Emory nurses help MedShare organize critically needed ostomy supplies

Over the past 15 years, MedShare has shipped more than 1,100 ocean containers filled with urgently needed medical supplies to 96 countries around the world. Emory Healthcare and Emory University have long served as major allies in helping MedShare accomplish its mission. Through Emory, MedShare has been able to connect with hundreds of volunteers willing to offer their time and expertise. Volunteers sort, inspect and pack unused and unexpired medical supplies, which are then shipped to hospitals and clinics in developing countries. In fact, Emory volunteers have contributed 1,739 hours in the past 18 months alone.

On Saturday, December 20, 2014, nurses from the Wound Ostomy and
Continence Nursing (WOCN) Department at Emory Healthcare
went above and beyond a normal volunteer role.  MedShare collects a large Ostomypicvolume of ostomy supplies, but lacked the medical expertise to organize these items into detailed categories. This is an essential step for shipping supplies abroad. Doctors and nurses in the hospital will directly order the supplies they need from MedShare, ensuring they only get what is useful and necessary. Yet this can’t happen unless MedShare’s categories are exactly on point. By putting their specialized knowledge to work at MedShare’s southeast distribution center, Emory’s wound ostomy and continence nurses made this all possible.

Alvaro McRae, MedShare’s volunteer program manager, first spoke with Martha Tamblyn, RN, WOCN, about their department volunteering on Emory Cares Day. “She was very open to helping, and having her team involved with developing our ostomy sort was the perfect project,” said McRae. Martha then helped MedShare develop the 24 product classifications needed to sort our ostomy supplies.

The WOCN Department volunteer group, including Dorothy Doughty, Rose Murphree, Cynthia Timms and her two sons, were part of a three-hour Saturday session that sorted over 200 pounds of ostomy products at MedShare for the first time in three years, creating a blueprint for future ostomy product sorts.  After the session, Dorothy Doughty, director of the WOC Nursing Education Center (WOCNEC), and Rose Murphree, WOCNEC’s program director, offered ideas how to make it easier for volunteers without a medical background to assist in future sorts of ostomy products, and how to box these particular supplies to enhance the quality of packaging for our partner hospitals and clinics around the world.

The team has already signed up for another volunteer shift in March to complete the ostomy sort they began in December. The Wound Ostomy & Continence Nursing team’s skills and expertise will be felt around the world as our partner hospital put these supplies to work treating patients and saving lives.

To volunteer at MedShare, please contact Alvaro McRae, Volunteer Program Manager at amcrae@medshare.org or Breauna Hagan, Programs Associate, at bhagan@medshare.org.

 

 

A Volunteer’s Perspective: Emory’s OIM Team Volunteers at MedShare

Emory is one of MedShare’s longest partners, and we’re grateful for the wonderful relationship we’ve had with them over the years. From donating medical supplies and equipment to providing volunteers each month, Emory University and Emory Healthcare helps us achieve our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need.

Recently, a group of workers from Emory Healthcare’s Occupational Injury Management (OIM) team volunteered at MedShare, and wrote this great article detailing their experience that we wanted to share with you. Enjoy!

Volunteering at MedShare

By Connie Wilbanks and the Occupational Injury Management staff

Emory's OIM team sorting medical supplies

While in a department retreat recently, the Occupational Injury Management (OIM) team reviewed EHC’s Employer Commitment. We wanted to see how well we were meeting the eight commitments embraced by Emory Healthcare.

The last commitment, Our Community, encourages us to participate in EHC-sponsored programs, such as the Employee Hardship Donation Program, which assists fellow employees suffering financial hardships.

From disaster-torn Haiti and tornado-ravaged Alabama to our individual volunteer contributions within our own communities, it seemed like we all put in volunteer time. Now, we were ready for a group volunteer project to fulfill this important commitment. Plus, a group project was sure to help our department be a stronger team.

We spent a morning at MedShare in Decatur, and, in short, we had a blast! We had our own sawhorse and plywood table and became “sorting soldiers.” There were instruments and medical supplies of all shapes, sizes and colors. As health care workers, we thought we had a definite advantage in identifying the right names for these supplies. There were a few hiccups, though — some items were labeled in other languages and there were specialized items unfamiliar to our staff. This didn’t deter us and actually spurred us on as we imagined the use of the unfamiliar items!

We enjoyed our experience at MedShare and our time spent together as a vibrant team. Somehow, I think the experience was more beneficial for us individually, and as a team, than for those who will be recipients of our efforts.

We encourage other teams to share a fun and rewarding experience by volunteering at MedShare.

To volunteer, call 770-323-5858, or check them out online at http://www.medshare.org to find out more about their services and volunteer opportunities.

MedShare & Emory University’s Family Farm Worker Health Program


Each year, faculty and students from Emory University’s School of Nursing travel to south Georgia as part of their Family Farm Worker Health Program, a two-week intensive immersion learning experience that provides health care to migrant and seasonal farm workers and their families. MedShare is proud to support this program by providing medical supplies to Emory’s team for their trip.*

This morning, nursing students from Emory volunteered at MedShare to sort medical supplies and prepare for their trip. Judith Wold, PhD, RN, Project Director and Visiting Professor, took a moment to share information about their program, upcoming trip, and the important role that MedShare plays in it.

As with all partners, we are grateful for our working relationship with Emory University and Emory Healthcare. From donating medical supplies and equipment to providing volunteers each month, thanks for all that you do to help us achieve our mission of bridging the gap between surplus and need!

Emory University School of Nursing students sort medical supplies

To view more photos of Emory’s nursing students volunteering, click here.

*If you’re not familiar with MedShare’s Medical Team Store, we often equip medical mission teams with supplies for their work in impoverished hospitals and clinics in developing countries. In our 12-year history, we’ve provided supplies for more than 1,500 teams. To learn more, click here.