Nurse’s skills ideal for PNG clinic

Jodie was a big hit with the village children in Papua New Guinea.

Jodie was a big hit with the village children in Papua New Guinea.

The skills Clinical Nurse Jodie Thompson has attained working in St John of God Murdoch Hospital’s emergency department proved well suited to teaching health care workers in an impoverished village in Papua New Guinea.

“Working in an emergency department requires you to be very good at diagnosing patients,” said Jodie. “In a clinic that is under pressure and with no doctor, health care workers have to be able to diagnosec and treat patients accordingly and quickly.”

Sleeping on homemade wooden beds, dealing with rats and with no hot water, Jodie and two other Australians spent a month living in a tin shed to share their skills and knowledge with the village’s medical clinic workers.

“This was our second visit so we spent a lot of time reinforcing what we had shown them the last time, such as the importance of hand washing, cleaning, and performing vital signs,” said Jodie.

”We also taught them about ear health and back care, the correct use of medications, correct suturing technique, adult and paediatric assessment and we took three dummies to demonstrate CPR.”

One of the main projects of this trip was education on immunization and cold chain. On the previous visit, one of Jodie’s cohorts installed solar panels on the medical clinic which has enabled the installation of an immunization fridge.

This will have a huge impact on the health of the community as many of the illnesses stem from not being immunized,” said Jodie.

Hopefully, we will see a drop in currently rife diseases such as tetanus and tuberculosis.”

They also supplied mattresses, mosquito nets, suturing, dressing supplies, basic medications and clothes.

Jodie says the community is in dire need of help and they are very receptive to learning new ways of doing things and improving the health care for the villagers.

”I feel truly lucky to have the opportunity to make a real difference to the community,” says Jodie. “We are not just having an impact on the health of an individual, but a whole community which is a truly rewarding thing to be involved in.”

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