Registered Nurse and Midwife at Mater Hospital Redland, Terry Collier is a long time medical volunteer Operation Smile Australia. Terry has completed seven medical missions around South East Asia, helping to provide free surgeries to children born with facial deformities.
Why did you decide to volunteer with Operation Smile?
Volunteering with Operation Smile offered me the opportunity to work with a well-established and organised organisation that matched my own personal values, ethics and drivers to help others in need. Operation Smile gave me an opportunity to work closely with medical and nursing teams in a variety of under-resourced countries and settings.
How has volunteering with Operation Smile been beneficial to your professional career as a nurse?
Volunteering with Operation Smile has been beneficial to me professionally, as it has allowed me to appreciate and experience first-hand the challenges faced by host teams as they deliver health care in (very often) difficult and challenging circumstances. Throughout my medical missions, I have learnt from my international counterparts and expanded and grown my knowledge, whilst also learning to be extremely adaptable, flexible, tolerant and patient. Volunteering has made me appreciate just how fortunate I am to live and work in Australia.
How does the work of Operation Smile inspire you?
The culture within Operation Smile is one of caring, commitment, tolerance, enthusiasm, learning and fun, it has made me very humble to have the opportunity to work with families who often have very little. It gives me a great sense of joy to see the patients and family members when they see the transformation of a cleft lip repair on themselves or their loved one. Operation Smile inspires my desire to learn, each mission teaches me something new about myself and the world around me.
“A smile lights up a face, when words can’t be understood, a smile lets the other person know that they are important, where there is diversity a smile says you are accepted. A picture paints a thousand words – nothing is more poignant than watching a child smile for the first time.”- Terry Collier