On Friday the Africa Mercy ward officially closed. One by one, the remaining patients trickled out, being either discharged or transferred to a local facility.
Us nurses have been very busy during the outreach. We have had a grand total of zero vacation days since June, we have worked various amounts of overtime (when we are short staffed or have an increased acuity there are no other floors to pull nurses from), and are all pretty tired and ready for a break.
But it was very sad to see the patients leave and later walk through the empty wards. We been taking care of the most adorable collection of African children.
In the after noon, we celebrated with an ice cream party which was followed by a ward nurse dinner. Nursing is one of the most unglamorous professions I think of. I won't go into details as to why, but there have been many times in my short nursing career that I have thought, "I don't get paid enough to this"(Now I think, "Paying volunteers should never have to do this").
After seeing your co-workers live in scrubs and pony tails, it's always fun and surprising to see each other dresses nicely. There were about thirty lovely Mercy Ships nurses, not in scrubs, looking lovely at the Royal hotel on Friday night.
A ship full of young, female nurses and very few young men. No wonder the boys here are always smiling.