By Doreen McIntyre
MNA Member, Board of Directors
My name is Doreen McIntyre. I work at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital in Pre-op / PACU. I’m a tri chair of my bargaining unit, and I’m proud to be serving my second term as a director on the MNA Board of Directors. I also serve on National Nurses United’s Joint Nursing Practice Commission and also the Environmental and Climate Justice Working Group.
I recently returned from a medical mission with Smile Network International as one of 26 volunteers to travel to India. We worked some long days at Santhiram General Hospital in Nandyal (about two days’ drive south of New Delhi). The hospital is an “open air” hospital so it isn’t unusual to see a monkey walking the hall. The temperature was in the high 90s. We had meals made for us, and they also provided nurses who worked with us. The people are warm and affectionate and everyone wants a selfie.
This trip was my fifth mission with Smile and my second to India. Smile Network International is a Minnesota-based organization that provides reconstructive surgeries (primarily cleft lip and or palate) to children and adults in developing nations. Over this week-long visit, we screened almost 100 potential patients and performed 55 surgeries. Foundation for Children in Need is a nonprofit in India that partnered with the hospital and Smile Network to make this mission possible. We staffed three operating rooms. After surgery the patients came to PACU (where I was working), and, after they awoke, we brought them to the ward where our nurses cared for them till we left each evening.
I have always loved being a nurse but working as a nurse in a volunteer capacity is amazing. Being able to help people who need it but cannot afford it. Changing peoples lives forever while changing my life also. These trips have impacted the way I look at life.
Smile Network International is always looking for volunteer Ward, PACU and OR nurses. I would encourage anyone interested to check out the website at www.smilenetwork.org
I promise you will never be the same.