Today was our final day of small group instruction and clinical work. Nurses Diane, Jennifer and Heather went back to the same hospitals they worked in yesterday to teach more of the nurses who attended the S.T.A.B.L.E.® training workshop on Wednesday.
I spent the day with Diane at the Social Security hospital. She asked the nurses to identify what part of the S.T.A.B.L.E. program resonated most with them and to describe some of the challenges they face in their daily work. They were eager to share this information and were grateful for any recommendations Diane or others in the group could offer.
The biggest issues that we continue to hear about are baby: nurse ratios that are too high and a shortage of critical medical equipment and supplies. For example, because there are very few ventilators at the hospitals, parents often take entire shifts manually bagging their babies for hours a time just to keep them breathing. Parents even have to purchase glucose feeding solution or other medicines that their babies need to survive because the hospitals may not have them.
It’s amazing to see how resourceful these nurses have become in the face of limited supplies. One of them showed us today how they often make their own tiny eye protection for babies who need photo therapy from a surgical mask, tape and carbon paper!
It was obvious that the nurses learned a lot from Wednesday’s training. They also learned a great deal from each other as they shared how they do things in their different hospitals. We could see their excitement as they talked about how they are already planning to adopt techniques they learned from our team and to share the information with their coworkers. As they knowledge and confidence grow, they will be able to work even better together, and with the doctors.
When the hospital day ended, our team traveled from the city out to the Friends of Barnabas compound where we will spend our final two nights. The natural beauty here was a welcome respite to our tired and humbled bodies and souls. Even though we are sad to have our time here come to a close, we are encouraged to know that the seeds we have planted will grow into an entire group of nurses and doctors who are better equipped to stabilize and treat sick newborns, making a huge difference in the lives of many families every day.