Julie Lein, BSN, RN
Clinical Nurse II – Float Pool/ED
Clinical Nurse Julie Lein started volunteering with humanitarian organizations from around the world seven years before becoming a nurse. Since then, her passion and love for working with medical missions has only grown. Read more about Julie’s thoughts on how volunteering has improved her life and her nursing practice below.
Seven years before becoming a nurse, I started volunteering with humanitarian organizations from around the world. Since then, my passion and love for working with medical missions has only grown. Some of the medical mission trips I’ve been involved with include: Mother Theresa’s Orphanage in India, setting up medical clinics in rural villages of Mexico, and providing medical relief in Haiti in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. I will be going to Uganda later this year and I am about to go on a trip to Lebanon this April to work with Syrian Refugees who have been displaced from their homes due to 7 years of civil war. I will be going to Lebanon with SAMS, the Syrian American Medical Society, which is a nonpolitical, noprofit medical relief organization that is working on the front lines of crisis relief for Syrians. Over 1 million Syrians are currently registered as refugees in Lebanon today and they are in desperate need of medical, dental, and mental health care. We will be stationed in the Bekaa Valley working with a team of Doctors, Nurses, OT/PT’s, Infectious Disease specialists and Mental Health providers. As the Syrian civil war rages on and tensions grow along the Syrian boarders it is unclear what the conditions will be or in what capacity we will be needed to handle a knowingly large volume of caseloads. The only thing we have to rely upon is our working medical knowledge and expertise and each other as we work towards the same common goal of medically treating, improving and saving as many lives as we can.
No trip is ever the same. The conditions are always different, the needs are always vast, and you never know what to expect. However, there is one constant that always remains the same on each mission I’ve been on, and that is the beauty of learning from the people I’ve worked with and cared for. There is nothing more incredible and powerful than connecting with people from around the world, learning from them, and hearing their stories. Although my goal is always to help others and improve their lives, I must admit, it is my life that is greatly been improved because of the people I have met on these medical missions. Even though I don’t always speak the same language as those I am caring for and I may not be able to communicate directly with them, it’s incredible what a smile, a hug or a simple holding of one’s hand can do and mean…Love and Kindness truly are a Universal Language! Humanitarian medical mission trips have undoubtedly changed my life. They inspire and challenge me to not only be a better nurse here at Stanford but a better person in general. After all, our greatness is not in what we have, but in what we give.