In March 2023, Courtney, a dedicated and qualified Registered Clinical Nurse with a Bachelor of Nursing degree (completed in 2019) and currently pursuing a Masters of Nursing, embarked on a life-changing adventure to Nepal as part of the Nurses in Action Program. This blog post details Courtney's remarkable journey, highlighting the significant moments, challenges, and the enduring impact it had on her both personally and professionally.
Highlights and Challenges
To me, the entire trip to Nepal was a highlight. The warmth and hospitality of the Nepali community left an indelible mark on my heart. Despite challenging living conditions, everyone we met was welcoming, supportive, and radiated happiness.
One of the most eye-opening experiences was working at the Pokhara Western Regional Hospital. It underscored the stark contrast between healthcare services in Nepal and Australia. Witnessing the limited supplies and access that healthcare staff had to treat patients was a humbling experience.
The most challenging aspect of the trip was seeing the healthcare system's constraints and the struggles that medical professionals faced daily. Yet, despite these difficulties, their dedication and resilience were awe-inspiring.
Living in a Nepali village was another unforgettable experience. The interactions, activities, and kindness of the villagers continue to resonate with me, and I dream of returning one day.
Personal and Professional Impact
Participating in the program has profoundly impacted me. It shifted my perspective on life. I returned with a renewed appreciation for the little things, a commitment to savoring every moment, and gratitude for the privileges I have in Australia.
Walking into a third-world country hospital and embracing the village lifestyle, complete with limited water, makeshift beds, and minimal supplies, was a stark contrast to my everyday life. This experience taught me resilience and appreciation, and it has left me with an insatiable desire to continue volunteering. Kenya is next on my list!
Friendships and Connections
The friendships I formed during the program continue to be a source of joy. We maintain contact through a Facebook group chat, and while life can be hectic, we are trying to plan a reunion in the near future. Two of the girls I went with were friends from my hometown, and our bond has only grown stronger through this shared experience.
Advice for Healthcare Professionals
To my fellow nurses, midwives, and healthcare professionals considering a Nurses in Action Program or a similar venture, I say go for it. If you have a passion for volunteer work, don't hesitate. The organization is supportive, and we had an incredible Team Leader who was always there to address any concerns or questions.
Nepal, with its friendly and joyful community, will capture your heart. You'll return home with not only lasting memories but also a new perspective on life and healthcare.
During my time in Nepal, I had the privilege of learning from Nepali nurses and doctors about their resourceful ways of working in a challenging healthcare environment. We, in turn, shared our knowledge from Australian nursing practices.
The most valuable lessons I gained were to be patient and kind, to never judge based on appearances, to appreciate what I have, and to always show respect. You never know someone's living conditions or what they're going through, and this experience has made me a more compassionate and empathetic nurse.
Overall, my journey in Nepal with the Nurses in Action Program was life-changing. It transformed me both personally and professionally, deepened my appreciation for healthcare, and strengthened the bonds of friendship. To fellow healthcare professionals, I say seize opportunities like this—it's not just about the difference you make but the transformative impact it has on you.