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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Committed to Haiti for the Long Haul"

Jeanie Fry, RN will be traveling to Hospital Sacre in Milo, Haiti for one week. She will be part of surgical team volunteering with the organization CRUDEM. This will be Jeanie's fourth trip to Haiti since the devastating 2010 earthquake. Jeanie feels a strong attachment to Haiti and it's people stating, "I know I can't change things on a large scale, but I feel it's important to do what I can to help individuals. I feel very strongly that we all need to take the extra step, go out of our own comfort zones and help others".

Jeanie Fry has been a registered nurse for 28 years, working at Barnes Jewish Hospital in St Louis, Missouri. She is a 1984 diploma graduate of The Jewish Hospital of St Louis School of Nursing. She is married with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Jeanie has always had an interest in mission work, but never had the opportunity to pursue it. When the 2010 earthquake struck in Haiti, she immediately began trying to find a way to go there to help. Jeanie worked with Project Medishare for Haiti at a tent field hospital at the airport in Port Au Prince March 2010 and then again in June 2010. She returned in February 2011 for a week at Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port Au Prince, which is run by Project Medishare. In Jeanie's own words, "I feel committed to Haiti for the long haul now".  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sue Averill Speaks to Students at Seattle High School

On Friday, March 23 One Nurse's president Sue Averill spoke about Malnutrition at Chief Sealth High School in Seattle, WA for World Water Week.  The students have been studying water issues around the world: the impact on food and hunger; causes such as migration, poverty, war/conflict, drought and rising food prices; and parts of the world most affected - Africa, Asia and some parts of Central America.  Malnutrition is lack of sufficient calories as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).  A robust discussion followed about the impact of such factors as birth control/spacing, religion, politics, culture, national law and these ideas were tied to current events.
Sue described her work in feeding centers in Africa, treating children 6 months to 5 years who are most affected, anthropologic and medical determinations of the diagnosis of malnutrition, and treatment of underlying causes.  She showed nutrition treatment products and students were all able to taste Plumpy Nut paste, a staple of nutrition treatment.  A wrap up question and answer period with slides ended the presentation.
If you'd like to learn more about Malnutrition and the role nurses play, go to

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Stop and Drink the Chai!"

This February I had the opportunity to be part of a medical team which was organized by e3 Partners to go to India. We focused on two areas, first Pathankot, Punjab, where we went to smaller villages for out-patient clinics. Second, we had a clinic at a UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) camp that was in New Delhi.  We were able to have five clinics and see 1734 people. Our clinic staff included 2 MD’s, 1 dentist, 1 eye MD, 2 RN’s and 2 pharmacists. Our focus was on primary medicine, especially with our limited resources. Malnutrition, parasites, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections and hypertension were among most of what we saw. We also did many well baby checks and reassurance to mom’s they were doing well and teaching for those who needed assistance.

I enjoyed getting to meet people from other cultures, to learning the differences and to seeing how much alike we are. We all have dreams and desires, we want our children to grow up healthy and hopefully better than us. We worked primarily with Sikh’s and Hindis, which I have had limited experiences with in my practice at home.  The greatest difference, other than the masses of people, was the religious practices. Their religion seemed to be much more intertwined in their lives and taken more seriously. Men and women were separated when it came to public events. Also the hospitality, to each village we went, we would stop at he host family’s home. We were treated to chai and short bread cookies. During mid-afternoon clinics we could count on being brought chai. Then at the end of the day back to our host family for more chai, and cookies. They are a very hospitable and giving people. I never was into chai tea prior, but now, “stop and drink the chai” became my slogan.

The most difficult part of the trip was seeing the children with malnutrition and parasites. You just want your children to get a healthy start. It was also difficult to hear the stories at the refugee camp of torture, beatings and imprisonment prior to escaping Afghanistan and coming to the refugee camp.

There were many memorable experiences, let me focus on three. First, joy in the children’s faces. I had the opportunity to spend time and play with the children between seeing patients. It reminded me children are children. Their joy and fresh outlook on life, it is very infectious. Second, was a man I met who survived an Afghan prison. He talked of beatings and torture, and escaping with his family, his health problems he now has and the effects it has had on his wife and children, both emotionally and physically. The effects have become generational. Third is the story of faith. We had a woman come to our clinic to share how she had been raised from the dead. Our team leader spent time with her, listening to her story. She told of how she had died and was wrapped for cremation. A man in white came and told her husband to go to this man and have him come and pray for his wife. He did and his wife sat up, fully alive. Our team leader spent time investigating, interviewing people involved and confirming the story. I have heard of such stories. It was an amazing story of faith.

