This morning I heard whispers that we were having a ship fire drill in the afternoon. As the appointed time approached the sky began to look as it might bring forth the second flood. Which would not be an unlikely scenario seeing that it is rainy season in Liberia.
I asked one of the long-term nurses if the fire drill would be cancelled if it started to down pour. I was answered by a loud, German voice over the ship's intercom, "This is the captain, we are going to be having a fire drill in a few minutes. Please bring your umbrella." (he sounded remarkably like the California Governor) And so as I joined the rest of the crew on the port with umbrella in hand my question was answered.
Ship culture is very interesting and has it's own lingo and lyrics of which I am beginning to decipher.
All week I have been going to orientation meetings. The ward system is very simple and user friendly. I can't wait for the patients to get here. 16 woman are being flown in from up-country by the red cross for VVF surgery this weekend. The eye clinic will also be starting next week.
The challenges presented by the prospect of working with nurses from around the world has come into a bit of a closer view. Each country has it's own correct way of doing things and I am beginning to understand how much we will all need for grace and flexibility when working on the ward. A few differences include: Nurses from Europe don't assess their patients with stethoscopes. No breath sounds are listened too and no bowel sounds are auscultated. It's the physicians responsibility. This is shocking to an American ICU nurse.
Another difference is that English nurse's push their IV antibiotics. I give zantac over a pump.
The thought of pushing antibiotics is terrifying.
Slowly, I am starting to feel a little more comfortable. I am very impressed with the organization and am convinced that this will be an amazing year. Never before have I been exposed to so many cultures. It is very hard for me to believe that there are many other places in the world that have 400 people from over 35 countries and all ages and walks of life united for a common purpose. As challenging and stressful as that can be, it is quite remarkable. My view of myself in relation to the world will forever be changed. Regardless of culture, dress, sense of humor, dialect or color we were all created in the image and likeness of the same God.