War on Terrorism

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Soldiers Teach Iraqi Nurses, Midwives New Skills

By Army Pfc. Bethany L. Little
Special to American Forces Press Service

Aug. 6, 2009 - U.S. soldiers with the 172nd Infantry Brigade medical team and 10th and 115th Combat Support Hospitals instructed Iraqi nurses during a four-day medical symposium at Babil Maternity Hospital in Iraq's Babil province. Midwives, emergency room and ward nurses, and premature intensive care unit teams worked with 40 Iraqi nurses and midwives July 26 to 29 to aid them with infection control, patient assessments and other skills.

"We're trying to provide education for the nurses and midwives who don't have the opportunity to further their education outside of Iraq," said Army Capt. Sharon R. Owen, brigade nurse for Company C, 172nd Support Battalion.

"I'm so excited to learn all the things the American nurses have to share with us," said Nedaa Wahab, midwife and health researcher. "They have new information, and they're here to support and help us to grow in our profession."

The symposium began with a tour so U.S. nurses could get a first-hand look at the Iraqi facilities. After the tour, the symposium's itinerary changed.

"We originally were going to perform rounds every morning, except for the last day, but through our observations we needed to rework what we planned," said Army 1st Lt. Betty Moore, general medical surgeon nurse for the 10th Combat Support Hospital. "We focused the second day of the symposium on applied training such as patient assessments and bedside assistance."

The next day, the teams performed rounds and trained in the hospital wards. The midwife team trained Iraqi nurses on the prevention of postpartum hemorrhaging.

"Deaths from postpartum hemorrhaging is a major problem here in Iraq," said Sundus Karam Ali, head emergency obstetrics care nurse. "We are very grateful to have this opportunity to work with the American nurses and learn what they know."

On the last day, medical teams instructed the group on neonatal resuscitation. The medical team then presented each midwife and nurse with a certificate of training.

"This is a very small step in empowerment for nursing in Iraq," said Owen, a Cincinnati native. "However, I think that we're showing them that there are more opportunities as a nurse, and leaving them with a broader knowledge of skills."

(Army Pfc. Bethany L. Little serves in the 172nd Infantry Brigade.)

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