Having opportunities to go and be part of medical teams, reaching out to those in need, has been such an enriching experience in my life. It has been a time of personal growth, faith building and helps me as a nurse in my practice at home. I look forward to my next opportunity and want to say thank you to One Nurse at a Time for helping this trip become a reality.

-Ken Lobe, RN

Saturday, March 24, 2012

World TB Day - Highlighting the Work of Partners In Health

Tuberculosis (TB) is a common and in many cases lethal infectious disease. It usually attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active TB infection cough or sneeze. Roughly one in ten people living with the disease eventually develop an active case of TB. If left untreated, TB kills more than 50 percent of people who develop active cases. 
Symptoms of TB include a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats and weight loss. Diagnosis relies on chest X-rays, a tuberculin skin test, blood tests as well as microscopic examination and microbiological culture of bodily fluids.
Treatment is difficult and requires long courses of multiple antibiotics – typically six months for TB. Social contacts are also screened and treated if necessary. When people fail to complete the drug regimen for TB, the disease becomes resistant to treatment. It often develops into a more deadly form of TB called multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB).


One third of the world's population live with TB, and new infections occur at a rate of about one per second. And the number of people who become sick with tuberculosis each year continues to grow.
The World Health Organization estimates that there are currently 13.7 million chronic active cases of TB, 9.3 million new cases each year and 1.8 million annual deaths. People in the developed world are more likely to contract tuberculosis because their immune systems are more likely to be compromised due to HIV/AIDS. Today, TB is the leading cause of death for people infected with HIV/AIDS.
This disease offers a glaring example of the health care inequities that exist in the world. Drugs to fight TB have been in existence for 50 years, yet the disease continues to kill 5,000 people every day – nearly all of them in developing countries.


For over two decades, PIH has treated and prevented TB, MDR-TB and HIV/TB in some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the world. Our community-based approach to care has resulted in some of the highest cure rates and lowest treatment default rates ever recorded.
These results prove that health problems once thought untreatable can be addressed effectively, even in poor and geographically remote settings. Our goal is to share the success of our approach on a broad scale.
The community-based approach utilizes community health workers who are trained and employed to serve as a vital link between their villages and medical facilities. They deliver drugs and treatment support to patients requiring complex drug regimens, and provide both TB drugs and antiretroviral therapy to patients co-infected with TB and HIV/AIDS. They monitor the health of their neighbors, perform active case finding, and refer sick patients to the hospital –often accompanying them there. 
To increase the impact of our approach and avoid the creation of parallel systems, we partner with local governments and provide technical assistance to build up the public sector. Three of our original MDR-TB pilot projects have successfully made the jump to national programs, and now provide training and technical assistance to other countries in their regions.

All information taken from the Partners in Health Website:

Friday, March 23, 2012

2 ONAAT scholarship nurses pack for Vietnam

Husband and wife team Rob and Staci Swan will be leaving for Vietnam tomorrow with the organization Good Samaritan Medical Dental Ministry.  The organization as a whole does mission work in rural Vietnam, but this particular aspect of their mission is to promote emergency medicine in Vietnam and helping the medical community develop this as a true specialty. Rob will be part of the team teaching a multi module trauma and emergency medicine course to Vietnamese nurses of all specialties who are interested in moving into emergency medicine.  Staci will be teaching a pediatric emergency module, specifically addressing common emergencies and pediatric trauma.

One Nurse At A Time would like to send thoughts and prayers for safe travels for them and their team.   We look forward hearing about their trip and sharing their stories and photos!

Rob Swan, RN, CEN, received a BA in biology from the University of Alaska and his BSN from Creighton University.  For five years he worked as a flight nurse in Alaska and an emergency nurse at hospitals in Louisiana, Alaska and finally Seattle where he discovered One Nurse at a Time.  He is currently enrolled in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Yale University and has volunteered the past two years teaching part of a trauma course to Vietnamese nurses with the Good Samaritan Medical and Dental Ministries.  He previously spent one year in both Seoul, South Korea and Oslo, Norway as part of his military and work duties.  In his free time he wonders at the marvel that is his four year old daughter, plays hockey and fixes cars. 

