My name is Jennifer Ditto and I am the scrub nurse going with the team to Uganda this year.I have been a nurse for 10 years, working in the operating room at UNC for 9 of those. I love to scrub pediatric heart procedures because of the challenge they present, but seeing such a small piece of what these kids go through wasn’t enough for me at one point though. I wanted to expand my view of the journey these kids take, so in 2005 I decided to further my education, going back to school to get a pediatric nurse practitioner degree. While I learned an incredible amount that I carry with me everyday caring for these children, I haven’t been able to get myself to give up being a part of the surgical aspect of their care.As the hours dwindle away, and the fury of preparation for the trip is coming to a close, I find myself a little overwhelmed with the thought that tomorrow I will be in Uganda. Never having been out of the country before, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of this year’s trip to Uganda. I hope to teach the operating room staff there, about the congenital defects, as well as the procedure that we will use to repair them. Being a part of this team has been amazing so far, as we have been meeting together to plan the trip and gather supplies and equipment. Before even getting there, I am realizing how fortunate we are for the technology that we have accessible to us, and the people we work with that come together for a cause as big as this. I can’t imagine how this is going to change my life in a few days.While I am grateful for the wonderful colleagues that are also taking this journey, none of this would be possible for me without the support of my family and friends. A special thanks to my son, and my parents who are staying with him, while I head off for an adventure around the world. And as a humorous aside, to those of you who have offered up some of your most prized possessions, should I need them to get home safely, I’ll miss you while I’m gone!
Jennifer Ditto, RN MSN - Uganda Mission 2008