Nursing Abroad

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Snapshots of Life in Benin: The Africa Mercy Wards

In between worlds I’m in Benin, but not really. Many of my colleagues are Benin locals and some are from neighboring countries, but there is a barrier that I don’t often know how to cross. The hospital within the steel walls of the Africa Mercy is not touching land; we have a flowing cushion of water underneath us at all times. We live in a ship, but we don’t move. We have limited medical supplies due to reliance on donations, yet we...

Travel Lesson

A Travel Lesson: How To Be Ruined Gracefully

travel lesson #1: Travelling ruins many. I suspect I was ruined before I started, and travelling has made it worse. Mercy Ships was not to blame. It was a trip to Spain during sophomore year of college that set off the craving. However, Mercy Ships has been the vehicle, literally and figuratively, to carry me farther into traveler-ruin. How do I go back to normal? Here’s the problem. Today you think highly of yourself and your culture. Tomorrow you hop on...

Reverse culture shock: My Experience

Reverse Culture Shock: My Experience

seven weeks of home Coming home was the highlight of my year! It was awesome, especially when I only get to do it ONCE a year. It’s a necessary step back so I can see the big picture. Reverse culture shock unfortunately played a big role. When I look back, I can laugh at how ridiculous I was being. Here are a few snapshots of my time to help you understand how I experienced reverse culture shock. Where is safest?...

How to teach inner beauty

A Letter to Angeline: Inner Beauty

Angeline, I noticed you from the start. I chose you as a favorite because Evangeline is my favorite name in the whole world, and Angeline sounds just as musical as it escapes my mouth. You probably don’t know of the Evangeline that inspired me. She was an angel of a girl in a book; a little one who loved everyone with a naive, powerful love that made you feel special. When I met you, Angeline, I knew you carried something...

Nurses left unfulfilled in their job can ask these questions to sort themselves out.

For Nurses Who Crave A Challenge: Part Two

  Need something different? Last week I opened up and revealed what lots of people talk about behind closed doors with friends they trust. It doesn’t have to be a secret. There’s nothing wrong with confessing, “I looked forward to this job, this time, this place, but I just don’t love it. In fact, I don’t know if I can keep doing this.” I’m sure people all over the world anticipate the start of something that’s supposed to be really...

Links that inform, inspire, excite me to action

What Caught My Attention in March

I’m diving deep into this world of blogging and I come across so many influential geniuses along the way. My search for my own writer’s identity has me on myriads of websites and down dozens of rabbit trails. There are always a few that speak my soul language and make me want to shout, “YES, everyone needs to hear this!” I’ve started to take note so I can go back to their article/video and glean information you might find helpful....

Nurses left unfulfilled in their job can ask these questions to sort themselves out.

For Nurses Craving A Challenge: Part One

Nursing is your calling but you followed it to the Africa Mercy only to meet disappointment. This isn’t everyone, but I’ve heard it enough to know I’m not the only one. “Nursing on the Africa Mercy isn’t challenging enough. I want to use my brain more!” If you’ve never said or felt that, you don’t need to keep reading. I don’t want my experience to taint yours. However, if you don’t feel challenged or fulfilled here, you have company. I’ve been...

Helpless Wonder: The Result of Being Human

I turned the corner to the second half of the ward while rounding with Dr. Tertius and the team in the morning and was thrilled to see a familiar face from the dockside screening event several weeks ago. However, the thrill was accompanied by a helpless feeling because some patients have a difficult road. I was given the privilege to help with the dockside surgeon screening that happens before the patients are officially chosen and given dates. I was out there from...

Who Taught This Man He Is Ugly?

Andre came back to see Dr. Tertius. He had a severe neck contraction that pulled his head down. His face was twisted, as if the skin had just melted off. I told Andre that my best friend at home, who I grew up with, was also named Andre. “I think you’re my Malagasy Andre since I cannot see my American Andre while I’m here.” He smiled, one of many times throughout our conversation. My friend Andre from Rochester is one...

Missing Rochester: How I Find Peace

I confess. I want to go home. I’ve been missing Rochester, NY for months. This isn’t homesickness. Rather, it’s a desire to connect to my community and the place I call home in the deep way I do here. There are plenty of things I’m missing out on at home, but I know I’m missing those things for a good reason. I know the reward will outweigh the cost. In the end, I’ll get exponentially more than I lost. More...