Staci Swan is a certified pediatric emergency nurse born and raised in the Cajun Heartland, but now rugged Fairbanks, Alaska is her home. It’s been almost six years since she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Louisiana State University and subsequently has worked in emergency departments in five states. She is currently employed at Yale-New Haven Hospital in the pediatric emergency department while her husband, Rob, is pursuing his graduate degree in nursing at Yale University. In addition to volunteering in Vietnam with One Nurse at a Time, they are both are committed to volunteering with the Alaska Summer Research Academy. She has also tutored for Goodwill Industries and volunteered at a shelter in New Orleans, LA, post Hurricane Katrina. She especially loves pediatric medicine and soon plans to pursue an advanced degree as a pediatric nurse practitioner, while continuing my volunteer efforts locally and internationally.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

World Water Day 2012

Water is essential for life. The amount of fresh water on earth is limited, and its quality is under constant pressure. Preserving the quality of fresh water is important for the drinking-water supply, food production and recreational water use. Water quality can be compromised by the presence of infectious agents, toxic chemicals, and radiological hazards.
Safe water supplies, hygienic sanitation and good water management are fundamental to global health. Almost one tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by:
  • increasing access to safe drinking water;
  • improving sanitation and hygiene; and
  • improving water management to reduce risks of water-borne infectious diseases, and accidental drowning during recreation.
Annually, safer water could prevent:
  • 1.4 million child deaths from diarrhoea;
  • 500 000 deaths from malaria;
  • 860 000 child deaths from malnutrition; and
  • 280 000 deaths from drowning.
In addition, 5 million people can be protected from being seriously incapacitated from lymphatic filariasis and another 5 million from trachoma.

Recommended measures

Efforts to improve water, sanitation and hygiene interact with each other to boost overall health. Access to sanitation, such as simple latrines in communities, prevents drinking water contamination from human waste and reduces infections. High-tech public health measures are not necessarily the best: frequent hand-washing with soap and safe storage of drinking water are high-impact practices.
Environmental management effectively lowers the rates of malaria and other diseases spread by insects and prevents death. These measures include eliminating habitats - such as standing water - for breeding, and screening doors and windows for protection from mosquitoes.

Economic benefits

Investment to improve drinking water, sanitation, hygiene and water resource management systems makes strong economic sense: every dollar invested leads to up to eight dollars in benefits. US$ 84 billion a year could be regained from the yearly investment of US$ 11.3 billion needed to meet the water and sanitation targets under the Millennium Development Goals.
In addition to the value of saved human lives, other benefits include higher economic productivity, more education, and health-care savings.
***All information above taken from the WHO website:

For more information about other organizations working tirelessly to provide clean water to at risk populations click on their logos to the right.  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Celebrate Certified Nurses

One Nurse At A Time would like to recognize those nurses who have taken the time and energy to become specialized in their area of nursing.  Certified Nurses Day is a national day to honor and recognize the important achievement of nursing specialty and subspecialty certification. Certification is a milestone of personal excellence along the professional journey.

It is our goal for humanitarian nursing to be considered a nursing specialty.  Humanitarian nursing is unlike any other kind of nursing.  Out on mission, nurses are often be the only experienced care provider and are called on to wear multiple hats - nurse, doctor, pharmacist, lab tech, administrator, social worker, logistician, housekeeper, etc.  Humanitarian nursing can not be taken lightly as lives are often at stake.  Many American nurses are aghast at the differences in health care in the third world compared to the relative ease of access and multitude of treatment options we are accustomed to.  It is imperative for the humanitarian nurse to have knowledge of the endemic diseases to the areas they are traveling.  Most of these diseases have been eradicated in the US or are very rarely seen in an industrialized nation.  Treatment of these diseases is very specific and should be verified by the World Health Organization (WHO), Ministry of Health (MIH) or other larger humanitarian organizations that have treatment plans in effect.

We at One Nurse At A Time (ONAAT) now have free educational modules on our website where nurses can read and learn about cholera, malaria, malnutrition and measles.  Sue Averill, RN and co-founder of ONAAT has also written a introduction into volunteer nursing called "Humanitarian Nursing 101".  Future additions to this site include surgical nursing, maternal/child nursing and others.  If you have experience in either of these fields or would like to submit your own educational module, please contact us at  We would appreciate your comments and feedback.

