Lynne Wanefalea is currently working as an Emergency Nurse Advisor at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
She has a personal connection to the Islands, being married to a chief of an area in Malaita Province.
“I first visited the Solomon Islands over 20 years ago after I fell in love with an island boy who came to Australia to study.
“We now have 6 pikininis (Children) and spend our time between Australia and Solomons.
“I have seen lots of changes in this time, but the people are always friendly and beautiful,” says Lynne.
In Australia, Lynne worked as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the emergency department at Bendigo Health and at Monash University teaching medical students clinical skills and simulation.
Lynne is currently on a 12 month volunteer assignment at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) through the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program.
Part of her role is to provide support and supervision to graduate interns who have returned from medical training in Cuba to further consolidate their skills and training to enable them practice independently in a safe and effective manner.
The project also aims to improve and implement a new triage system and teach the Emergency Nurses improved assessment and triage skills.
The new national Solomon Islands Triage Scale (SITS) will be rolled out on 1 May 2017 in Honiara.
Lynne has also spent some time running remote clinics and sexual health education sessions for secondary school students.
Since her arrival Lynne has seen cases in dysentery, malaria, sepsis, severe ulcerative wounds, complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus, tuberculosis, congenital abnormalities, meningococcal, encephalitis, renal failure, cancer and bleeding abdominal ulcers.
“The doctors and nurses here work long hours with limited resources and are often here after their shift has finished. Despite this, they are very keen and enthusiastic to learn new skills and increase their knowledge,” Lynne observed.
Through the ‘Sponsor a Solomon Island Nurse’ project, Lynne has supported raising funds to facilitate supply of equipment for nurses to enable them care more effectively for their patients.
This project aims to support and equip staff to perform their role.
“Health care remains something I am passionate about improving. It has been a privilege to work as a volunteer at the hospital under the AVID program,” said Lynne.
Lynne’s current assignment is funded by the Australian Government through the AVID program.