Kate Woodhead RGN DMS reflects on 20 years of sharing knowledge with African nurses as part of an educational charity, established to enhance practice and exchange experiences
Unbelievably it is twenty years since my colleague Lesley and I sat in a hotel in Uganda contemplating the fact that we had, by lucky chance, been born and worked in the United Kingdom. Both being perioperative nurses and managers in the NHS, we had much to share and contribute to enhance nursing practice in Africa. What developed was a charity called Friends of African Nursing (FOAN) and it has been sharing knowledge to save lives with many different healthcare workers, but mostly theatre nurses, in a variety of countries in sub-Saharan Africa since that day
Many others have contributed to the rich seam of education, delivered in eleven countries by volunteers almost all whom have been perioperative practitioners in UK. I thank them all for their collegiality, contributions and for being an essential part of making a difference. I hope that what they learned has enriched their professional lives, as it has mine. This is a two-way process.
It seems an appropriate moment to review those last twenty years and to identify what I have learned, that may be useful to me in future and to others taking a similar path. Reflective practice in nursing demonstrates the thought process where individuals consider their experiences to gain insights about their whole practice.
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