DocTours Newsletter June 2014

46265655e96c91286342759929ce0468Hi Everyone,

This month we share the amazing experience of two volunteers at an orphanage in Phnom Penh and also a blog from Curious, Interested about employee satisfaction in the workplace.  Bookings are open for our next small group Journey to Bhutan (just a tour – no conferencing or working involved) and we host Dr Amos Ndhere from Kenya during his visit to Australia.

Happy reading!

What’s Hot? Bhutan

Bhutan 1, {Date (YYYYMMDD)»}, Punakha, dzong, bridge, monks, view_800x1200 (2)

Photo by Jon Tanner

The Land of the Thunder Dragon

Following the successful journey to the land of the Thunder Dragon in May, the next small group journey to Bhutan is scheduled for 13-22 November 2014.

There is no conferencing and no work for you to do – just relax and enjoy the journey.

Register your interest now!

Something awesome?  Some volunteers in Phnom Penh

june14.1An Australian GP and her daughter (an Occupational Therapist) recently volunteered for 3 weeks at an orphanage in Phnom Penh.  There are 100+ children that are all moderately to severely disabled (cerebral palsy, autism, blind, downs syndrome).  We share their amazing experience:

“Orphanages in Cambodia have recently acquired notoriety for deceptive activities from unscrupulous people, but this was certainly not my experience. This country has had a shocking history of violence and corruption, and entrenched poverty is the norm.

My daughter Lara had some OT work to follow on with, and achieved much more than she set out to in equipment modification, education, sensory work with autistic children and organisational matters, and the carers were thrilled to see her return, particularly as she is so enthusiastic and positive, and can speak basic conversational Khmer.

I went with an open mind about how my time could best be spent. The orphanage is funded jointly by government, NGO’s and private benefactors (eg volunteers), with two Cambodian businesswomen (raised in Australia and France) doing the voluntary management since December 2013. They have no medical background, and on my arrival immediately asked for help in interviewing the part time doctor whose skills and effort were in doubt. This then rapidly progressed to a consultant role on how to restructure and improve the medical care of the children and staff. Using a translator initially, with a recently arrived Australian long term volunteer taking notes, I assessed all aspects of the running. With advice from Lara (who was able to provide information from her 4 month volunteering in 2012) we were able to commence significant changes (bearing in mind that the staff needed time to adapt, and funding avenues would need to be explored more.)

The doctor (who has decided to vacate his position now) worked up to 10 hours per week doing an average 12 consults per week, acute care (only if the untrained carers were able to decide which children were sick enough to be seen). The support nurse had no training and was dispensing medication, doing dressings, writing the doctors very brief notes. No ward rounds, no management plans, no files, no progress notes, no protocols for feeding or infection etc. Physio was well run by a locally trained woman in a treatment room with volunteer support, but no ward rounds or staff education. There will now be weekly rounds to assist staff with positioning, education on exercises and improve continuity of care. Carer staff have low self-esteem, are poorly paid, undervalued, usually very caring but uneducated women living with their families on site. They will soon be getting some health care which was unaffordable previously, by a trained nurse or part time doctor.” Read more.

The photo above shows a family leaving a medical clinic with the young child attached to an IV drip! 

Note from Doctours:  We have received a request to send some physiotherapiststo volunteer in Siem Reap – please contact us if you know someone who can help!

What else?

We are pleased to host Dr Amos Ndhere in Australia.  Many of our doctors met Amos in Kenya during our medical conference in 2005 and he was the inspiration behind the Amos Fund (link).

Doctours photographic competition, open to all medical students, will be launched at AMSA’s Global Health Conference in September 2014.  More details to follow.

We are very excited that our new website will be launched in the next few days.  There will be more information on our destinations and more functionality for our volunteers.

Curious, Interested?  Good boss + Good Work + Good Money = ?

If you employ people in your business, you’ve probably absorbed lessons about employees’ intrinsic needs: such as being treated fairly and respectfully and being recognised for their contributions.

In a healthy environment, where boss and employee are essentially reasonable, and neither having suspect integrity, 3 simple elements contribute to the employee being fundamentally satisfied in their workplace.

  • Good boss
  • Good work
  • Good money

As an employer, if you’re keen to retain good people, I’d encourage you to consider the 3 guiding principles, which hang off the elements:  Read more on Tracey’s blog and contact details: