Nurse duo tell of critical care work overseas

29 April 2019
Two critical care nurses, back from a long-term project in a country with a history of political unrest and hardship, say they would love to return and continue the challenging work.

Stuart Tuckwood and Livi Rees, from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, returned from Myanmar – formerly Burma – before Easter following six months in the capital’s resource-poor Yangon General Hospital.Critical care nurses Stuart Tuckwood and Livi Rees

The pair supported the Cambridge Yangon Trauma Intervention Partnership which is funded by the UK Government’s Health Partnership Scheme and established by Cambridge Global Health Partnerships, part of Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust (ACT).

Stuart and Livi trained doctors and nurses in intensive care, initiated improvements to reduce infections, ran life support simulation courses, started quality improvement projects, mentored physiotherapists, and lectured at the nearby University of Nursing. 

But the learning wasn’t all one sided, since the pair gained vital experience and skills in tough conditions and insights into partnership working which they intend to share at the CUH International Nursing Day conference next month. That in turn will benefit local patients.

Stuart said: “The overall project is focussed on improving the delivery of trauma intensive care, since trauma is one of the most common causes of death, morbidity and hospital admission in Yangon.

“The best part was working together with some amazingly good-natured and talented staff on a daily basis. It was also humbling to meet patients and families who persevered and endured such often difficult circumstances.”Welcomed home by intensive care lead for the Cambridge/Yangon Trauma Intervention Partnership, Dr Rowan Burnstein (left), and Director of Workforce and CGHP Chair, David Wherrett (right).

Livi added: “We learnt a great deal about the management of trauma patients in a lower resource setting, and about how to drive quality improvement in healthcare under challenging conditions. Our time in Yangon has given me a greater appreciation for the systems we work with in the UK and an understanding how we can apply this learning to our roles within the NHS."

To support the work visit ACT's donation pages and choose Cambridge Global Health Partnerships from ACT’s key appeals list.