By Dr. Lynda Wilson
Whew! The week has flown by! The classes with the PhD students are so invigorating…this week they asked me to do an extra class as we didn’t have time for all of the students to share the homework that I had assigned to them last week: writing a draft problem statement and also completing a summary table for a quantitative research article critique…It has been so exciting to hear their research ideas taking shape, and I know that they will truly make a difference to health care in Malawi!
It has been fun this week getting to know three nurses who have arrived in Malawi this month for their one-year assignment with the new Peace Corps Global Health Service Partnership Program (http://www.peacecorps.gov/volunteer/globalhealth/). This is a one-year program in which nurses or physicians spend one year in Malawi, Uganda, or Tanzania teaching to strengthen nursing and medical education. There are four nurses working at the University of Malawi KCN, two on the Lilongwe campus (where Deb Walker is working), and two on the Blantyre campus (where I am). The nurses on the Blantyre campus include Chirly, a 27-year-old nurse from Nashville who will be working in community health, and Jan, a 61-year-old nurse from Montana who will work teaching medical-surgical nursing. They are working in the clinic and hospital for the first month to have an orientation experience and get their Malawi nursing licenses and it has been eye opening…Chirly helped to deliver four babies on her first day of orientation!
The shortage of nurses and other health care workers and facilities and equipment is sobering here. There are often not enough beds so patients are placed on mattresses on the floor…their bed identification numbers have an “F” on the end (e.g. Bed 51F)…Every day I am reminded of how fortunate we are and how much we often take for granted.
A long-time friend of mine arrived last night from London. Ros Lowe has been Chief Executive of the Health Visitor Association in England, and also retired as a Chief Nurse for a major National Health Service Trust…she will spend the last week with me in Malawi and is eager to learn about nursing and health care here.
Today we are off for a weekend holiday at Bushman Baobobs – to go on safari and sleep in chalets with no electricity! Check it out at http://www.bushmansbaobabs.com. Debbie Walker took the bus to Blantyre last night from Lilongwe so will come along, and our friend Rachel Rodriguez (the American nurse who is teaching here in the graduate nursing programs), will be our driver and guide. I will send photos next week.
In today’s photo of the PhD students you also will see Dr. Rachel Rodriguez, Dr. Ellen Chirwa (the Vice Principal of Nursing at KCN in Blantyre and also Coordinator of the PhD program), and Mary Anne Shannon, one of the Peace Corps Service Corps volunteers from Lilongwe who will be teaching medical surgical nursing, but who is sitting in on the PhD classes for these next two weeks to get oriented to that program in case she is needed to help with that program during the year.
Hope all is going well in Alabama!