Supporting Safe Surgery
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How a Biomedical Technician Found Her Place

If you were asked to picture a hospital crew, your mind may jump first to doctors, surgeons, or nurses. But it takes many different specialists, each with their own skills, aspirations, and tools, to keep a hospital running.

Deborah Nutsugah worked in a hospital in her home country of Ghana as a biomedical technician, specializing in handling and maintaining the medical equipment used for patient care.

“I make sure this equipment is safe to be used on the patient, and also safe for use by the surgeons and the nurses,” she explained.

When the Africa Mercy, one of Mercy Ships’ hospital vessels, docked in Senegal in 2022, Deborah decided to use her experience to join the crew as a biomedical technician. Now, after more than a year as a Mercy Ships volunteer, Deborah explained what it’s truly like to serve in this critical role on board.

How Volunteering Lead to Personal and Professional Growth

“I definitely recommend serving on board Mercy Ships to anybody who is interested in furthering their career and also in your personal life,” shared Deborah. “Unlike a regular biomed job, you get to be involved in the patient’s journey, and that’s healing to you yourself — not only to the patient.”

Instead of working entirely behind the scenes to support safe surgery, Deborah has discovered a new level of personal engagement with the patients who come to Mercy Ships seeking healing. Meanwhile, Deborah experiences plentiful opportunities to grow her skills and develop new ones.

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“You get to be trained on all the ultra-modern equipment here on board, which enriches your skill as a biomedical engineer,” Deborah said.

This skill enrichment reaches far beyond volunteers. Mercy Ships regularly runs biomedical technician training courses to provide additional training to national healthcare professionals in the latest medical technology so that when the tools arrive in their own facilities, their hands will be ready.

No matter their experience, all volunteer professionals are supported by peers in their field. Deborah recalled how her manager was someone who was intentional about career development and also personal development of his team. She never felt like her time is being wasted, or that she was alone in her professional journey.

“When he sees an opportunity for me to learn and grow, he allows me to take it and removes obstacles in my way so that I can be able to go and increase my skill at will,” Deborah shared. “He also trusts me to do the work… he makes you feel supported all the time.”

It takes 3,000 crewmembers to keep the Mercy Ships fleet active in its mission: to follow Jesus’ model and bring hope and healing through safe surgical care and education. But Deborah doesn’t feel lost at all in this crowd. She is connected to the other volunteer professionals on board, unified in their shared purpose. “There are diverse people in the community, very rich community of different skills, people who are open and ready to help you in either your work or your personal development,” shared Deborah. There is no wasted time, there are no wasted hands; all can find their place on board.

Better Than We Were Before

For over a year, Deborah has applied her medical equipment know-how to operations on both the Africa Mercy and the new, purpose-built Global Mercy, formingfulfilling bonds with patients and crew alike. Seeing the patients she’s befriended walk away restored is always a joyous moment, one that reaffirms the reason she chose to do this in the first place.

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“My work as a biomedical technician fits in the bigger picture of bringing [patients] hope and healing and transforming their lives. It makes me proud,” shared Deborah.

Thinking back on how she grew into her place on board, she asked, “What is a better opportunity to grow in different parts of your life than to serve together on board with different people with different skills from all walks of life who have something to teach you? Not just about your work, but also about general community.”

Have you been searching for a place where you can improve your abilities while making life-changing hope and healing tangible for those who need it most? There are currently open opportunities for biomedical positions on board, as well as so many more roles on board, from the engine room to the galley. Find your place on board today.