Dunchurch nurse helps on hospital ship

Valerie Muir.
Valerie Muir.

A Dunchurch woman has volunteered to help on board the world’s largest hospital ship for two months.

Valerie Muir, 63, will serve as a volunteer outpatients nurse on a self-funded trip started in Cameroon on Sunday.

The Africa Mercy ship is currently docked in Cameroon for ten months, where its volunteer crew are providing more than 3,000 free, safe surgeries to people in desperate need.

Val, who is a married, semi-retired nurse, started working within a community heart failure specialist team in 2014, and had previously donated to Mercy Ships.

As an outpatients nurse her day-to-day job on board will involve looking after people from across Cameroon who have already had their surgery and need following up. This means providing wound care to those who have had a variety of different operations, taking bloods, educating people about how to look after their wounds, monitoring nutritional status, explaining how to take medications properly and generally supporting people physically.

Val said: “I was sure it was what I had to do and even said I would work in the kitchen or housekeeping if there were no nursing jobs.

“I just felt I could and wanted to give something back - to those who need it most. I admit I was shocked and felt very humbled when I was accepted - as I thought there must be so many people wanting to do this work so they probably won’t choose me.

”I have had many types of nursing jobs in my life as I always seemed to be searching for something different. I have been a surgical nurse; I started a heart-failure service in Coventry and became a co-ordinator for the British Heart Failure Society; I worked in a prison with young offenders as a health promotion advisor; and I have been a midwife in Saudi Arabia.

“With all this diverse experience I hoped I could bring something to the people of Cameroon they might value.”