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Volunteer nurse promotes value of patient-focused care

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A Welsh nurse, who has just returned home from a charity stint on a hospital ship, has highlighted her experience of providing care based on wellbeing rather than tasks.

Janna Hughes, a 29-year-old nurse from Llandrindod Wells, has recently spent time volunteering for Mercy Ships, an international charity that runs the world’s largest civilian floating hospital.

Working with a team of more than 450 other volunteers, she helped deliver free care, relief aid, community development and long-term sustainable development in Madagascar.

The charity Mercy Ships operates the Africa Mercy, a 16,000 tonne state-of-the-art ship that docks in African countries for up to 10 months at a time, to provide clinical care to poor communities.

Reflecting on her time volunteering, Ms Hughes said: “The experience was truly unique and I immediately loved the work and got stuck in.

“What makes Mercy Ships so special is the nursing care, which is not based around ‘tasks’ like in the UK, but rather focussed on patients and family well-being,” she said.

“This was so important as many of the patients were physically disfigured and isolated from their own communities,” she added. “Showing patients that they were accepted for who they were and bringing them into an environment of love was incredibly fulfilling.”

Mercy Ships

Volunteer nurse promotes value of patient-focused care

Source: Mercy Ships

The Africa Mercy

Lea Milligan, executive director of the charity, said: “Mercy Ships would not be able to carry out its life-changing work without dedicated volunteers such as Janna who give up their time.”

The Africa Mercy, which has just left Madagascar, will arrive in Benin next week for 10 months, where prospective patients will be identified and begin a free screening and treatment process.

Ms Hughes said she had already put herself forward again for a trip to Cameroon in 2017.

She said: “Two months was just not long enough,” she said. “I am aiming to fundraise enough money to volunteer for a full field service of 10 months next in Cameroon.”


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