What happens in the Admissions Tent??

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The tents on the dock!

You might ask what does a normal day look like in the Admissions Tent? Well, let me tell you there’s no such thing as a normal day! In case you haven’t noticed we’re on a ship in Africa, working in a tent on a dock! Things are far from normal here, but I truly believe that the Father orchestrates things like this so that He receives the glory, not us!

Let me start, by introducing you again to my fabulous team! (see picture).

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They are wonderful, hard working people whom I am blessed to lead and serve alongside. One of my nurses left us last week. My admissions nurses usually stay for about 7-9 weeks at a time. Then a new nurse comes to take their place. It’s a challenge to have to train new nurses, but so far everyone has come with a positive attitude and servant’s heart. Debbie (the nurse in the green scrubs), our newest addition, came during a particularly busy week. She is so sweet and jumped right into the madness like a champ!

So, what is it like to be the leader of Admissions? It’s quite a unique job; not like any other position I’ve had before. In fact, I’ve never held a leadership role in my nursing career, so it is all new to me. It definitely has its challenges, but overall I have really enjoyed the cross-cultural leadership experience, interfacing with all hospital departments and the opportunity to meet every single patient admitted to the hospital!

I begin each day in the tent by myself. You might be thinking, aw how sad! You begin your day by yourself, alone in the tent? But for those of you that know me, I’m an introvert and I thoroughly enjoy the alone time before all the craziness of the day begins! I use this time to compile the list of patients we will admit to the hospital that day. That list then goes to each of my admissions nurses, the doctors examining the patients, all the team leaders of the wards, rehab team leader, medical photographer, ward secretary, patient escort and our security officer at the top of the gangway (the ship’s front door). When my team arrives we do devotions together. I have themes for each day of the week.

Madhouse Monday – What armor of God/truth/promise are you going to ask the Father to protect you with today?

Tent Tuesday – All the ‘tent dwellers’ (Admissions, Rehab, Screening & Outpatients) meet in the Rehab tent and do devotions together.

Worship Wednesday – We join in worship together as a team before starting our day. Sometimes I play a song, other times we sing and dance African style! I don’t usually dance!

Thankful Thursday – We each share something we are thankful for and spend time in prayer thanking the Father.

Fun Fact Friday – We each share a fun fact about our self. Sometimes it’s a funny story, other times it’s a picture of our family or something of the like.

After devotions it’s time to do role call. I give the list of admissions patients to one of my daycrew (translator). He/she goes outside to the patient waiting area makes sure the admissions patients are present, that their names, dates of birth, ages & sex are correct. If everyone is there, it’s a miracle! If all the names, dates of birth, ages & sex are correct it’s an even bigger miracle (this NEVER happens)! Then we print patient labels and begin “stickering” the charts. Finally my nurses bring the patients in one by one to interview them. The interview is an in depth health history and pre-operative assessment. We take their heart rate, blood pressure, measure their height, weight and hand them over to the doctor for examination. The doctors I work with are not the surgeons. These doctors work in concert with the surgeons to take care of the other medical conditions that arise. For example, patients who come with undiagnosed high blood pressure require medication to reduce their blood pressure to a normal level prior to surgery.

After the doctor examines the patient and says they’re ready for surgery, we draw some blood and take a medical photo of their condition (i.e. tumor, burn, etc.) for their medical record. If the blood-work is normal then the patient is cleared to have surgery. Finally we make them a patient ID badge so they can board the ship and then it’s off to the hospital they go!

One final thing we do with the patients before they board the ship is education. Education is an essential aspect of our job in admissions. It is crucial that the patient understand what is going to happen to their body when they have surgery. We also explain things like… How to properly use a European toilet and why we don’t allow them to eat after midnight the night before surgery, etc.

The entire admissions process takes all morning and most of the afternoon. We ask many questions and it’s a lot of information for the patient to digest. They are overloaded and exhausted by the end of the day! But it all becomes worth it when you escort them onto the ship and show them to their bed. Their faces light up when they see the hospital and meet other patients who’ve had surgery. It becomes real to them! What was once a dream or hope becomes reality.

Admissions is just a small piece of the journey for these patients. There are so many other specialties, medical personnel and other people working behind the scenes to bring care to these patients. It still amazes me that volunteers from all over the world come and pay to volunteer aboard Mercy Ships so that we can provide this type of surgical care in Africa aboard a ship. Again, I believe that the Father orchestrates things like this so that He receives the glory, not us!

The words of this song by Big Daddy Weave beautifully express and capture the essence of how God works in and through His people.

“My Story” Big Daddy Weave

“If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn’t let go. If I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up. And if I told you my story, you would hear life, but it wasn’t mine. If I should speak then let it be of the grace that is greater than all my sin, of when justice was served and where mercy wins, of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in. Oh to tell you my story, is to tell of Him!

We proclaim and exemplify the Father’s story of love, hope, grace, and mercy when share our story. I hope the words of my story helped you see Jesus today!

Worship in the Rehab Tent! 🙂

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