December 21, 2015

Mercy Ships: A Different Kind of Nursing

international travel nursing on medical mission

I didn’t realize how different Mercy Ships nursing would be. As I’ve seen in my nursing career, hospitals generally strive for “holistic” care of the patient; not just providing medical care, but also providing spiritual and emotional care. However, Africa Mercy is the only facility I’ve seen that truly embraces this concept. The staff gets their patients out of bed, spending time praying, crafting, dancing, and laughing. It is such a happy place here – a happy kind of nursing.

A few days ago at work, I experienced something very heartwarming. One of our very young patients came to us many weeks ago extremely ill and close to death. The other day was the first time I’ve seen her sing and dance during daily worship. She is so happy. She had just been told after months of waiting that she is well enough to have fistula surgery. I had to stop myself from crying while watching her celebrate. I feel like I will have many moments like this during my time in Madagascar. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

In May 2014, Travel Nurse Across America (TNAA) announced a partnership with Mercy Ships, as part of its ongoing philanthropic activities. TNAA sponsored four nurses to volunteer on a healthcare delivery mission in Africa. Mercy Ships, a global charity organization, uses ships – floating hospitals – to provide free surgery and dental care in impoverished countries. Mercy Ships has been in operation since 1978. The nurses sponsored by TNAA worked for eight weeks each on the African mercy ship docked in Cotonou, Benin. Follow the TNAA blog for Mercy Ships updates.