After 20 years of nursing practice, Kami Lindberg, a registered nurse, never thought her career would take her to Ghana.
It was the Sanford World Clinic and its new global nursing mentorship program that gave her an experience she will never forget.
The program aims to impact health worldwide through shared learning experiences with Sanford Health’s international partners. World Clinic was looking for specific nurses with a specific knowledge base to meet the needs.
In November 2021, Sanford Health announced the six who would participate in this effort out of 80 total applicants surveyed. The organizers planned three. The sheer number of quality candidates has led to a reassessment of how many they can use, according to Tracy Bieber, director of clinical services at Sanford World Clinic.
Lily: Six Sanford nurses go overseas for global mentorship
Nurses spend 10 hours per month virtually joining World Clinic partners and visiting their World Clinic partner at least once. Other destinations on this year’s program are Costa Rica and New Zealand.
Lindberg, who is a nurse navigator in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was selected for mentorship in Ghana in early March. The selection process determined that she was the right candidate for needs in maternity and midwifery care, breast health and more.
Sanford has five sites in Ghana.
Go to Ghana
For a week, Lindberg and Bieber traveled to Cape Coast, Mankessim, Adenta and Kasoa.
“Once we got to our first site visit, I was very impressed,” Lindberg told Sanford Health News.
Despite the lack of resources and tools other than ultrasound equipment, she said midwives were so prepared with the knowledge to communicate with and educate their patients.
“In a setting where you don’t have as many resources at your fingertips, they provided excellent patient care,” she said. “It’s very different from our care, but impressive to see them working and using the tools they had effectively.”
One of her unforgettable memories was assisting with a patient’s labor and delivery from start to finish.
“It was really phenomenal to see because obviously it’s very different going through a labor and delivery there compared to here. It was emotional all the way,” she said. declared, recalling the differences and often the challenges in terms of access to care in a developing country.
For example, all vaginal births are drug-free or “natural” and often the only pain reliever women receive during labor is the equivalent of Tylenol.
“We do a lot of natural births in the United States, but we manage them differently because we have the technology to do it,” Lindberg added.
With technology in the United States, providers can continue to monitor mother and baby throughout the process, and if needed, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is available for additional care.
In Ghana, this technology is not available everywhere and neither are the support staff. Midwives don’t always have the same data to rely on to make quick and life-saving decisions. Lindberg often said during labor and delivery, it’s mom and midwife.
“However, I have witnessed their phenomenal care with what little resources they have and it has been an absolute privilege to be a part of it.”
Mentoring around the world
“Our staff there is phenomenal,” she said. “Everyone was so eager to learn from midwives to nurses and orderlies.”
She was touched and honored to be the one to provide additional training and skills so they could better care for their patients.
The setting was personal and intimate so that the nurses could get to know each other on a personal level and establish a professional relationship that would last an entire year of the program.
“Nobody wants someone to come into their workplace and tell them what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong and that’s how you should do it. Nobody wants that,” she explained. “So it was really important for me to gain the trust of the midwives there because I want this year to be really productive. And if they don’t trust me, it won’t be productive.
Maternity care is an expertise they were happy to bring to the bedside in Ghana.
“Kami has a very natural gift for listening and providing education in a non-intimidating way. It was very cool to watch,” Bieber said. maybe not even an option in Ghana. She made those connections immediately.
Based on the feedback received so far, Lindberg is pleased to hear that the midwives have had very good things to say about their work with her.
“I feel like I’ve reached this very important milestone and they trust me enough to help them throughout the year.”
The next phase of the global nurse mentorship program is to discuss the education needs she has identified in Ghana.
“Now that (Lindberg) has a direct understanding of workflows and processes, she will be able to provide more applicable and relevant training for our Ghanaian midwives,” Bieber explained.
“In addition to Kami’s focus on motherhood, we have another global nurse mentor who will focus on clinically training our Ghanaian nursing staff around the fundamentals of primary care. She will travel later in the year to host a skills fair for our nursing staff at each of our sites.
Encourage nurses to apply
Lindberg said it was a unique opportunity and would strongly encourage other nurses to consider it.
“The knowledge that nurses have is useful to other people, no matter where they are,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the year and continuing to help where I can.”
Bieber admits it’s rewarding and also empowering — in all the best ways.
“It always pushes us and the teams to think outside the box and think bigger,” added Bieber. “Having the opportunity to tap into Sanford Health’s nursing expertise within their organization has been a true honor as I have come to know each of these mentors personally. The impact each of them has on the within our partner organizations is being felt professionally and clinically and this is just the beginning!
The next round of applications will open in August and mentors for 2023 will be announced before the end of the year.
Posted in Nursing and Nursing Support, Pregnancy, Women, Global Clinic