This chunk of time that I've been anxiously awaiting. This few weeks blocked out on my field service calendar that are entirely in red, meaning busy, busy, busy, busy. The three to four most demanding weeks of the field service that have been looming large and cause me to gulp and breathe deeply... confident in my ability to pull it off but also a bit nervous with what if I can't?
I can and will. (she whispers bravely to her somewhat doubting and timid heart)
Tomorrow a fantastic team of facilitators arrive from England to run the SAFE Obstetric Anesthesia course for about 35 local anesthetists and anesthesia nurses. I've been working the last few weeks to confirm the venue and catering, gathering participant lists and sending invitations, gathering supplies and printing and laminating (thanks KJ for the help!!) and setting up tours and translators and vehicles and everything else that goes into putting on a high quality education program. Hopefully, if I've done my job well, the facilitators will come in and have everything they need, will be able to teach and the participants will learn a lot and no one will have any idea what all happens in the background.
It'll be a full and hopefully very fun week... I'm excited to be a part of it!
Then, the following week I get the privilege of leading a team of 8 up to Dolisie to do some team training in the operating room! We'll be covering OR crises, the Safe Surgery Saves Lives checklist, and infection control, among other things. We've never tried a direct team approach like this so I'm super excited to see how it works! And the team I get to work with is awesome, the hospital in Dolisie is really nice, and it's just fun to get away from the port for a bit!
We return on Friday and then on Sunday I will be winging my way to Brazzaville, where I'm assisting with two different conferences...
On that Monday the eye surgery training team from Rotary International will start training in the largest hospital in Congo. Eye surgeons and nurses don't have a lot (if any) opportunity for continued training in their fields here, so it's really exciting for them to get this type of small group hands on training.
Then the next day, Tuesday and Wednesday of that week, we're hosting a Lifebox training - if you've never heard of Lifebox, click on the name and it'll take you to their website. Basically, this Safe Surgery Saves Lives checklist is a proven way to decrease mortality in the Operating Room. The only piece of this checklist that costs any money is the pulse-oximeter - so Lifebox's mission statement is to put a pulse oximeter in every operating room in the world. Last spring Mercy Ships helped to host an anesthesia conference in Brazzaville (before I was involved with education) and a needs assessment was done for all participants - anyone who indicated they had a need for pulse oximeters will be invited back to participate in this training, where the trainer from Lifebox will teach on the checklist along with how to properly use and care for the pulse oximeter, and then they will receive the donated Lifeboxes (pulse oximeters). It's so cool that something that small can really potentially have a huge impact on surgery in Africa!
So what's my job? Make all of that happen from a logistical standpoint, so the trainers can just come in and do their thing.
In and amongst those four big things, we also have three mentoring programs starting up - a local anesthesia provider will be working one-on-one with our anesthesia team here on the ship, a local nurse will be working one-on-one with our rehab team, and our sterilizing technician trainer will be heading out to start a new three-week session with a new group of trainees in the local hospitals. And it's part of my job to make those things happen in terms of paperwork, getting the participants legally and medically cleared to work here, etc.
Plus I'm working on project plans and prep for the next field service in Guinea, project reports for the end of this field service in Congo...I oversee the handing over of any patients that still need follow up care after we sail away to local physicians, making sure those physicians and nurses are properly trained and supplies are given... We also have several different VIP guests coming on board over the next month that I'll be doing various things with, and trying to figure out my summer plans while the ship is packing up.
So needless to say I'm kinda busy right now... but the good news is, I love my job and I love the people I get to work with! I'm honored I get to be a part of this and excited (and yes a wee bit nervous) to see how the next three weeks pan out!
If you're the praying type, pray that all goes well and that joy is found in every day, every moment, every interaction, and every teaching. Pray that details will be sorted out and grace will be abundant and peace would rule and reign in all we are and will be.
Thanks friends, I couldn't do this without you.
p.s. I've put a few new tabs up on the top of this blog... most notably a wish list, in case you're wondering what you could send me that would bless me!! have at it! :)