School of Nursing graduate Cierra Battle shares experience as a nurse in Tanzania

December 2020 School of Nursing graduate Cierra Battle accepted an elective program in Tanzania. In this article, she shared some of her experience with us.

A picture containing the Muhimbili National Hospital-Mloganzila tower.I am one month into my time here in Tanzania. I am spending my six months at Muhimbili National Hospital-Mloganzila. Mloganzila Hospital is a national hospital located in the city of Dar es Salaam. It's a referral hospital, which means they receive cases from other hospitals, health centers, and dispensaries if those facilities are full or the patient has a complicated case. Mloganzila is a beautiful hospital that offers services ranging from internal medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry and mental health, diet and nutrition, and more. It's also a teaching and research facility.


 Photo of the labor and delivery ward.The Labor and Delivery Ward is where I am spending my time. The Labor Ward consists of a recovery room, a pharmacy office, two delivery rooms, a waiting room, and two operating theatres. Because I spent time in another Tanzanian Hospital in 2018, I already had an idea of what to expect. However, Mloganzila is very different from previous hospitals I have visited in the country. When you enter the ward, you will notice an emphasis put on infection control and safety. Anyone entering the ward must remove their shoes and change into clean scrubs and shoes or wear a gown over their clothes. Only those in proper attire can enter the delivery rooms and operating theatre. All nurses, midwives, doctors, and interns wear the designated scrubs, shoes, mask, and surgical caps when working. There are eight beds in the waiting room and privacy is always provided to each mother despite how crowded it may get. Documentation of all patient care is improving and very important in this. Routine cleaning and decontamination take place 24 hours a day.


 A picture containing wall, indoor, bathroom, sink in a maternity ward.The daily routine always starts off with morning report followed by preparing the unit for the day. Everyone is assigned to their specific area and works together to clean and prepare equipment for the shift. I appreciate how resourceful nurses are in Tanzania. Equipment is not wasted and when there is something not available, we improvise. Gloves can be used for tourniquets and cotton wool can be used for cleaning, making pads, or sanitizing. The number of patients varies. Because it is a referral hospital there are days when the waiting room is overflowing to recovery and the operating theatres are backed up with scheduled cesarean sections. There are also days when a whole shift can pass with no patients. Working as a nurse in Tanzania is very different from the United States. The roles of those working in the ward are not as defined. For example, you will find that everyone can fill another person's role. In my first month, I have assisted in multiple deliveries, acted as a surgeon's assistant in three cesarean sections, acted as a scrub nurse for c-sections, and I have learned so much about maternal health and management in Tanzania. Things are more hands-on, and you are encouraged to practice, practice, practice.


Battle has committed to doing a diversity presentation for the School of Nursing in Spring 2022 after her return from Tanzania.