Main Content

Volunteering nurses – Jonathon Hardwick

Volunteering nurses – Jonathon Hardwick

Alfred Hospital clinical nurse specialist Jonathon Hardwick will volunteer in the operating theatre on a ship for three weeks in January 2019 in Conakry, Guinea in West Africa.

This will be his second trip after volunteering in January this year with his colleague Brett Timms.

‘It’s been a long dream of mine to make a difference doing what I love’, he said.

‘I understand how lucky we are to have access to world class healthcare, food, a home, running water and education.’

The African Mercy is the world’s largest non-government hospital ship. Around 1000 international volunteers annually provide free surgical procedures on everything from cataracts, to obstetric fistula repair to cleft palate reconstruction.

Mr Hardwick said the ship has five operating theatres which run weekdays 7.30-5.30 with on-call overnight and weekends. It also holds a four-bed recovery room, ICU for up to five patients and 80 ward beds.

‘The patients who lived with a lifetime of blindness, had surgery and the next day after dressing was taken off, could see.’

He most enjoyed was making new friendships and the general comradery, along with learning new techniques, adding that life on the ship was fun.