AAMC Nurses Impact the World Outside AAMC’s Walls
In May 2009, the Annapolis Capital profiled an AAMC surgical team who in February 2009 travelled to Guatemala with the U.S.-based nonprofit Helps International to provide corrective eye surgery to those in need. The team, comprised of ophthalmologist John Avallone, M.D., surgical nurses Lynn Buckingham-Fishel, R.N., and Stephanie Thompson, R.N., and surgical technologist Walter Scott, completed 26 surgeries during their two-week stay, mostly on children.
The story highlighted what then was the latest example of AAMC nurses and technicians donating their time, compassion, and expertise to those in need of medical care. In October 2009, AAMC Emergency Department staff nurse Stephanie Otten, R.N., picked up where the previous group left off, extending the international goodwill of AAMC’s nursing staff to India.
Between October 4 – 19, 2009, Stephanie joined Operation Smile in Gangtok, the capital city of the Indian state of Sikkim. A global nonprofit organization, Operation Smile provides free cleft lip and cleft palate corrective surgery for children across the world.
During her time in India, Stephanie provided post-operative care, ensuring patients healed appropriately, and worked to manage patient pain while teaching children and their parents how to care for their surgical sites to prevent infection and maximize healing while minimizing scarring.
“These families would travel for days to get to the facility where we held operations,” said Stephanie. “Over a two-day period, we screened more than 150 patients for potential surgery, and of those candidates, 133 patients received surgery over the next five days. We were graciously welcomed into a local hospital and took over an entire ward, operating in three operating rooms.”
AAMC pediatric hospitalist Michael R. Clemmens, M.D., accompanied Stephanie on the trip, and joined international teams comprised of physicians, nurses, anesthesiologists, speech pathologists, dentists, and technicians from across the globe.
“I can’t say enough about the experiences of my recent trip,” said Stephanie. “We gave a nine-year-old the chance to go to school and to learn to speak, we provided a 13-year-old a smile she can be proud of, and a 50-year-old man who had lived his entire life with a facial deformity the chance to hold his head high. At the end of the day, I can honestly say I am the one who feels privileged to have had the opportunity to go on this trip.”
Keep reading the AAMC Health Blog for more information on the international mission work of AAMC’s nursing staff.