Remember, we are making a difference ONE NURSE AT A TIME!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

2 ONAAT Scholarship Nurses Leave for Haiti and Honduras this Saturday!

Beth Langlais, MN, RN is traveling to Haiti with the organization Christian Medical Dental Association March 17 - 25. 
"I will be working with a team of 20-30 medical professionals in a free medical clinic set up at a school for 6 days. We will be providing medical, dental, physical therapy, medications, etc. to the Haitian people. I am very excited and nervous about this trip. It is my first real medical mission as a licensed, experienced nurse. I did spend ten weeks living in Costa Rica during nursing school, providing medical care the the people there. It was the best experience of my life.  While getting my Master's degree, I have learned a lot about the injustice, suffering, and lack of adequate medical care globally. I have become very passionate about these issues and want to do everything I can to change them. I am especially interested in improving the health of women and infants because this is my clinical area here. I can't wait to go into the field and give all I can to the Haitian people."

Robin Phillips, RN is traveling with the organization Friends of Barnabas to Plena Blanca, Honduras March 17-25.  
"I have the privilege of joining a Mountain Medical Mission Team to Honduras sponsored by the Friends of Barnabas Foundation (FOBF). As a team we will travel to selected villages to provide care. The village is notified in advance of the date, time, and services that will be offered. Our team is comprised of nurses, nursing students, oral surgeon, translators, and non-medical volunteers. We will set up stations to provide preventative and primary care.  Stations include anti-parasite, vitamin A, general medical, eye, dental and prayer.  This is my first medical mission trip. I graduated from nursing school in 2009 and entered into my second career. My desire to become a trained healthcare professional was a response to a very specific calling. I have longed to serve in this field as a trained professional, providing expert and compassionate care. My expectation is to serve the people of Honduras in addition to my team with a loving and tender heart. I am grateful that I have been prepared for this moment."

The members of One Nurse At A Time would like to send thoughts and prayers their way for safe travels.  We look forward to sharing their stories when they return home!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Most Innocent of All - The Babies!

“Learning about how difficult it is to get the most basic things in life such as food, a secure shelter, and basic healthcare was difficult and humbling to accept,” reflected Nneka Matlock, RN about her recent trip to Haiti.  Nneka traveled with the non profit group Hands Up for Haiti this past January.  Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.  According to Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, “Roughly half of all Haitians live in absolute poverty (earning less than $1 a day) and have no access to clean water”.  In the recent publication of the Global Health Observatory Data Repository by the World Health Organization, of every thousand children born in Haiti, 70 die before reaching the age of 1.  Nneka’s group was determined to make a difference in this statistic.
The January Hands Up for Haiti’s mission trip to Cap Haitien, Haiti was primarily a pediatric and neonatal focused mission trip. In total, they rendered health care services to 139 babies, children, and adults and an additional 26 orphans.  They taught “Helping Babies Breathe”, a course that emphasizes skilled attendance at birth, assessment of every baby, temperature support, stimulation to breathe, and assisted ventilation as needed, all within "The Golden Minute" after birth. Approximately twenty-seven traditional birth attendants, nurses, doctors, and community members attended the class.  The Hands Up for Haiti group was also able to provide a Newborn Assessment and S.T.A.B.L.E. lecture for six nurses who will be working in a newly developed neonatal unit.    The acronym stands for the things health care providers need to check to stabilize a neonate after birth: Sugar, Temperature, Airway, Blood pressure, Labs, and Emotional support to families.  On the trip, the team also set-up a mother and baby unit, labor and delivery unit, and neonatal care unit for an expanding Christian charity hospital that will be providing free and paid health care services to the community.

One of the most memorable moments for Nneka occured when the team had a little downtime before dinner. “There were mountains upon mountains just behind the compound where we stayed. Some of the volunteers and our Haitian translators would hike up those mountains in the evening time. One evening, a group of us walked up the mountains. We passed local houses with people cooking and doing their hair outside.  Little kids followed us as we walked pass and started up the mountains behind the houses. The higher we walked, looking down we could see other mountains around us, the clouds were so close to our heads. And we finally made it to the top. There someone had made a shelter of wooden frames and a tin roof only- no walls. Under this shelter, on top of the mountain was an exhilarating and memorable moment. On the top of this mountain, we all gathered in a circle holding hands, prayed together for our work in Haiti to benefit many people, and sang songs of praises. It was a moment in which all cultural differences were set aside and we all became one!”

