By LULU MARK
AUSTRALIAN nurse Corey Sclater is among the hundreds of hard working medical officers in the frontline as PNG fights to contain the Coronavirus (Covid-19) surge.
Corey, 24, hails from Maroubra in Sydney, New South Wales. He was working as an acute care specialist at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Randwick in June when he got the call to come to PNG under the St John Health Emergency Support Team. It is part of the Australian Volunteers programme through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Nurse Corey will be here until March. He is currently the assistant director for nursing at the Nightingale Covid-19 center in Taurama, Port Moresby.
“ I guess as a health worker, you have the strength to keep helping patients even in a crisis. I have seen this immensely with my PNG colleagues.”
Before the center was opened, he served as the clinic nurse educator and ambulance
educator with the St John Ambulance PNG.
“As our closest neighbor, PNG had helped Australia multiple times over the years such as during the Second World War where Papua New Guineans helped the injured and sick soldiers. I always wanted to return the favor.”
Corey had been serving as a volunteer health care professional for the St John Ambulance in Australia for years. So when he saw a call-out for emergency assistance in Port Moresby from the chief executive officer Matt Cannon due to the Covid-19, he jumped at the chance to volunteer.
“I know all patients by name and assess them to ensure they are getting better.”
His working hours are from around 8am to 10pm
Nurse Corey is enjoying the opportunity to work alongside brilliant, hardworking and clinically advanced staff, to assist PNG in the Covid-19 crisis which for him is “not only career-changing but also life-changing”.
He is overwhelmed by the number of cases he has to deal with. And the floor at the center is of basketball court which is not “the usual clinic floor I am used to”.
“The oxygen is sourced from large cylinders which need regular changing. The nurses complete this without even thinking twice to help patients.
“Sometimes when you lack things, you gain so much in using advanced clinical judgment and reasoning in completing proper physical assessments which I would not get much exposure to back home.”
He at times finds it difficult to communicate with patients because of the language barrier.
“But the friendly smiles, welcoming voices and appreciative gestures speak a universal language which I will never forget.”
Nurse Corey plans to become a doctor one day.
His advice to PNG people is to get vaccinated as soon as possible, wear a mask and wash your hands.
He has imparted a lot of what he knows and has learnt a lot too during his stint in PNG.
“In the face of the Covid-19, we must be all wantok. I have never seen such dedication, compassion, empathy and strength from health workers.
“I guess as a health worker, you have the strength to keep helping patients even in a crisis. I have seen this immensely with my PNG colleagues.”