Surgical Missions (?)

  1. Hello all -

    I was recently asked to participate as a scrub nurse on a Cardiothoracic Surgery mission in Tripoli, Libya. I've always dreamed of doing something like this, but i certainly have pause. I've heard much about other types of surgical missions for things like cleft palates, etc., but never something with the acuity of CT Surgery. I know CT Surgery missions are not new, but based on my research, as expected, they do lose patients on the table.

    Has anybody done a CT-specific mission and any experiences that they would be willing to share and whether they would do it again? It sounds like a phenomenal opportunity, and I certainly want to help, but based on the background materials I've been given thus far, many of the surgeries seem very tenuous and lack many of the basic resources we are afforded in our CT rooms here.

    Thank you.
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    About jackandjill123

    Joined: Nov '17; Posts: 18; Likes: 15


  3. by   ctsurgeryscrubrn
    Hi jackandjill! I'm a CT Scrub Nurse as well. I went on a mission to Africa last year. Like you, it was something I always dreamed of doing as a healthcare professional. While it was a great experience, it wasn't without heartbreak. We had two patients expire on the table due to more complex aortic anatomy than what we anticipated - both were 12+ hour cases in brutal conditions. The whole team was soaked in perspiration after each case. We didn't have adequate PPE supplies and wish I had brought more size 6 gloves with me. I have mixed feelings about CT Surgical Missions. I did like the teaching aspect though as I got to lend my knowledge to a whole group of future cardiac OR nurses. I think it's something that you shouldn't shy away from, just as long as you understand the reality of the healthcare systems in third world countries and are prepared to deal with the residual effects.