Be the change you want to see in the world. ~ Ghandi

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy New Year Wishes from One Nurse At A Time

Can you believe that the year is already coming to an end? I find it amazing as I get older how much faster time seems to fly. It's almost as if my life is on a constant fast forward!

One Nurse At A Time has had a wonderful year, but we also had several sad parts along the way- we lost two of our very active and incredibly valuable volunteer nurses - Staci Kelley and Nancy Leigh Harless. Both nurses gave their heart and soul to the organization and were incredibly gifted in their talents!

With losing two volunteers we also gained help as well!  Our team has grown in leaps and bounds this year. We are very happy to have David Fox, Helen Jose and Christine Van Horn be part of our team. The three of them have provided tremendous energy and work towards our goals and mission.

As usual Sue has been working non-stop! She has met with several people this year, connecting and marketing our organization, even to top organizations like the Red Cross!  With Sue's never-ending energy, she gives us all life and energy to continue our work for the mission and goals of One Nurse At A Time.

Jo's Mission will be a the big kick-off for the beginning of 2013. We are excited and ready to start the process of assisting new nurse volunteers merge into the volunteering community. We will be reporting on the mission and updating our blog with it's progress.

Lastly, if you have not had the opportunity to see our latest short film we would love for you to take about 3 minutes and watch - we are very honored to be working for this organization and we hope that we can continue to provide assistance, education and help to those who have the passion and drive to volunteer throughout our world.

Here is our video:

Thank you for a wonderful year, looking forward to what 2013 brings us!



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Swaziland: Because One Child Matters - By Lauren Carroll

I recently traveled to Swaziland with the organization One Child Matters formally known as Mission of Mercy.  This trip was my second medical mission trip, my first being India. When I was in nursing school my dream was to travel to Africa and help the amazing people.  I was excited when those pieces started to fall into place.  In November, I spent a memorable ten days learning the Swazi culture, meeting new people and forming lasting bonds.  

A group of twenty five dedicated people came together to serve one purpose, to help the people of Swaziland. The team consisted of eight clinical examiners, two dietitians,  three pharmacy workers, and many support people.  We set up medical clinics in five different care points with the help of Children’s Cup.  In our time in Swaziland we were able to care for 1111 children and adults!

Swaziland is a very beautiful country and I enjoyed being able to spend time with the citizens of Swaziland in their element.  I loved getting to know the translators and building a rapport with them as they would even anticipate which questions we would ask the patients next!  

One moment that was both thrilling and memorable was when I realized the children were truly benefiting from having the Children’s Cup nurse visit them often.  Let me elaborate. As I said earlier I went to India on my first medical mission trip and there was a noticeable difference in the health of these children verses the children in India.  Jessie, the missionary nurse that works hands on with Children’s Cup visits these children regularly to give them checkups and medicines as needed. She is also able to refer them to which doctor they need to follow up with.  The children were still sick and we were able to give them medicines to help the symptoms but knowing they were going to get the follow up they needed even after our team left was very comforting!

Another touching memory would have to be a young child that was sitting by the fire one day as we were taking our lunch break.  It was cold in Swazi this particular day, the boy had on only shorts and a t-shirt with no shoes or even socks.  The caregivers were feeding the local children their food and gave the boy some of the extra food.  His face then lit up and he smiled from ear to ear.  Some of the team members then gave him socks, shoes, and shirts they had brought with them to the care point.  He was warm and full with a huge smile of his face! I realized that is what we are here for to show God’s love to these amazing people!

Watching these children come to the care points with no shoes or jackets walking over two hours to get food was a humbling experience for me.  It is very easy to take everything for granted in America because things are so accessible. To watch the joy that is in these children and the love they have for each other is inspiring. I have honestly learned the joy that comes from the simpleness in life.

The medical mission trip to Swaziland is part of what is building how I view life, shaping my lifestyle.  How I now view my patients is different because I have learned so much about myself as well as my purpose. I am a nurse because God has called me into that career to help others and show His amazing love no matter where I find myself.

I want to thank you, One Nurse at A Time for giving me the opportunity to go on this life changing adventure.  It was a blessing to be able to teach, learn with, and love the amazing people of Swaziland!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jo's Nurses - First One Nurse At A Time Mission

We now have a firm plan for a trip in February 2013 and would like to hear from you of your interest.

There is space for 4 nurses - 2 from Feb 16-23 and 2 from Feb 23 - Mar 2.

Location:  Guatemala.  First week will be working in villages around Rio Dulce in the northeast.  Second week is working in villages around Monte Rico in the southwest.  Flights are in and out of Guatemala City.  I will be accompanying both weeks to be your support/mentor.

Cost to you/Commitment:  $250.  One Nurse At A Time, Jo's Nurses program will pay the rest of your trip costs (approximately $1000 per person).  You must also make a moral commitment to do another volunteer trip by the end of 2014.  Our hope is this mission will get you over the "hump" of going on a first mission, that you will be excited and eager to volunteer again somewhere around the world.

You will also be expected to attend planning meetings and packing meetings prior to the trip to get comfortable with your teammates and participate in the preparations.  At least 1 planning and 1 packing are required (unless you're out of the Seattle area, then we'll provide reading material and phone calls to bring you up to date).  Meetings are 1/5 and 1/26 0930 - noon (usually at Group Health Central) and packing is 2/2 and 2/9 0930 until finished (also at Group Health)

Organization is Guatemala Village Health.  Spanish is helpful, but not an absolute requirement as translators are available.  You'll be asked to not only be flexible and take on various tasks, but will also be asked to assume a specific role such as triage (and teaching triage techniques to the local nurses), patient education (they've done groups for patients about dehydration, back pain, headache, skin issues, for example 5-10 patients with similar issues and give out Tums, tylenol, ibuprofen, etc.)  Training of nursing staff - sharing what and how we work here in the US with the local nurses and health promoters who have much less formal training.  They see lots of diabetics, hypertension, prenatal care, malnutrition ... These will be less clinic based and more village based, and an opportunity to be with people in their home environments.

