Surgical Nurse Wins Volunteer Trip to Africa from Instruments of Mercy

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A surgical nurse from Lone Tree, Colo., has won an all-expense paid opportunity to volunteer onboard the Africa Mercy, a hospital ship that provides life-changing surgeries for the medically underserved.

Brenna Boespflug, RN, MSN, CNOR, won the scholarship sponsored by the non-profit organization Instruments of Mercy. Boespflug, a staff RN at a Denver surgery center, said the trip will be her first outside the United States and will fulfill a longtime goal.

Caring for the poor is an essential duty of the medical profession and something I want to pursue and make a permanent part of my career, she says. I am looking forward to gaining a new perspective on how the world lives and offering my services to those in need, she added. This is something I would not be able to do without financial assistance.


Mercy Ships is a global charity whose hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, operates off the coast of West Africa to bring hope and healing to the forgotten poor. The Africa Mercy is anchored off the coast of Conakry, Guinea until June, 2013.

The Africa Mercy has six fully equipped operating rooms where volunteer surgical teams perform thousands of life-changing procedures, says Toney Peer, executive director of Instruments of Mercy. Instruments of Mercy has been supporting Mercy Ships with instrument repair for several years, and this is another way for us to support them while helping a surgical nurse who wants to give back.

With the support of Integrated Medical Systems International, Inc. (IMS), Instruments of Mercy regularly refurbishes surgical instruments onboard the Africa Mercy.

IMS CEO and founder Gene Robinson said he has seen the positive impact the Mercy Ships experience has on volunteers. To be able to grant this opportunity to a nurse who wants to serve is an honor, Robinson says. This work brings a satisfaction unlike any other professional experience.

Angela Fadely, vice president of human resources for Mercy Ships, said Boespflugs nursing skills will be put to good use. Mercy Ships is so thankful to partner with Instruments of Mercy to give Brenna Boespflug this opportunity of a lifetime. Her gifts and talents as an Operating Nurse will bring hope and healing to those in great need, she said.

Boespflugs name was drawn from 39 entries by Sharon A. McNamara, MS, BSN, RN, CNOR. McNamara, a former national president for the Association of periOperative Nurses (AORN), said she has often heard from perioperative nurses that they would like to volunteer their services abroad but could not afford the cost. The scholarship, she said, will help a nurse fulfill this dream. This trip will also provide Africa Mercy with an experienced perioperative professional who has the knowledge and wisdom to provide safe, quality care for the patients, she says.

Source: Instruments of Mercy, Inc.