Sara Shuster recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of her volunteer placement by spending a week with two nurses with whom she volunteered in Ghana.
As a young nurse, Sara travelled to Ghana, where she volunteered in two different communities. She had a variety of responsibilities, including managing a children’s ward, organizing a pharmacy, and working in an outpatient clinic.
Sara immersed herself in her interesting, exciting and challenging new home. She spoke with locals to understand the issues they faced as women and nurses.
Back in Canada, Sara craved opportunities to share her experience with others, so along with other like-minded nurses, she started the Global Health Interest Group within the provincial nursing association (B.C.) and played a leadership role. Her volunteer experience gave her a newfound cultural competence that she applied to her work as a community health nurse in Vancouver and Winnipeg. At the University of Manitoba, Sara taught for nine years, which allowed her to encourage student nurses to discover the strengths and capacities of other people—rather than just needs. To ask, “what can we learn from these folks?”
Today, Sara is a Cuso International legacy donor and remains an active volunteer within her community and in nursing.