteer, but because the only other westerners that had ever been seen in my village were from a nearby Swiss mission hospital, it was assumed that I was a nurse. In spite of all my efforts to inform people otherwise, they would still bring me their dehydrated children and come to me with their early labor complaints. It was such an overwhelming need and I felt so powerless to help that it influenced my decision to become a nurse instead of pursuing sustainable agriculture.

I’m so proud to count myself in the ranks of the world’s caregivers and to work on an ongoing basis to promote the role of nurses as central and critical members of the healthcare team with voices that always need to be heard, as they so often are the only ones speaking for the patients. The work that our GHSP nurses are doing in Malawi, Tanzania, and Uganda to contribute to capacity building and elevate the voices of the nursing students they are working with is truly a beautiful gift of service and I’m so grateful for this gift they are giving every day (not only on International Nurses Day).

Laura Foradori, RN, MPH

Peace Corps Global Health Service Partnership Program Manager

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May 12, 2014

 GHSP volunteers and their nursing colleagues celebrate International Nurses Day2014 in northern Malawi.

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May 13, 2014

I will forever count as a blessing, the time spent in Uganda  as a Nurse Instructor with Peace Corps and Seed Global Health.   I began nurses training in 1961, married and started my family not long after.  So when the Peace Corps was initiated, I was busy with my family, and unable to serve.  I told myself, that when my children were raised, I would join.  I’ve always wanted to help change health and lives in the countries with greatest needs.

Life has a way of “happening”, so it has been many years since my dream of serving as a Nurse with the Peace Corps.   It was a friend of mine who saw an article in the local newspaper telling about opportunities for Medical and Nursing Instructors.   She called my attention to it, and said, “This sounds like you.”   I could hardly believe it.  But one step led to another, and before long, I was standing in front of the first ever aspiring class of Baccalaureate Degree Nurse Midwives.

Living, working, and teaching in Uganda are like no other Nursing experience.  The nursing shortage is severe, and the need is desperate.  The nurse patient ration there is 1 nurse to 11,000 patients.  For physicians, the ratio is even greater; 1: 15,000.    Additionally these patients are much sicker than those traditionally seen in the U.S.    Patients present with a multitude of illnesses starting with malaria, then adding on a host of other diseases and conditions.  Parasitic infections are common.  Anemia is the rule, not the exception.  And of course the heavy disease burden of HIV.   Poverty is everywhere.

There are very few roads, those are rarely paved, mostly dirt and mud with huge holes.  A trip that would take 1 hour here, may take 5-6 hours there, if the road is even passable, as happens during rainy times.  There are very few cars.  Most people either walk (shoeless), bike or take motor bikes (Bodas) so getting to a place where medical care is available is quite difficult.  Once there, there may be hundreds of others waiting to be seen in clinics.  For all these needy patients, there may be, if lucky, one MD, and one nurse.  Medical supplies are scant to non-existent.   If the patient is hospitalized, medical care in patient ratios are not any better.  Patients must bring their own bedding, a care attendant, who sleeps on the cement floor beside the patient,   finds and prepares food for the patient, and does patient care.  There is no hospital cafeteria for patients or staff.

Despite all these hardships, young men and women are working   to improve their lives and those of others.  These students have no Government grants or loans to help them with tuition.  Most hold full time jobs, and attend school also full time.  There are no part time classes available at this time.  It’s all or nothing.  In addition to these full day s, many care for large extended families.  Due to the heavy burden of disease and death, there are many orphans and widowed individuals.

Despite all the obstacles and hardships the students face, they show up every day and do their best without complaints or attitude.   And in the truest spirit of nursing; that of kindness, compassion, and caring, they are amazing.   Yes, I count myself as blessed to have had the opportunity to share whatever knowledge I could to these dedicated students.

 

JT

Global Health Service Partnership Volunteer, Uganda

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May 14, 2014

It’s  such a pleasure to be part of the nursing community. Like many of you, I joined nursing because I was looking for an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of other people. In nursing, I have seen miracles- children brought back from the brink of death through the immense dedication and care we provide. I have found great satisfaction in nursing from the simple and more complex actions we undertake to heal and from the comfort we give to those in distress. I salute you all my colleagues – thank you for your compassion, dedication and above all, for heeding to the call. Nursing is truly a noble profession.

I would like to express my gratitude to the nursing seed volunteers. Thank you for amazing work you have done to strengthen the profession in Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi. We are truly blessed to have you all.

Happy International Nurses Day!

Massy Mutumba, PhD

University of Michigan

 

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May 24, 2014 Tanzania Celebrates Nurses Day

It started with a walk through the neighborhood behind a 4 piece live band, all wearing shirts sold by TANNA (Tanzanian National Nurses Association).  It was so much fun, participating in the dancing which can only be done in Tanzania.  There was a candle lighting ceremony – in honor of Florence Nightingale – saying the nurses prayer. Then there were some speeches – all in KSwahili.  The Director General spoke for quite a while – and then we all had our pictures taken with him.  There were about 100+ nurses who came ( there are about 350+ nurses employed at our hospital).  Some of our students came and heard the message from the Director General which on this year’s theme: Nurse, a force for change, a vital source for health.

I think we have accomplished what we came for –  to be part of, and work with, the faculty to support what they are doing.

DC

Tanzania

 

LJ wearing a TANNA (Tanzanian National Nurses Association) Kitenge at the Celebration of International Nurses Day 

 

DC and 3rd year students