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Surgical Nurse Departs for Service in Africa, September 09, 2013

Birmingham, AL - Brenna Boespflug, a surgical nurse from Denver, departed for Congo Saturday on a scholarship-funded volunteer mission trip on the world’s largest non-governmental ship.

Boespflug will serve for two weeks on the Africa Mercy, flagship for the global service organization Mercy Ships. Her service on the ship, where thousands of life-changing surgeries are performed, is being provided by Instruments of Mercy, a non-profit organization that provides surgical instrument repair for volunteer medical teams working throughout the world.

“I finished my master’s degree last year, and my long term goal, as soon as I finished my education, was to do mission trips, because a big part of nursing is being able to serve the poor, said Boespflug, who works at a surgery center in the Denver area. “I had seen a presentation about Mercy Ships, and I just had goose bumps. I knew that one day I was going to be on that ship.”

The presentation, as it turns out, was by a representative of Instruments of Mercy. “He had a great slide show with all of these wonderful pictures. Just the work that Mercy Ships does and the idea of this floating hospital, it was just incredible.”

Instruments of Mercy provides the scholarship with the support of Integrated Medical Systems International, Inc. (IMS), a surgical instrument management and clinical consulting company based in Birmingham, Ala. Through Instruments of Mercy, IMS also sends repair technicians to the ship once per year to refurbish the instruments the ship's surgeons use to repair cleft palates, obstetrical injuries, orthopedic deformities, and other problems.
Toney Peer, executive director of Instruments of Mercy, recently announced that the nurses' scholarship will now be named for James Crowe, an IMS technician who traveled to Africa twice to repair instruments on the ship. The James Crowe scholarship will be awarded each year to a nurse, who otherwise would have to pay for her own transportation to the ship, as well as room and board.

“The James Crowe scholarship for nurses will provide the opportunity for nurses to serve who otherwise might not be able to afford it,” Peer said.

Gene Robinson, CEO of IMS, said the company’s involvement with Instruments of Mercy and Mercy Ships has connected its employees with volunteer medical personnel around the world.  “The mission of IMS is to ensure that surgical teams have instruments ready and available when the patient is on the table,” he said. Through these organizations, we are able to do that for people we will never know around the world, and we are able to help doctors and nurses who are giving up their time to volunteer.”

A second scholarship winner, Renae Wright of Scottsdale, Ariz., will have the opportunity to serve on the ship in 2014. The 2015 winner will be selected in a contest that will be promoted at the 2014 Annual Congress of the Association for periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN). The Congress will be held March 29-April 2 in Chicago.

Contact: Toney Peer,


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