June 22, 2019 Stop and Smell the Incense in Kathmandu

CCNEPal completed session number eleven yesterday with 38 students from the BNS and BMS program at Bir Nursing Campus. This was the third time I have worked with that school and I appreciate the people there. Since the earthquake they are in temporary space at Gaushala, the neighborhood inside the ring road, just south of Pashupattinath temple. Part of our space was a nice verandah but I was cautioned not to leave any equipment lying around loose, because they often get daily visits from members of the Pashupattinath monkey troupe, known for being aggressive. I am trying to picture exactly what a monkey might do with a Bag–Valve-Mask but my mind goes blank. Never make eye contact with a wild monkey.

This brings the total of certificates to 279 nurses and doctors. If I were to continue on this pace I would be in step with a final total of about 600, which has been what I accomplished in each of the last two years.

The campus includes two floors of hostel rooms. About six to a room. Those are mosquito nets hanging from the ceiling. I asked some students to take this for me and they obliged. This is not the same as a “typical dorm room” in USA.

Almost all of the students in the BNS batch seemed to be nurses already working at government hospitals in outlying districts. They plan to return to the outlying districts after completion. This is because they are doing the schooling with loans that will be repaid by service at a government hospital. What this means for me is that Bir Nursing Campus is a fine location for this training. The nurses who took it here will bring their new skills and knowledge of the training approach, to districts in far reaches that I would be unlikely to visit.

At Bir we did the anatomy lab. This is a very short video showing one of the maneuvers we display.

I was told that the group at Bir are given a specific concentration in critical care nursing, the only such one in all of the government system of nursing campuses. I don’t think I understood this until now. That makes me twice as happy to have trained them with my course!

Upcoming schedule

My time in Terai was jampacked with teaching, a choice I made. Ten sessions in five weeks. I am proud of all I accomplished. But now I am back in Kathmandu and I have decided to take a week off and focus on school work for fall semester.

People ask how I manage to get people doing megacode as much I do. My scheme is to divide the usual class of thirty into five groups of five, and designate five others to be my “assistants” for the class. The group helps me choose the “assistants.” I teach mostly in English, but when each assistant gets with a group, they conduct the scenario in Nepali and coach the class members in Nepali. In any given batch, they make it come alive and my course manages to avoid falling into the “one more videshi with a powerpoint and lots of handouts” trap. The engagement is nonstop and energetic. These guys were the assistants at Bir Nursing campus.


Monsoon is due to start any day now, after a few false alarms. I think we could use the rain.

About Joe Niemczura, RN, MS

These blogs, and my books, and videos are written on the principle that any person embarking on something similar to what I do will gain more preparation than I first had, by reading them. I have fifteen years of USA nursing faculty background. Add to it fifteen more devoted to adult critical care. In Nepal, I started teaching critical care skills in 2011. I figure out what they need to know in a Nepali practice setting. Then I teach it in a culturally appropriate way so that the boots-on-the-ground people will use it. One theme of my work has been collective culture and how it manifests itself in anger. Because this was a problem I incorporated elements of "situational awareness" training from the beginning, in 2011.
This entry was posted in medical volunteer in Nepal and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s