plastic and reconstructive surgeon mongolia

Nursing has taken Thao Phan (pictured left) from the northern suburbs of Melbourne to the vast landscapes of rural Mongolia.

Thao is a Theatre Nurse Unit Manager at Northern Hospital in Epping, and works alongside anaesthetist, Dr David Pescod.

David has volunteered with Interplast since 2003 and is currently Interplast’s Country Coordinator for Mongolia.

David identified great potential in Thao and asked if he would consider volunteering in the challenging but rewarding environment of the Mongolian health system.

“It was the first time being involved with volunteering overseas and I saw it as a great opportunity to give back and use my skills to benefit another community,” Thao said.

“The experience has also put some perspective back into my career.”

Prior to the visit, Thao thought the language barrier would be difficult and the limited resources challenging.

“This was not the case,” he said.

“The local medical and nursing teams at Khovsgol United Hospital were very competent, dedicated, professional and eager to learn, which made it much easier than expected and most enjoyable.”

Outside of the hospital, Thao and the Interplast volunteer team learned about Mongolian culture and traditions from the local medical staff.

“Most memorable was our visit to the stunning countryside to enjoy the generous hospitality of local anaesthetist, Dr Zula and her family,” Thao said.

“We got to see how they live in their traditional ger (family home) and herd their stock of cows, sheep and goats.”

Like many Interplast volunteers, Thao feels he would love to be involved in more programs.

“I have a lot more to give,” he said.

If you are a qualified nurse specialising in theatre or recovery, anaesthetic, plastics, surgical or ward nursing or nurse educating, and are interested in volunteering with Interplast, you can find out more here:

This program was supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), and the Bright Blue Charity for Sick Children.