Empowering nurses with Orbis and the new Flying Eye Hospital
UK nurse, Professor Janet Marsden, has volunteered with Orbis on seven programmes since 2011; training nurses in Peru three times, Burkina Faso, the Philippines - and now also China. She was present during our DC-10's final outing in Peru. This year she travlled to China to share her skills once again during our new planes very first programme. Find out how she got on below.
I feel very privileged as a volunteer for Orbis to have been part of the final programme on our old plane, the DC-10 and then part of the first programme on the MD-10 to Shenyang in China
This programme was Orbis’s 40th in China and 12th in this region, in partnership with He Eye Hospital and He University.
My brief that week was initially to support and present at a seminar for nurses in the University - then to undertake a ‘train the trainer’ programme with senior nurses from He Eye Hospital and surrounding group hospitals.
It’s always difficult to know, even from a very detailed brief, what level the nurses we will be training are working at, and what post registration specialist education they have. While I had prepared a significant amount of material on how to teach and train, how to structure education and all the things that go with being a teacher, I found quite early in the first session that the nurses had little knowledge about ophthalmic nursing that they would be able to pass on. Therefore, I quickly re-grouped, and went on to plan B (always have a plan B…and C…and D!). We had three days of specialist ophthalmic teaching and then moved on to the skills needed to pass these on.
It’s really hard for nurses in specialist areas to know what they don’t know and these nurses were very eager to learn. We looked at evidence based practice, and it became clear that a significant amount of their practice is based around what the doctors instruct them to do. We considered where we could obtain good evidence and how we might change practice. We talked about how knowledge is power and how empowering ourselves as nurses, enables us to empower our patients as well.
It seems that there is no post registration ophthalmic education and what the nurses know about their specialty is what they can pick up as they go along. We therefore spent quite a lot of time talking about the basics of ophthalmology, the care of pa-tients with eye problems and how to move practice on. Later in the week, we moved onto some teaching techniques and each of the nurses presented a session for the whole group before we completed the programme.
The nurses gained confidence throughout the week, and were soon asking lots of questions - and their final presentations were excellent. Some used models, and all presented confidently to the group, taking on things that they previously didn’t think that they could.
The evaluation of the week was amazing. It’s clear that changes are going to be made in practice and even small ones, such as putting a sign on the Laser room door to stop people wandering in, will make a difference. I’d like to thank my brilliant translator for the week who was a member of Orbis staff from the Beijing office and even better, a nurse! So rapport and trust was built early on and continued through-out the week.
It wasn’t all work, however! The Moon Festival took place during the programme and Professor He and his students hosted an amazing event at the University. Students entertained us with superb displays of music, dancing and martial arts. A birthday was celebrated and Orbis guests, along with the students and faculty, danced and were covered in cake cream.
I always learn as much as the nurses I go to support on an Orbis trip. I learned a little of Chinese culture and a tiny bit of Mandarin. I learned about the cultures in nursing in China and that all over the world nurses are eager to learn, but struggle to access appropriate resources. That knowledge can change the world of our patients and partnership is how we make the world a better place, one step at a time!