Katie Turner is a paediatric nurse from the UK, who completed an undergraduate degree in Anthropology and Development Studies at Sussex University prior to a post-graduate Diploma in Nursing and Diploma in Tropical Nursing in London. Working for Welbodi Partnership with the dual role of IPC Nurse Mentor and Paediatric Nurse Educator, Katie is kept busy both supporting the national IPC project implementation, and working with the Ola During Nurse Trainer, Aminata. She enjoys bringing dancing to teaching sessions, which always keeps everyone enthused!
Katie finished her three months with Welbodi Partnership this past Sunday and we greatly appreciate her hard work at the Children's Hospital and everything she accomplished. We hope she comes back to work with us in the future.
Katie says: "I have thoroughly enjoyed working for Welbodi Partnership for the past three months. It was great to work in a position that supported national staff, to get to know all staff at the hospital and feel truly welcomed into the ODCH family. Welbodi's relationship with the hospital is one of participation, fairness, transparency, strengthening, listening and trust. I am proud to have worked with an organisation that represents those values so well.
Working within the Ebola outbreak finds new challenges, such as postponing some services and training. Even life saving procedures are avoided due to safety, this can shake your concept of morality when individual safety tops a patient's in a situation you would normally intervene, when a whole new level of risk and fear is involved. But to be involved in a new national programme for IPC is exciting for all; a way to train, implement and protect hospital staff so they feel confident to continue quality care during the current situation and beyond.
Working in Sierra Leone does requires a lot of patience than I was used to previously; a waiting game for funding to arrive and learning how to combine getting work done with a pace that suits everybody. It has been refreshing being in a mentor position learning how to empower, encourage and motivate to move forward. Staff are tired here, emotionally and physically, so support and enthusiasm goes a long way.
Teaching, I have experienced here, is all about an exchange of ideas, it is never just dictating from a position of knowledge, but adapting to the situation through dialog and an agreement on how to improve things steadily. Equal partnership and respect are key elements for positive change, this is something Welbodi achieves well. I would gladly work for this organisation again and encourage others to do so. Even if you don't quite end up doing what you expected to!"
For more stories from Katie about her time in Sierra Leone, visit her blog: http://www.freetowndiary.blogspot.com