York Health Services nursing trio help train Ethiopian nurses


WACHS nurses Rhiann Gosper and Helen Guinness (on ground) demonstrate a log roll used to move people who have suffered trauma without causing further injury.
WACHS nurses Rhiann Gosper and Helen Guinness (on ground) demonstrate a log roll used to move people who have suffered trauma without causing further injury.

THREE York Health Service nurses recently spent two weeks in Ethiopia training 42 nurses in orthopaedic nursing.

WA Country Health Service (WACHS) registered nurse Ann Mitchell and clinical nurses Rhiann Gosper and Helen Guinness shared their knowledge with registered nurses receiving extra tuition at Addis Ababa University.

Australian Doctors for Africa (ADFA) sponsored them to attend.

They covered basic theatre skills, wound care, infection control, hand hygiene, pressure care, vital signs and neurovascular observations.

Ms Mitchell said she had been to Ethiopia four times now but only involved other nurses from York Health Service three years ago.

“I’m always proud of the nurses I take with me to Ethiopia, they do such a good job,” she said.

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“Country nurses have a wide range of experience. Nothing fazes them, making them perfect teachers for African nurses, who often face a lack of resources and modern equipment in their hospitals.”

She said it was definitely two-way learning, having taken away as much as they were able to teach.

“We’ve learnt how stoic and resilient African nurses can be, as well as how resourceful,” she said.

“It’s helped us be super appreciative of the conditions and the resources we have in Australia.”

York Health Service manager Anne Coyne, who has a background in international aid work, said she feels nurses get valuable professional and personal rewards from participating in programs like the one run by ADFA.

“I’m keen to educate nurses away from their comfort zones,” Ms Coyne said.

“Issues of language and culture usually prompt us to learn from a different perspective, so to throw in work skills provides an added layer for teaching in a different culture.”

All the Ethiopian nurses who participated in the training passed their assessments and received certificates of attendance from the faculty of medicine medical director at Addis Ababa University.