Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Vermont Nurses Travel to Rwanda with Team Heart
Three Fletcher Allen nurses will be joining Team Heart for their 2014 trip to Rwanda this year – a first in the history of the organization, and an exciting adventure for Lili Bischof, Mark Sgantas and Nicholas Martin.
Rwanda has 11 million people – and no standing heart surgery program. Team Heart includes over 40 volunteers from around the U.S. The three nurses, all of whom work on Shepardson 3 North, will work in the step-down care area, helping patients who are recovering from open heart surgery. For Lili, travelling abroad to provide health care is not an entirely new experience – as a nursing student she visited Marrakesh, where she worked in a hospital and a health care clinic. Nick Martin has worked in the Peace Corps. And Mark Sgantas, who, in addition to being an RN at Fletcher Allen for over two decades is also a fire chief in Stowe, has assisted in the wake of such humanitarian disasters as Hurricane Katrina and Tropical Storm Sandy.
For each of them, it’s a way to combine what they love about their work on Shep 3 North with their sense of adventure.“I’ve always been fascinated with the human heart and how it works,” says Mark. “And I enjoy helping patients post-surgery, seeing them get well enough to go home and live their lives.” For Lili, it’s all about connecting with her patients – here and in Rwanda. “Because of the way our shifts work on Shep 3 North, we really get to see our patients progress through their experience with us.”
And for Nick Martin, going to Rwanda represents a continuation of what drew him to the Peace Corps. After that experience, he decided to go to nursing school. He will be working in the step-down area with Lili and Mark. “I’m really interested in helping critically ill patients,” he says, “and I’m excited about helping people where there is such a need.”
To learn more: www.teamheart.org.