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UK nurse to lead airborne eye hospital

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A UK ophthalmic nurse has been appointed head nurse on board a charity-run airborne eye hospital.

Angela Purcell has joined Orbis, the sight-saving charity, as head nurse of its “flying eye hospital”.

Last year she embarked on her first volunteer role aboard the aeroplane in Indonesia.  On her return to the UK, and following interviews, she was appointed as the charity’s head nurse from this month.

The flying eye hospital is a fully equipped teaching facility inside a DC-10 aircraft. It is manned by staff and clinical volunteers from around the world and seeks to empower local teams in developing countries so they can provide the eye care their community needs.

Ms Purcell qualified in 1985 after training at Addenbrookes Hospital and worked in general theatres for several years. 

In 1992 she worked at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London and remained there as a senior theatre practitioner until 2000, when she moved to the Wallace Eye Block in Auckland, New Zealand, as a scrub and recovery nurse. 

On her return to the UK in 2001 she was employed by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust as the ophthalmic speciality lead, managing both the ophthalmic theatres and day unit, and actively participating in the setting up of two satellite units in meeting the objectives of the National Action on Cataracts project.

Most recently she was working for Moorfields as a senior staff nurse.

Speaking of her appointment at Orbis, Ms Purcell said:  “I want to say how very privileged I am to be part of the flying eye hospital team. It is a great honour to be able to work with this organisation that I have always held with the highest of regards for all these years.”

She said was looking forward to her first overseas assignment and asked if there was any particular country she would most like to go to, she said: “All of them – but I would get exceptionally excited if they sent me to Jamaica. My parents live in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.”


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