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Published: 10.05.2019

Nurses Help Orbis Transform LivesI have worked with Orbis International as Head Nurse and Ophthalmic Specialist Nurse, since July 2013. Orbis transforms lives through the world’s only ‘Flying Eye Hospital’ (FEH) working in over 96 countries worldwide.  Orbis provide training to doctors, nurses and biomedical engineers, as well as opens doors to Ministers of Health so that we can make the case for investing eye health for all.

Our clinical team is critical to the success of the FEH and none more than our Orbis staff nurses, who work globally, sharing their knowledge, skills and attitude with local nursing teams helping them to become ASORN qualified Ophthalmic nurses, teachers, researchers, educators and leaders in the quest to prevent avoidable blindness.

The team and I have been on many missions around the world,  sharing many personal experiences and memories, some leaving a mark, such an eight year old strabismus patient who explained that she had no friends because of having “crossed eyes” and is always been teased, or the adult who became forlorn and chose to live and work alone as a gardener, both lives affected from being teased for having squint.

Instrumental in Programme Delivery

Orbis nurses insure the delivery of a planned programme’s success by making three planning visits before the start date, working closely with the ‘Host’ at the Local Hospital to understand and assess their needs and skill shortages, enabling a plan to strengthen where the work is most needed, which is then delivered to their institution with high quality training.

Visits to the Local Hospital takes place:

  • Initial – one year
  • Intermediate – six months
  • Immediate – a week before program start date.

Orbis nurses support and teach others to help the people in their community to get their sight and lives back. Agreement is sought through regular communication on key project details between the Host and Orbis nurses:

  • Project dates
  • Roles and responsibilities of the Host Organizing Committee
  • Outlining the main training needs
  • Confirmation of project locations for all clinical training.

Orbis nurses are not only diverse they also wear many hats as they:

  • Lead to provide skills exchange
  • Educate and train
  • Provide advocacy
  • Involved in project building
  • As well as to attend hospital-based training without the plane

On the plane we:

  • Pack and unpack the plane
  • Take turn to be the flight attendant
  • Determine stocks and consumables needed
  • Ensure shipped supplies are checked in
  • Record usages
  • Participate in the end of year inventory
  • Exceptional at multitasking to ensure excellence in the safe delivery of patient care.

Training in Jamaica

Orbis have just completed their first FEH three-week project of 2019, in Kingston, Jamaica, with the support of voluntary nurses, providing both simulated and hands-on training to nurses from across the region.

Orbis nurses nurture an environment where good ideas are shared whilst embracing the Orbis Values

  • Trust
  • Caring
  • Commitment
  • Accountability
  • Excellence

Orbis nursing team, truly, are the Nightingales of the sky, to which I am very humbled and proud to be a part of.