IMAGINE GIVING up a comfortable job as a nurse in a regional hospital to work for a charity, on a boat, for no pay.
Bundaberg Uniting Church member, Ellen Venz, has done just that when, in June, she began a four month placement on Mercy Ships International Hospital flagship Africa Mercy.
Ms Venz said she was excited to volunteer on board the world’s largest charity hospital ship which includes six operating
rooms, intensive care and ward bed space for up to 78 patients.
It has a volunteer crew from more than 30 nations onboard.
“I’ve always had itchy feet and love travelling and meeting people,” said Ms Venz.
“Lately I’ve had a strong feeling that … I would really like to give something back next time I go.”
After seeing a Mercy Ships volunteering brochure that said “best job in the world – worst pay in the world”, Ms Venz felt it was a nudge from God.
Mercy Ships is an international Christian charity described as a global charity that has operated hospital ships in developing nations since 1978.
Ms Venz is an intensive care nurse with nearly 10 years of nursing experience under her belt.
She said one of the things that attracted her to Mercy Ships was the familiar environment of working in an intensive care
nursing team in a hospital.
“This group in particular needed intensive care nurses, whereas other areas have more of a need for community nurses or
midwives,” she said.
Ms Venz is grateful to a number of people for helping her on this mission trip, having to raise the money to fund her placement on the ship.
“I’ve relied a lot on the generosity of others,” she said.
“I’ve been living with my parents which I am extremely grateful for.
“Friends and family members have also donated and I’ve given talks in the community to Rotary and CWA who have been very supportive financially.”
For more information visit www.mercyships.org
Photo : Bundaberg Uniting Church member Ellen Venz onboard Africa Mercy. Photo by crew