Connect : Connect Magazine November 2012
through the body systems, reviewing the relevant anatomy and physiology, and then choosing the most common medical conditions in that system to study. For each medical condition, we would identify the causes, signs and symptoms, investigations required and treatment options. However, after a few months of teaching in this way, I felt it was important to review the situation. I sought feedback from the nurses and discovered that they wanted case study based learning. I checked the idea with the nurse manager and chief of the emergency department, and then obtained permission to take photos/video of important or interesting cases, and design PowerPoint presentations around them. This makes the learning more interesting, and enables the nurses to relate to the content in a more effective way. It is great to see the staff changing their practice, and following the methods that have been passed on to them. For example, when I arrived they were doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) with fve chest compressions to two breaths. They now follow international guidelines of 30 chest compression to two breaths. Nearly a year into my Australian Volunteers assignment, my greatest lesson has been learning to respond to the needs of the staff, rather than what I think the needs should be. It is also important to review things as you go along, and to be fexible. I think it is also important to remember that you cannot force change. Any attempts to force behaviour are not sustainable. If I impose an idea that has not got support of the staff, then they may do it when I am there, but it won't be done on weekends (when I am absent), and it won't be done after my assignment ends. Instead it is important to infuence the staff, so that they own it. Then there is a good chance that genuine and long lasting change will take place. Finally, it is important to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed with the situation. Many of the diffculties are systemic diffculties that are way beyond the ability of one person to change. Other diffculties are cultural. It is important to keep a positive attitude, and to do what you can do. There is a very common phrase in Khmer that basically translates to ‘step by step’. It is a phrase used very frequently by Cambodian nationals. Remembering to do things ‘step by step’ will empower you to do what you can, and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Connect Magazine July 2012 Edition
Connect Magazine March 2013