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RN’s time in Nepal drives home the value of resources

RN Amanda Gorton’s primary role is as an instrument nurse, so volunteering in a Nepalese hospital has solidified her admiration for nurses working in developing countries with limited resources.

Gorton, who is a project co-ordinator for the Gynaecological Oncology Surgical Department at Chris O'Brien Lifehouse, volunteers for the Open Heart International Program. Through this, she works with the burns reconstructive team, primarily dealing with contractures and burn-related injuries.

“My role is to organise the setup of the theatres, make sure we have instruments and equipment ready for our surgery, and also working alongside the Nepalese nurses, teaching them and working closely with them,” she says.

The hospital Gorton worked at in Nepal suffered structural damage as a result of the recent earthquake. She says patients were nursed in tents and tarpaulins erected outside the hospital. The Nepalese health professionals even performed a Caesarean Section in the courtyard for fear that the buildings would not hold up.

“They've just been dealing with the mass influx of people who have been affected by the earthquake,” Gorton says. “The staff have been working extremely hard and in very, very difficult conditions.

Gorton says her work in Nepal has given her a greater appreciation for her work with Lifehouse in Australia. “I realise how lucky we are to have the equipment and environment and resources that we do,” she explains. “I'm definitely more conscious of limiting wastage as a result of seeing just how valued resources are in [developing] countries.

“I would like to do this every year, whether it be in Nepal or another country," she says. "I'd certainly like to keep up this work.”

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