Greetings from Freetown, Sierra Leone! My name is Rachel and I am the nurse volunteer working with King’s Global Health Partnership, supported by the King’s College Hospital Nurses’ League.
Let me tell you a bit about myself and how I ended up here! I am an alumni of the wonderful King’s College London having done my Postgraduate Diploma in Adult Nursing, qualifying in 2014. During these early stages of my career, I have spent the majority of my time in the emergency department and have also developed a passion for teaching and mentoring. So, when I saw the advert for a volunteer nurse educator position in Sierra Leone, in a King’s Global Health Partnership newsletter, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to use my skills. Having spent some time in East Africa on a health education project prior to my nursing qualification, this felt like the next step for me and my ‘global health’ career.
Our project with King’s Sierra Leone partnership is based within Connaught Hospital; the main government hospital in Freetown which serves as the referral centre for surgical and medical cases from across Sierra Leone. As the volunteer nurse educator, my role is to work alongside the nurses to create a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) framework that will help to build their knowledge and skills in the clinical setting. I couldn’t do any of this without the help of my Sierra Leonean colleague Rhoda, who is part of the senior nursing team at the hospital. She is a real inspiration and has a passion for education too!
I arrived and hit the ground running, conducting training sessions around vital signs monitoring and ABCDE assessment in my first weeks which were really well received by the nurses and have continued. I work with Rhoda on Monday and Tuesday and then spend time on the wards and in A&E, working alongside the nurses to ensure they are supported to implement the skills they’ve learnt in the classroom. Sessions like that are the highlight of my week!
Over the next few months we hope to hold some workshops with the Matron’s team and the Nurses Board of Sierra Leone to come up with a CPD schedule that we can begin to implement so all the present and future nurses of Connaught Hospital can benefit.