Danielle Dohrmann reflects on her Haiti experience

by Chuck Brown, UNMC public relations | February 02, 2010

picture disc.
Danielle Dohrmann, right, of UNMC International Health and Medical Education, was the charge nurse last week in the operating room at a tent hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Follow UNMC's Haiti relief efforts at http://notesofhopeinhaiti.blogspot.com/.
Danielle Dohrmann of UNMC International Health and Medical Education was the charge nurse last week in the operating room at the Project Medishare Hospital at the Port-au-Prince Airport.

When Dohrmann and other volunteers from UNMC's first deployment arrived at the hospital, three nurses were attempting to care for 300 patients. By the time she left this past weekend, she had helped introduce structure that allowed the hospital to become the largest in Haiti.

Dorhmann -- who has worked in nursing for more than 20 years -- arrived back in Omaha on Sunday. Below she comments on her Haiti experience.

Describe where you worked.

Support UNMC's Haiti efforts

UNMC seeks to raise $100,000 for the University of Nebraska Foundation's UNMC Haitian Relief and Outreach Fund, which supports medical center volunteer efforts in Haiti.

Donations can be made online or through the mail at:
Omaha Office of the University of Nebraska Foundation
2285 S. 67th St. Suite 200
Omaha, NE 68106

The hospital was in its fourth day of operation when we arrived. There was a major lack of nurses and it was pretty chaotic. We had four beds in the operating room and we treated about 40 patients each day. In our six days there, we were able to introduce some structure.

What impact did you see UNMC having on the ground?

We brought excellent clinical care, organizational leadership, strategy and a sense of collaboration and dedication. We saved a lot of lives and helped a lot of people.

What are the pressing needs in Haiti now?

Wound care is huge right now. Pretty much every patient we saw needed wound care. We need to keep the antibiotics going and we need to get patients up and moving, which makes physical therapy a major need, too. Pharmacists also are needed to mix the medicines in the IVs.

What would you tell someone who was deploying to Haiti tomorrow?

Be ready to work hard. You need to be flexible, creative and able to think on your feet. Also, pack support socks because you're going be on your feet all day. And bring lots of clean scrubs, too. Putting on clean scrubs was one of the few comforts we had.

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