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Sierra Leone
Saturday, November 27, 2021
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U.S. Embassy health practitioner trains Salone nurses

By Victoria Saffa

Critical care nurses make the difference between life and death for a critically ill or injured patient. For the first time in Sierra Leone, nurses participated in a seven-week course offered by the U.S. Embassy to gain unique knowledge on how to provide excellent critical care nursing.

Heidi McGuigan, the Embassy’s Foreign Service Health Practitioner, facilitated the training of 25 nurses from four hospitals in Freetown. The course objective, according to a release from the U.S. Embassy, was to update and enhance critical thinking and nursing care for the provision of critical care nursing.

The class covered nursing standards and ethical decision making, disturbances of the heart rhythm and electrocardiogram, airway management and ventilator support, care of the ill newborn, infection control within the intensive care unit, diabetic crises, trauma, kidney diseases, and nursing care. The class met for more than two hours each week.

McGuigan said she hoped the Embassy’s train-the-trainer course would be the first of many critical care nursing courses to come. Attendees are encouraged to share their knowledge with peers.

“I challenge you to go out to the nurses in your hospitals and develop ongoing groups to further your knowledge of critical care nursing,” McGuigan said to the nurses on their last day of training.

The course also covered areas like cardiac and sterile technique and was hosted at the Choithram Hospital.

The course also involved Dr. Joan Shepherd, Principal of the National Midwifery School and Dr. Etam Hotah, Principal of the National School of Nursing.

Dr. Soccoh Kabia, former Minister of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone, a Kidney Specialist, lectured on Kidney (Anatomy, Physiology, Acute Kidney Failure, Hemodialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis and Kidney Transplant).

Dr. Kabia thanked McGuigan, stating that she has inspired the students to be better nurses and to help the people of Sierra Leone.

The excellence in critical care nursing course is one of several continuing education classes recently offered by the U.S. Embassy’s Medical Unit. The Embassy has offered 12 classes for health professionals within the past year, benefiting more than 240 health professionals.

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