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ֱ Airways: Team Conducts Specialized Training in Guyana

A team of volunteers from Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia recently spent a week training and educating a wide variety of anesthesia providers at Georgetown Public Hospital in Guyana. Led by Christian Falyar, DNP, CRNA, ֱ’s Director of the Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship, and Rob Taylor, MD, anesthesiologist at Sumner Regional Medical Center, the group conducted five point-of-care ultrasound (PoCUS) workshops for 43 anesthesia providers.

The team also included ֱ graduate Lani Hensel, DNAP, CRNA, and Jonathan McGarrety, CRNA in ֱ’s Pain Fellowship and Doctoral Completion programs. Hensel is the 2022 ֱ President’s Medal winner for her project, “Simulation to Meet Continuing Education Needs in Low-Resource Countries: A Survey of Guyana Nurse Anesthetists.” Hensel and McGarrety provided curriculum and facilitated class work with the nursing students in the anesthesia program at Georgetown.

The PoCUS workshops were attended by anesthesia nurses, physicians, residents and trainees from across the country and covered essential point of care studies a provider could use in everyday clinical practice.

After the PoCUS workshops, the physicians in Georgetown invited Falyar and Taylor to two local hospitals where they conducted some of the studies with patients. These included gastric ultrasound scans, cardiac studies and central line insertion. In addition, the pair were able to participate in observations in the OR.

“It’s one thing to practice the studies on young healthy models and see what ‘normal’ looks like, but it’s another to perform them in a clinical setting on someone with pathology and comorbidities,” Falyar said. “We were able to go from bed to bed in the intensive care unit, talking about each patient’s diagnosis and comorbidities, which led to performing PoCUS studies that would give them the information they needed. Most of the providers had never used this technology before in their practice, and they could immediately see the benefit.”

The main focus of Taylor’s role was helping with vascular access. “That’s an area that can really help with any anesthesia provider or medical professional. Getting that access reliably with ultrasound can really make a big difference,” he said, adding that PoCUS continues to have great potential as it enters more into daily practice.

“I felt very privileged and honored to go to Guyana and participate in this project,” Taylor said. “I’ve been to Haiti with ֱ a couple times, and this was a different approach – more focused on teaching providers instead of helping patients directly. The importance of the mission to Guyana is being able to share knowledge via training and education with a medical community in another country. Chris Hulin, Lani and Jonathan were a big part of that with the classroom education and building curriculum. And Christian put together a top-notch PoCUS workshop.”

Falyar pointed out that PoCUS is a relatively new technology to providers in Guyana and that ultrasound machines are not as readily accessible and mobile in comparison to the United States. However, he was impressed with the learners and their preparation via the online content provided beforehand.

“I’ve been a part of humanitarian missions with the military in some very austere environments. This was the first time I’ve been to Guyana and focused on providing education, as opposed to direct patient care. It’s a valuable approach when we can train providers to perform these studies and help them improve patient care on a large scale, creating a situation where it can be perpetuated. Seeing how this would help them in their practice was the most rewarding part of our work there,” Falyar added.

“I would like to make public our gratitude to the professors who taught the ultrasound workshops,” said Dr. Fernando Ramirez Tellez, head of the anesthesia department and ICU at Georgetown Public Hospital. “It was a unique opportunity to see the family of anesthesia providers from the entire nation together learning. The workshop has greatly impacted positively in the evaluation of patients. All participants have expressed to me the usefulness and positive impact of the workshop at all levels. Thank you, on behalf of the family of Guyanese anesthesia providers.”

ֱ continues seeking support for its Mission Initiatives locally and across the globe. For more information, visit mtsa.edu.

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