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Hello outpatient nurses .....and anyone else for that matter ! :)

Hi there, 

My name is Val - I'm a Brit about to serve in Cameroon, beggining of Oct as an out patient nurse. Are there any other OPN's already serving who are willing to share some info about the job? It may seem a strange question - but what footwear do people wear on duty?  What are the usual work hours/rotas/time off etc? Have any of you been on trips locally?

Looking forward to meeting you soon 


Val :)



  • LeanneAndersonLeanneAnderson Posts: 2
    Hi Val.

    I worked in outpatients during Guinea & Congo field services.

    Its a great place to work and lots of fun. You will learn a lot and get to know most of the patients that have had surgery on the ship and now at home or at the HOPE center recovering. We do a lot of wound dressing and follow up education with the patients and their caregiver.

    Answers to your questions. Footwear, bring a pair of shoes that your comfortable wearing & standing up in most of the day. They need to be closed toe shoes, but that's the only requirement. Shoes such as running/tennis shoes, crocs, or canvas shoes are good options.

    Work hours are Monday to Friday 0800-1700, but finishing time can vary depending on how many patients are seen during the day. Occassionally you may see a few patients on Saturdays, but on a roster/rotation and may only be for a couple of hours. 

    There are always oportunities to go out and explore the local area and places outside of the port. You will soon make friends on the ship & find people organising outtings and looking for crew members to join them on day or weekend trips.

    Other helpful things to bring (depending on how long you are serving) include a small flash light & scissors

    Look forward to meeting you in October. if you have other questions, feel free to ask.


  • Val MuirVal Muir Posts: 8
    Hi Leanne,

    Great to hear from you!  Many thanks for the info - most helpful. I am only joining for 2/12 as my husband would probably starve to death if I went for any longer! Are you there already? Just thought of some other questions - if you have time?

    Do we see children/babies as well as adults? I've only dealt with adults, in this particular capacity. 

    If Abx are required for wound infections etc - can we do that or do we have to contact a physician? 

    Do you use interpreters much? Do many patients speak English?  What is the extent of follow up education like - is it on an individual basis or group stuff?

    Really looking forward to meeting you all soon. 

    Best wishes, Val smiley

  • RuthWalneRuthWalne Posts: 3
    Hi, I worked as an Out Patient nurse for the last 6 weeks of the field service in Benin leaving at the end of May.  It was an amazing experience and it will change you in many ways.

    Are you planning on going to the event on July 12th? If so I will meet you then. There are some things that I wished that I knew before I went and will be happy to answer any questions.

    I had an accident before I went, I had tremendous support from friends and family, so wrote a daily blog. You can still see it on There are photos on it of the tents that serve as the OPD, as well as many other areas of the ship.

    Please feel free to contact me on [email protected]

    Look forward to meeting up if not on the 12th then maybe we could arrange another time.


  • Val MuirVal Muir Posts: 8
    Hi Ruth, 

    Thanks for getting back to me - most kind. Not sure what event is on the 12 th July perhaps you could enlighten me?  

    May I ask what things you wished you knew before you went please - all tips gratefully received!  In the meantime I will try and access your blog - Im not brilliant at technology I'm afraid. 

    Where are you at present?

    Best regards, 


  • RuthWalneRuthWalne Posts: 3
    Hi Val, the event on the 12th is to celebrate the work of the ship in Benin. Ok, so I live near High Wycombe in Bucks, and the things that I wished I had known:-

    well having read a list of what to take, I took loads: as for needing leggings definitely not - unless of course you wear them with a top, but to keep warm in the air conditioning, no way. A couple of tee shirts and cropped trousers worked well for me. A shirt or dress ( covering the knee) for Sunday is a must. Comfortable shoes for work, most people wear trainers in a variety of styles and colour. So much other information which might be of help.

    What date are you going, and where do you live as I might ask if you could take some equipment out with you, and we could meet up, which would be so much better than me writing this all down!

    I was sent information about charts and drugs etc, most of which is for ward nurses and the one for outpatients was out of date. I do have a very interesting document explaining all the max fax procedures you will come across and I wish that I had read it and understood it before I went. I hope you are good at taking blood, I wasn't as having done my theory I didn't have the opportunity to do the practical as I broke my hip and was still on crutches 2 weeks before flying out.

    please email me back on [email protected] and include a phone number and I will happily talk with you.


  • LeanneAndersonLeanneAnderson Posts: 2
    Hi Val,

    Apologies for the delay in getting back to you, ( I have been away for study over the last week).

    In outpatients we see a variety of patients from all age groups, from babies through to the older adult. Don't worry too much about not having pediatric experience, you will have lots of support and training from the Outpatients Team Leader and the team around you. The first couple of weeks will be lots of new things and treatments/conditions that aren't necessary done in your home town, but you will learn new wound care tricks and be comfortable with the surgeries we do on the ship in no time.

    The outpatient’s team is usually 4-5 nurses, along with 4 day crew (it may have changed recently). Day crew work alongside us and help translate between crew and the patient, as well as assist with getting supplies ready and the generally day to day activities of the clinic. You work with the same team of Day crew throughout the field service, so you will become friends during the time you serve and get some great insight into the local communities.

    Education of patients generally is on a individual or caregiver/patient basis, and goes through some basic teaching on their wound care and what things to look out for in future, again all this you will be able to grasp during your time in outpatients. Some medication we can dispense without Physicians order, while other medications require a physician's review, which is easy to arrange.

    I am currently on the ship and will be throughout the Cameroon field service so look forward to chatting with you when you arrive. Any other questions, feel free to message.

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