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Repeat Volunteer Returns to Teach


Audrey Ferguson, previously featured on the Bangladesh Health project blog, is a repeat volunteer at IUBAT, whom, during her third visit back to Bangladesh, taught nursing for the first time.  Audrey, pictured above on the left with a colleague at a nursing conference, is usually busy with her volunteer efforts, but she was gracious enough to share a story about her teaching experience this summer in Dhaka:

This summer at IUBAT was my first time teaching nursing, but it was my third time living in Bangladesh.  Initially, I felt a bit overwhelmed looking at the courses I was supposed to teach, Medical-Surgical Nursing and Mental Health Nursing, class and clinical for both; however, I caught on pretty quickly.  It helped that my students were very nice and supportive.  I also had quite the small group, only two, so I was able to give each of them a lot of individualized attention.

One of the most amazing things I’ve seen in my career happened this summer at the Bangladesh National Institute of Mental Health.  We were on our fourth clinical day at that site, and it was to be our first day on the male ward.  In the past three weeks we had completed an orientation and worked on the female ward after talking about different forms of expression and communication.  The week before we had used art supplies to encourage some of our less talkative female patients.  On this first day in the male ward, both of my students were feeling very hesitant about meeting their patients, so I assigned a few cases to them and we got started.  After conducting their initial assessments and vital signs, one of my students, Firoza, asked if she could use the art supplies from the week before.  She explained that one of her patients believed that he could not eat food because he had no liver.  She correctly identified this as a delusion, then said she had an idea for helping him understand his digestive system better.

Upon returning to the patient she proceeded to draw a picture of the entire digestive system, then labelled each part and explained it’s function.  She then got the patient and his brother involved by showing the patient how to do a digestive assessment on his brother.  She went through all the steps first, then she guided the patient to do the same assessment on his brother.  Finally, when he was done, she had him do the assessment on himself.  From this exercise, he concluded that he was the same as his brother.  Using this information, she and his brother asked him to try having a few bites of his breakfast of hard boiled eggs and rice.  He agreed to eat, but was feeling too weak to do so himself.

After performing good hand hygiene, Firoza then helped to feed the patient in the Bangladeshi way, by carefully crushing bites of food with her fingers and feeding him the small bites with her hand.

Her careful approach and the rapport she built with the patient and his brother really helped the patient be able to eat again, which brought him the strength he needed to recover.  I could not have been more proud as an instructor to see my student interacting with her patient with such confidence, and using such great critical thinking and problem-solving skills.  It was this experience that helped me to realize that even though my class was small, they have the potential to make a huge impact on the lives of others.”

We appreciate you sharing this story, Audrey, and the Project is happy to have instructors such as yourself guiding the nursing students at IUBAT!  We hope to see you back in Bangladesh soon, and best of luck on your current and future nursing adventures.
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