Senior Nursing Officer, Lt Cdr McCullough, shares her latest update from South Sudan... read more in SNO news is good news..3!
We have been in theatre 8 weeks and I can honestly say that it has flown by. This first month has been about meeting the other Troop contributing countries and understanding how our medical facility fits into the wider UN mission in Bentiu.
This month, we have attended the Ghanian medal parade and have had a visit from the Ghanian Chief of Defence Staff. We have been responsible for arranging a UK welcome meal for 50 UN workers within this area. This meal gave the military chefs the chance to show their skills and Lt Burt and the hospital staff a chance to show their adaptability as they organised and co-ordinated the meal with a level of service that would have made the RN stewards proud.
We have also held a period of reflection with the sad announcement of the death of Surg Capt Rick Jolly. This culminated in a memorial service and the road outside the hospital being named in his honour, with excellent signage by Surg Lt Cdr Luck (pictured with Clinical Director Role 2 Hospital, Surg Capt Smith and Commanding Officer Role 2 Hospital, Cdr Davies).
There was something incredibly poignant about the eulogies given by Cdr Davies and Surg Capt Smith as they gave a brief synopsis of the role played by Surg Capt Jolly and the lessons we have learned as a result of the Falklands conflict – lessons which have helped shape the way we have delivered medical care on Operations since. Surg Capt Smith also read a eulogy from Surg Vice Admiral Alasdair Walker who, as a Lt, worked alongside Capt Jolly during the Falklands campaign.
As with any handover period, we have spent the first few weeks mustering stores identifying what we have and what we need and generally getting into the weeds of the departments. The hospital staff have established their routine and I know I can’t talk about the casualty workload but what I can say is that utilising our mobile phones on the Wi-Fi internet provided on camp to assist with translations has been a real benefit both for work and for integrating with the other troop contributing countries.
Perhaps the most surreal moment of the month was when I was summoned with the immortal words …
“Ma’am, there is a snake in ward 2”
That is something you don’t hear every day in the NHS. The fact that I appeared to take leave of my senses and go and investigate, makes me think the heat had got to me. What exactly did I think I would do if I saw it? Thankfully, it wasn’t a snake and the lizard was removed by the Environmental Health Officer and as a big brave Nursing Officer I walked away content in the knowledge that I did all I could….. captured the moment with a photo.
Lt Cdr Karen McCullough
Senior Nursing Officer (SNO)