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Letter from Zambia 7: Learning is a Two-Way Process

Since 2014, nurses and nursing students from the UK have been visiting Zambia and working with the Ministry of Health there to help develop critical care nursing. Major Chris Carter reflects on the benefits of seeing practice from a different perspective.

Since 2014, nurses and nursing students from the UK have been visiting Zambia and working with the Ministry of Health there to help develop critical care nursing. Major Chris Carter reflects on the benefits of seeing practice from a different perspective

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During this visit to Zambia I have been working with the intensive care unit course students and had the opportunity to observe their practice in critical care.

I am always fascinated and impressed by how the nurses improvise and adapt to the situations they face. For example, their resource management is impressive.

During a recent observation in practice, a central line was being inserted. The team assembled all the necessary equipment but only opened the equipment as it was required, in case the procedure was unsuccessful at any stage.

Resource constrained

I reflected on my own practice and thought how often I normally open an extra packet of gauze or dressing that I never use and then end up throwing it away.

When working internationally, we are exposed to different practices and opportunities to learn from our peers.

In both Zambia and the UK we work in resource-constrained environments, and while the environments are different there are many opportunities to learn and reflect on our own practices and consider things from an unfamiliar perspective.


Major Chris Carter, a critical care nurse and chair of the RCN's defence nursing forum, is a nurse educator at the Defence School of Healthcare Education, Department of Healthcare Education, which is co-located at Birmingham City University

 

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