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Happy Nurses Week from Operation Smile!

Ann Campbell, Operation Smile Senior Director of Nursing Practice, observes nurses providing care to a young patient at an Operation Smile medical mission to Santarem, Brazil. Photo: Paulo Fabre.

By Ann Campbell, Operation Smile Senior Director of Nursing Practice.

Happy Nurses Week to our volunteer nurses around the world!

It has been another exciting and busy year for Operation Smile.  We celebrate our 35th anniversary this year and our nurses that continue to lovingly give their time to help children around the world. Many of us have experienced milestones and challenges, yet we continue to stretch ourselves to provide compassionate leadership and care to the patients and families we serve. After 35 years as an organization one could ask, “What more can we do?”

This year, the International Council of Nurses challenges us to be “A Voice to Lead, Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” The United Nations has adopted 17 goals covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, and SDG 3 addresses good health and well-being. Our work takes us into settings where we must contemplate the link between wider conditions and the health of individuals and communities. We believe you are the leaders optimizing movement towards this goal. 

Recovery room nurse Florence Wachira tends to a young patient during an Operation Smile surgical training program at Rwinkwavu District Hospital in Rwanda. Photo: Margherita Mirabella.

Operation Smile believes that access to safe surgery is a fundamental human right. Our “Until We Heal” campaign advocates for access to well-timed and effective surgery to all people regardless of economic and social barriers. By offering our expertise and support, we can provide models of surgical care and education to increase the number of skilled health care providers while expanding our efforts to find patients in the places we work.

We bring our energy and expertise into challenging environments. We recruit, screen and show love to hundreds of hopeful patients and parents, working long days to provide the care they need. We celebrate our diversity as a multi-cultural group, taking the opportunity to learn from each other while communicating in the common languages of love and smiles. We explore new and creative systems, driving ourselves to provide the highest level of care for every single patient.

Pre/post operative nurse Shandra Kight conducts a patient health screening during a medical mission to Cebu City, Philippines. Photo: Jessica Brandi Lifland.

As we experience the incredible growth from medical missions to comprehensive programs in many countries, we hope you celebrate all that we have been able to accomplish together. Whether new or experienced, you have gone above and beyond for the children and families who need you the most. Many of you have become our nurse leaders and educators. You have each selflessly mentored and shared your knowledge and skill and, I’m sure, remain humbled by the fact that the fulfillment you receive in return far outweighs how much you have given.

Nurse Girlie Mae Dacuycuy prepares surgical instruments for use in the operating room during an Operation Smile medical mission to Cauayan City, Philippines. Photo: Zute Lightfoot.

I challenge you, as nurses, to continue to take care of each other. We have much to celebrate and much work to do as we continue to challenge governments to take care of those in the shadows.

We celebrate and thank you for your continued selflessness and commitment to make the world a better place.

Kindest Regards,

Ann Campbell

Operating room nurse Rosilda Silva cares for a young patient during an Operation Smile medical mission to Fortaleza, Brazil. Photo: Paulo Fabre.


It takes as little as $240 and as few as 45 minutes to provide life-changing surgery and a bright, beautiful new smile to a waiting child.