A colleague with VSO asked me, if I could help facilitate a mentorship workshop in Kenema in March. The aim was to provide initial mentorship training to clinical nurses who would be responsible for supervision and assessment of other nurses. Seeing as this is exactly what the hospitals here need, I was very happy to help out. I also felt this was a unique opportunity to ask two nurses from the Children’s Hospital to participate in the workshop. The idea was that they could then help us run the Emergency Triage, Assessment and Treatment (ETAT) course at the Children’s Hospital and act as mentors on the ward to ensure that what we teach people during ETAT, is actually being implemented on the wards afterwards. Also, the idea of leading by example is key. These two nurses can model excellent nursing practice to their peers.
Suzanne and I took a bus up to Kenema and had a very pleasant and comfortable journey there. On arrival we had to take okadas (motorcycles that really aren’t very safe to take, at least not in Freetown) to the house and for both of us it was the first time in Sierra Leone. We arrived at the house in one piece and Dickya, the course coordinator, took great care of us over the next two days. From the house it was a five-minute walk to the Kenema Government Hospital, where the workshop took place.
The course took two days and was comprised of lectures, discussions, group work, tasks, etc. We had a lot of fun, especially when blindfolded participants had to be guided by verbal instructions by their group leader around an obstacle course. A team task to build a bridge from straw that would hold a load was also a hit. All in all, it was a successful course. The challenge remains to follow-up and ensure that the nurses are able to mentor and model excellent nursing to their peers. Mentorship is ongoing- both for the nurses who participated and for us as facilitators. Two thumbs up for mentorship.