The children's courage and cooperation in the perioperative period was most remarkable. Even the youngest patients aged one to two years old endured peripheral IV insertion before arriving to the operating room, and those in recovery were most brave and patient with the staff of strangers.
There was an overwhelming sentiment of gratitude from the community for the services provided. This experience has been invaluable to my training as a nurse anesthetist in not only providing care for challenging cleft palate procedures with unfamiliar equipment and a dual occupancy operating room, but also how well all members of the team worked together to optimally facilitate the mission.
Navigating unfamiliar equipment was most challenging and most rewarding, as well as relearning and practicing my lost Spanish skills in order to instill greater confidence and better engage with the community served and members of the mission team from Ecuador.
This experience has emphasized the importance of being able to adapt quickly to a changing workflow while communicating effectively among multidisciplinary team members throughout that process. This experience has also reiterated the importance of remaining flexible but proactive in facilitating safe and effective anesthesia care and how comprehensive communication and critical thinking is imperative to achieve this.