Please express your interest prior to December 15.  Send an email to  Include a brief introduction of who you are, what your nursing background is and tell us why you want to participate in this mission, how this will impact your career/life, what you anticipate your future in volunteering to be.  Tell us what you do well, what you don't.  What you bring to this mission and why you should be selected to participate.  Don't forget your contact information!  I'll follow up with each of you, conduct a phone interview and present candidates to the board of directors for a decision before the end of December.

Let me know of any questions and hope to hear from you by Dec 15.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mission Trip to Swaziland - By Carleen Rogers

Carleen Rogers is a scholarship recipient who recently returned from her mission.  This is her story.

My recent trip to Swaziland was my sixth international medical mission trip and my second opportunity to visit that particular country. Swaziland has a special place in my heart.  Diseases such as TB, malaria, respiratory illnesses, parasite, fungal and skin infections ravage this country just like most third world countries however, 18% of the sweet people of Swaziland are living with HIV and there are an estimated 69,000 HIV related orphans in Swaziland.  This trip allowed our team to have a small impact on this population by offering medical assessments, medications, reading glasses, and medical referrals. We also just get the chance to smile, touch a hand and offer an ear to listen. 
Our twenty-five member Medical Mercy team traveled together to Swaziland to set up medical clinics at five Children’s Cup care points throughout the small country.   There were eight members of our team that are assessing clinicians, three members that provide pharmacy services, two dieticians and multiple support members.  The team meshed well with one another even though we were from all over the United States and many were meeting for the first time.  Our team was able to provide medical care to eleven hundred and eleven children and community members. 
One of the highlights of my trip was a step away for the clinics for the day to attend a palliative care conference held at the Hope House in Manzini.  Hospice and palliative care is my passion and life work here in the United States so being a part of palliative care in Swaziland was a culmination of my passion for missions and for palliative care.  I was able to offer assessment and treatment options for some of the current patients at Hope House and participate in conversations about improving the end of life care in Swaziland.  My prayer is to return to Swaziland to assist in their efforts in the near future.  
I want to sincerely thank One Nurse at A Time for the gift that enabled me to participate in this trip.  The trip was a blessing in my life and I pray that God used me as a blessing in the lives of the sweet people of Swaziland.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Liberian Handshake - by Liza Leukhardt

 As I sit at my desk attempting to put into words my experience as a mission nurse in Liberia and Guinea I have in front of me two photos that I took during a service at the Christian Revival Church in Monrovia.  I’m trying to understand why these two are my favorites, despite all the sweet ones I took of the many children who surrounded us everywhere we went.  I’m not a particularly religious person, although I do consider myself quite spiritual.  It’s impossible not to be, after twenty years of being a hospice nurse caring for souls and hearts as well as bodies.  I do pray a lot, for peace, for understanding, for a deep and caring connection with my fellow humans.  One of my favorite writers, Annie Lamott says that the only prayers we need are “help” and “thank you”.  I agree.
    I’ve never been much of a churchgoer.  The catholic rituals of my 1950’s childhood pretty much terrified it out of me.  I’ve always found my transcendent experiences in art, nature and music, which can all easily move me to tears.  And yet this particular service in a simple brick church in one of the world’s poorest countries moved me just as much.
    I want to say it was fun, but that’s putting it mildly.  People sang at the top of their lungs, beat the drums, danced and prayed with total abandon.  They let themselves go with the pure joy of their spirits and welcomed me as a friend.  I found myself tearing up a few times because such expressions of spirit are rare for me to witness.  I found myself praying “thank you, thank you, thank you” because my heart was singing with the joy of knowing I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right moment.
    These two photos are of two beautiful Liberian women singing and smiling radiantly into the camera.  They are dressed to the nines in their best church clothes, absolutely glowing with the joy of the moment.  I can’t help grinning when I look at these remembering how, moments later I was pulled into the dance myself.  I found that all I needed to do in Liberia was put my hands out, to be immediately seized by the hand of a smiling Liberian with a warm and friendly touch.
    And yes, all of us teammates needed to put our hands out many times during this trip.  Starting with the delayed arrival of one of the team, going on to the 14 hour truck ride to a remote village on the Liberian border with Guinea over potholes and through mud, to the ultimate abandoning of the truck to the mud, and taking ourselves and all of our medical supplies the 7 miles to Guinea by motorcycle, we put our hands out to the Liberians and prayed, “help, help, help.”  And we were always heard and there were always hands ready to hold us and pull us through.
    The experience was far from purely spiritual.  I have a sense of humor and so does God.  I had been praying to be more grounded, but I didn’t expect to be squishing through mud up to my ankles, or having the mud cushion my fall when flying off a motorcycle.  It was pretty hilarious putting my esoteric holistic nursing knowledge of proper bowel care to the test while squatting in a latrine.  And though I do enjoy nature, being awakened at 3 am by roosters, goats and a spider the size of my hand crawling across my pillow is an entirely different matter.  I can’t wait to do it again!
    So, on this snowy afternoon with the wind howling outside my window, I sit at my desk and look fondly at the two beautiful faces smiling at me.  I think of putting my hand out as we were saying good bye to the villagers before leaving for Monrovia.  And I think of how many dozens of hands reached for mine and held it, and the beautiful faces attached to those hands.  And I say, “thank you, thank you, thank you.”