Maureen Sloan: Equipping the Next Generation of Healthcare Workers with CURE
If there’s one word that describes Maureen Sloan, a Nurse Consultant for CURE, it’s encourager.
The joy she gets from using her skills for God’s kingdom across CURE’s network of hospitals is evident as she discusses her work. The longtime CURE volunteer sees her position as a support role for the hospital staff working passionately to provide life-changing and sometimes lifesaving medical care.
“I see God using me as an encourager. Not just a trainer. Not just a professional nurse,” says the Kentucky resident. “But I do believe the Lord has given me the spiritual gift of encouragement and helpfulness.”
Maureen has been a catalyst for excellence and compassion in the network’s various nursing departments, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Uganda, and Zambia.
She trains nurses in the technical aspects of the job, such as wound care and interviewing patients. She also helps equip them to provide spiritual and emotional care for patients—an integral part of CURE’s mission to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God.
She says one of the most rewarding parts of her job is watching the hospital staff embrace the fruits of their efforts. “If I train them to do something, and I come back a year later and see they’re still doing it and they’ve improved, that is God’s blessing on them. And that excites me,” she says.
Serving with the GMHC
Another aspect of her role that Maureen finds thrilling is representing CURE at the yearly Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC), where she helps set up the exhibitor booth and chats with attendees about the service opportunities available through CURE.
The GMHC—which runs November 9–11, 2023, in Louisville, Kentucky—is the largest medical missions conference in the United States.
Medical professionals from around the world gather to share their knowledge and meet others who are passionate about global health and mission work. CURE sends our team there to identify and connect with the next generation of Maureens—people who will serve with us to treat children made vulnerable by disability.
Maureen sees the GMHC, which she started attending 12 years ago, as another opportunity to encourage and give to those in her field. She finds it reassuring to witness the next generation of healthcare workers committing their futures to medical missions. “There’s a great hope for the world,” she says, “because it just takes a spark to get the fire going.”
Her favorite part of the conference occurs at the end when everyone gets a small postcard and writes what they hope to do for the Lord in the next year. Then the card is mailed to them during the year as a reminder.
“It’s exciting to see three thousand people who are committed to the Lord, who are seeking His will in their lives, praising the Lord, and just being open to what God has for them.”
Following God’s Call
Being open to God’s call is exactly how Maureen first connected with CURE and, eventually, the GMHC. In 2004, a doctor she knew from her church and community in Kentucky was serving as the medical director at CURE Uganda and invited her to train nurses there in nursing and the spiritual side of patient care.
Because of Maureen’s background in nursing education and experience in neurological nursing, the doctor thought she would be perfect for the role.
He was correct. Maureen fell in love right away with the position—and the country.
“I knew immediately as I began to teach and train the nurses there that, oh my goodness, my heart was just so full and so excited to be a part of that,” she said. “I love my work.”
She returned to Uganda several times and was eventually joined by her husband, Paul, a professor of anesthesiology at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Paul’s expertise is in pain management, so he volunteers at the hospitals administering peripheral nerve blocks to help alleviate children’s pain after surgery.
The couple has spent most of the last ten years volunteering at the CURE hospital in French-speaking Niger in West Africa. Maureen was born in Montreal, so she is fluent in French and loves using the language in her work in Niger.
She also appreciates that she and Paul can use their skills doing parallel work within the hospital—him usually in the operating room and her training nurses in the ward. Although she usually travels alone, she loves when he can join her. “It’s just awesome to serve side-by-side,” she says. “It’s always better when we’re together.”
Maureen, who is nearing retirement age, acknowledges that there will be a day when it’s time for someone else—perhaps even someone she connected with at the GMHC—to step into her role. But not just yet.
“As long as we’re able,” she says, “we’ll keep coming.”
Click here to see a schedule of events for this year’s Global Missions Health Conference.