Updated May 6th, 2015
I got around to checking which blog pages were getting hits, and saw that this one was suddenly popular…… gee, did the 7.9 earthquake of April 25th, 2015 have anything to do with the number of people doing research on how to come here and help?
CCNEPal is a project that taught critical care skills to nurses and doctors in Nepal since 2011. In Kathmandu Valley, 800 people had taken this training, and an additional 1,000 or so in the rest of Nepal. Amidst the tragedy there is solemn pride that CCNEPal positioned so many Nepali professionals with this training. CCNEPal didn’t do anything the day of the quake. We did everything for three years prior to the quake, and the dedicated Nepali professionals put it into use.
CCNEPal has always taken pride in the Road Trips. The Road Trips are sometimes grueling but always fun. CCNEPal was on a Road Trip when the earthquake shook loose.
The original plan to leave May 30th is still in place. In the meantime, I have written many blog entries about volunteering. The immediate relief phase, looking for victims in the rubble, is over. The recovery phase, in which services are restored and “normalcy” returns, is still in progress. Nobody in Nepal will be the same, ever. The return to life will take years.
So – if you wish to volunteer, there is actually no hurry. No reason to jump on a plane unless you have specialized skills. This allows you to study, plan and prepare. Nepal is not an “easy country” for most western medical volunteers to go to, not for their first time. Read the below.
And, a shout out to NurseTeachReach. They were here and they did a great job. I have personally met with and collaborated with Lucy Rowe and she represents the best in the new generation of western global health nurses.
The pre-earthquake version that was on the site as of April 5th, 2015
As I write this I am preparing a trip to the Terai for five or six weeks, going from place to place and not returning to Kathmandu Valley in between. I expect to conduct twelve sessions of my course, for hundreds of nurses and doctors, in various cities. When I return I will get on the plane. I will take the summer to work on my daughter’s house, then in fall I will return to University teaching in USA. I will not be back in Nepal until May 2016 at the earliest.
I formerly titled this “volunteer in Nepal for 2015” but let’s face it: my specific project is built around the idea that Nepali nurses can teach themselves with a little nudge, and I just don’t have a need for other people to join me. And it’s too late for CCNEPal anyway.
There ought to be a way to use your skills.
Somehow, there ought to be an easier way for highly-skilled acute care nurses to volunteer their skills here in a meaningful way. I hear about nurses who came here to learn about health care in a Low Income Country, and who mainly used their time to hand out toothbrushes in villages while on a trek. On the one hand, it’s okay, because they are still learning the way that people live and hopefully having a positive experience that whets their curiosity. On the other hand, the acute care system of Nepal is undergoing tremendous change right now and expertise is needed.
If you are interested in doing what I do, working in acute care hospitals, and not paying some huge fee to a travel agency that will send you trekking-with-toothbrushes, there is a group you should check out: Nurse-Teach-Reach. They are based in Sydney, Australia. They make a number of trip here each year. This group brings nurses to work in ICU, ER, and oncology nursing. The leader, Lucy Rowe, is a nurse.
If you think this might be you, contact them.