Nursing Led This Man to His Purpose

From the Field
Photo courtesy of Biju Abraham.
Photo courtesy of Biju Abraham.

Our promise of improving health and dignity during the COVID-19 pandemic endures. We're helping front-line health workers stay safe, nourished and empowered to better serve their patients by providing life-saving supplies and equipment, as well as remote training to bolster their response. We’re also providing nutritional assistance, hygiene kits and virtual health services to support people and their health needs so they can thrive. If you can, when you can, help us keep our promise to care for children and create hope for tomorrow.

Although Biju Abraham’s original dream wasn’t to be a nurse, it soon became his reality. 

Growing up, he dreamt of becoming a priest, but realized that nursing was a profession that offered the same fulfilment of helping people in need.  

“The greatest reward is being able to see and feel the changes in the life of others because of the work we do,” Biju said. “I’ve been able to take care of many patients and their families, share their pain and comfort them. I realized that this is a great divine ministry.” 

Biju first joined Operation Smile in 2010 and has taken on many roles in the last 10 years.  

He’s volunteered his skills and expertise on more than 80 medical missions all around the world as an operating room (OR) nurse, clinical coordinator and educator.

Photo courtesy of Biju Abraham.
Photo courtesy of Biju Abraham.

During his time as an OR nurse, Biju worked on creating an environment that allowed patients and family members to feel emotionally understood and physically safe.  

His duties included controlling the logistics and workflow of the operating room, often managing two surgical tables simultaneously. 

As a clinical coordinator, he united the entire nursing team and served as a team captain of sorts. During the mission, he would coordinate with all teams to organize pre-surgery and pre-consultation meetings; create the surgical schedule for the week; and lead surgical teams, anesthesia teams and the pediatric intensivists. 

Today, he is the Operation Smile Field Quality Officer on our Quality team.

For the last two years, Biju’s work has focused on evaluating current medical standards and further enhancing and strengthening our safety protocols during medical missions.  

“The safety and effectiveness of treatment are the two critical focuses we utilize to measure our quality,” Biju said. 

His team measures medical quality based on six critical measures: 

  • Safety. 
  • Effectiveness: Providing care services that improve the patient’s quality of life. 
  • Patient-centered: Considering each individual’s preferences and cultural values to guide all clinical decisions. 
  • Timeliness: Delays can be harmful and disrupt development. 
  • Efficiency: Getting it right the first time. 
  • Accessibility: Regardless of class, gender, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics, the quality of care received is same anywhere in the world.
Photo courtesy of Biju Abraham.
Photo courtesy of Biju Abraham.

In March of this year, we made the decision to suspend international travel for medical volunteers and postpone medical missions and care delivery at care centers.

But Biju and his medical quality team are hard at work developing a new set of protocols that he says, “Aim to reduce the number of serious medical events by identification, prevention initiatives, and detection of medical errors prior to escalation of risk or patient.” 

He applies the skills and knowledge he gained as a nurse to improve his work today. He is confident that when it’s safe for us to safely resume surgical care, our teams around the world will be prepared. 

“Nurses are the heart of health care,” Biju said. “They are the voice of patient safety and quality of health.”

The WHO has declared 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. Throughout the year, we’re sharing stories like Biju’s with hope that they will inspire people to celebrate the nursing profession, the impact they make on the lives of patients and their families and inspire the next generation of nurses.

Help us keep our promise to patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Your support today means we can continue to help them through these uncertain times and provide them with the surgery they deserve when it's safe to resume our work around the world.

Operation Smile Field Quality Officer and operating room nurse supervisor Biju Abraham. Photo: Jasmin Shah.
Operation Smile Field Quality Officer and operating room nurse supervisor Biju Abraham. Photo: Jasmin Shah.