Kings and Queens


This week I have been completing formative assessments for the OBF PUMP nurses. This requires me to ask those slightly nerve-wracking questions like “is the teaching challenging enough?” “Do you enjoy working with the mercy ships team?” “Do you have any complaints or concerns?”. Malagasy people often don’t tell you their concerns until you ask in a safe environment, then suddenly you have them talking for an hour about issues they’ve stored up. I braced myself whilst sat facing Jehnny one of our Malagasy nurses, as she answered my first question.

“Are you learning a lot?”

She seemed dissatisfied with her English from the start, so she ran off some rifts in Malagasy, fast, intriguing and obviously very funny. She was animated and pleased with her response. Sendra my translator and Malagasy brother turned to me and explained her outburst.

“She has learnt so many things! She said that, in her training here in Madagascar the health care professionals are taught how to be the king or the queen, but here, you are teaching us that the patient is the king or queen, It is a change that is happening in my mind, that my patient is a queen, I like it”

This week in our classroom day we learnt about assessment and handover, two things that are uncommon in the local hospital. Jehnny also said:

“those things I’ve learnt about assessment are so important and even if I don’t pass my exams and I don’t get a job here I will continue to implement that in my future practice!”

I love the things that these nurses learn each week, the things that aren’t in a power point presentation, subtle, small pieces of information that change their thinking and practice forever. Things like putting the patient first, treating a women that has been out casted and despised for years like a queen.

Mentoring is not about a classroom or a PowerPoint presentation it is so much more. It is watching, learning and soaking up everything around you. Our crew nurses who come to serve Mercy Ships from all over the world don’t realise that when they step out and serve our God and treat the lowest like kings and queens, our Malagasy nurses see that and they soak it in.

Their practice is changed forever…. and we are only one month in!


“let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” someone famous …. (1 john 3:18)

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