The Role and Function of Nurses in the Transforming Work of Mercy Ships

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This conference proceeding was originally published as:

Dawson, S. (2016). The role and function of nurses in the transforming work of Mercy ships. Paper presented at the 6th World Congress on Community Nursing, Cape Town, South Africa. Abstract retrieved from https://www.omicsonline.org/2161-0711/2161-0711.C1.022-011.pdf


119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified

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Recent estimates by the WHO state that although more people have access to basic health care than any other time in history, over 400 Million people are still lacking access to one of the seven essential services (World Health Organization 2015). An inability to access health care contributes to feelings of powerlessness, ridicule, despair and even death. Nurses and other health professionals are engaged with both governmental and non-governmental organisations to provide care within international humanitarian relief and development contexts as a compassionate response. Mercy Ships, an international, non-governmental organisation exists to that end, using ocean going to bring hope and healing. Urgent needs of the forgotten poor are addressed through surgery in this unique hospital setting, including those needing reconstructive procedures for head and neck tumours, burn contractures, congenital defects, eye disease, and injuries sustained through obstructed labour. The concept of care, which is intricately interwoven into nursing, fundamentally seeks to improve the quality of life by extending compassion, promoting dignity, and to nurture and empower both individuals and communities. Volunteer nurses with Mercy Ships admnister holistic care of body, mind and spirit to begin the process of transformation of the ‘human condition’ which often fulfils one’s need to be loved, to feel valued and to function within the environment in a healthy, whole and meaningful way.


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