Floating School a Big Surprise
6 July 2016
A Royal Australian Air Force nursing has made a big impression on Filipino nursing officer students thanks to her somewhat unusual and rather large floating hospital.
When local third year university nursing students at the Bicol University in Daraga, located in the Philippines province of Albay, were told that they would be attending a nursing workshop and touring a state of the art medical facility, they didn’t expect it to be one of the world’s finest hospital ships visiting neighboring Legazpi City.
Squadron Leader Lynette Howell is a flight nurse serving aboard the United States Naval Ship 'Mercy' for Pacific Partnership 2016 (PP16), a US Navy-led multinational annual humanitarian and civic assistance mission.
The visit by Mercy allowed the Air Force nurse to organise two nursing workshops where students could participate side-by-side reviewing clinical techniques and procedures in a world class hospital – albeit a floating hospital.
Squadron Leader Howell said the visit gave the students a first-hand look at the massive surgical vessel and then provided a hands-on clinical workshop with PP16 medical personnel.
"The students were fascinated by the capability aboard Mercy," she said.
"The chance to have the workshop experience was, for them, an opportunity of a lifetime."
After a one hour presentation, the students toured the clinical areas of the ship with discussions, demonstrations of emergency equipment and specifying differences between the ship's Intensive Care, Adult Ward, Pediatric Ward and Main Operating Room.
They then split into smaller groups to attend hands-on workshop skill stations that included hand washing, personal protective equipment, wound care and intravenous therapy.
The visit finished with side-by-side clinical techniques and procedures practices.
Bicol University student Zandra said that she enjoyed the visit immensely.
"I learnt so much from the people and the workshops were really good for us," she said.
"This hospital ship is unbelievable."
This year PP16 is visiting Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Timor Leste, Indonesia and Palau with Australian Defence Force personnel participation in all locations.