Nneka Matlock, RN has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a Masters degree in Nursing from the University of Maryland at Baltimore 's Clinical Nurse Leader program. Her motivation for becoming a nurse stemmed from her experience as a health volunteer in the Peace Corps in Ghana , West Africa . While there, she worked with an organization that helped malnourished children, mothers, and lactating/pregnant women; a support group for people living with HIV/AIDS; and an orphanage. Her work included an array of health education, home health visits, and grant/proposal writing for income-generating projects. The Peace Corps experience has been an invaluable learning tool and motivation in her life.

Nneka is currently a NICU nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring , MD where she has the chance to help the tiniest, most precious gifts- the babies! When she's not working, she enjoys traveling, reading, foreign films, learning about other cultures, and the outdoors.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Celebrate International Women's Day

5 Facts about Women's Health 
from the World Health Organization:
1. Women and girls continue to face gender-based vulnerabilities that require urgent attention - especially in sub-Saharan Africa where 80% of all women living with HIV are located. Improving women and girls access to antiretroviral therapy, HIV and testing and a range of care, treatment and support services (such as screening for cervical cancer or CD4 count diagnoses) requires specific targets and benchmarks for women and girls.

2. Even though early marriage is on the decline, an estimated 100 million girls will marry before their 18th birthday over the next 10 years. This is one third of the adolescent girls in developing countries (excluding China). Young married girls often lack knowledge about sex and the risks of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.

3. Every day, 1600 women and more than 10 000 newborns die from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Almost 99% of maternal and 90% of neonatal mortalities occur in the developing world.

4. In most countries, women tend to be in charge of cooking. When they cook over open fires or traditional stoves, they breathe in a mix of hundreds of pollutants on a daily basis. This indoor smoke is responsible for half a million of the 1.3 million annual deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among women worldwide. In comparison, only about 12% of COPD deaths among men each year are related to indoor smoke. During pregnancy, exposure of the developing embryo to such harmful pollutants may cause low birth weight or even stillbirth.

5. Once thought to occur mainly in wealthier countries, the health impacts of cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, depression and other mental, neurological and substance abuse (MNS) disorders are increasingly felt by women globally. In fact, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) account for 80% of deaths among adult women in high-income countries; 25% of deaths among adult women in low-income countries are attributable to NCD.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Local Opportunities to Help Midwest Tornado Victims

If you're wanting to help the tornado victims from the latest devastating twisters to rip through the midwest this past Friday, check with your local Medical Reserve Corp Chapter or American Red Cross Chapter.  Both organizations need and use nurses with all different skills sets.  Find your local chapter in our directory of organizations under "disaster" at:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Welcome Back Nneka!

One Nurse At A Time would like to welcome home Nneka Matlock, the first 2012 scholarship nurse, from her medical mission to Haiti!  Nneka traveled with Hands Up For Haiti providing direct medical care for pediatric patients as well as neonatal training and education to doctors, nurses, and traditional birth attendants on neonatal assessment, resuscitation, and care. She also planned to do an assessment of the existing nursery at the teaching hospital in an effort to fill in the gaps with education and equipment.

Nneka has a Bachelor’s in Public Relations and a second degree Masters in Nursing from the University of Maryland at Baltimore 's Clinical Nurse Leader program. Her motivation for becoming a nurse stemmed from her experience as a health volunteer in the Peace Corps in Ghana , West Africa . While there, she worked with an organization that helped malnourished children, mothers, and lactating/pregnant women; a support group for people living with HIV/AIDS; and an orphanage. Her work included an array of health education, home health visits, and grant/proposal writing for income-generating projects. The Peace Corps experience has been an invaluable learning tool and motivation in her life.

She is currently a NICU nurse at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring , Maryland where she gets the chance to help the tiniest, most precious gifts- the babies! When she's not working, she enjoys traveling, reading, foreign films, learning about other cultures, and the outdoors.

Stay tuned to see photos and hear the details of her trip!

OR/Surgical and Post Op Nurses Needed

Cascade Medical Team is in need of OR/Surgical and PACU nurses for their June Trip to Solola, Guatemala.
Trip dates are June 16-27, 2012.
Please visit their website to download the application:

This all-volunteer team, whose participants pay their own expenses, was formed in 2002 as a means to improve the health of the Mayan people of the Guatemala highlands. The team has provided medical and dental care to more than 14,000 Guatemalan adults and children and performed more than 1000 surgeries. The team has also installed hundreds of simple energy efficient cooking stoves in Guatemalan homes, helping prevent burns and lung diseases. In 2009, the team began installing HELPS Gravity Water Filters, an inexpensive in-home purification system desperately needed in a country where most water sources are contaminated.