Observations of an OR Nurse – Tanzania 2018

In the OR we frequently worry about time: How long will a case take? How long until you are ready for the next case? Can we go faster? As we travel around the world teaching our various disciplines, we have the opportunity to learn many lessons.

So far, Tanzania has taught us that it is OK to slow down – at the right times. We had a wonderful session with our host, Dr. Jacobson, this week discussing Tanzanian culture. He explained the meaning of the word mzungu. This is what travelers of European descent are called. It also refers to someone who is constantly on the move. I laughed on the inside as I created a picture of all our CSI team members running around like mad men.

When I am on a mission, I find myself wanting to fit as many procedures in as possible during our visit. Our Tanzanian partners remind us to take a step back. Please do not misunderstand; our CSI team witnessed a team of Tanzanian healthcare workers move expeditiously to jump to the aid of a young child who was seriously ill. They asked us to assist in this child’s care by providing support. These moments become the ones we cherish most and help to build collaborative bridges. We had the opportunity to watch our Tanzanian partners shine.

Upon our arrival this morning at Arusha Lutheran Medical Center (ALMC), we walked into an extremely busy OR and quickly realized that our ability to do cases would be delayed. When we first met with our Tanzanian partners, they graciously offered us the use of three operating rooms. This provides us an amazing opportunity. One of the senior medical staff apologized profusely for today’s delay and inconvenience. We assured our partners that caring for those in their community is never an inconvenience.

I am happy to report that we had a great day in the OR, completed all scheduled cases, and even added a case. While our time was bumped back today, we accomplished everything we set out to do. While our departure from the OR may have been later than intended, together with our Tanzanian colleagues we did great things and can fall asleep with a sense of accomplishment. 

~ Jodi Pelkey, RN – CSI Volunteer Operating Room Nurse

For more trip photos click here.