Katrina Sohrakoff

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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My experience working at St. Paul’s Specialized General Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, was extraordinarily rewarding. I worked with some truly dedicated people who not only helped me navigate the ins and outs of the hospital, but also taught me more about Ethiopian culture. I was initially assigned to the patient flow and medical records team—which was responsible for implementing the new guidelines created by the Ministry of Health—but I ended up tackling a variety of management issues. This project markedly improved medical record accuracy by increasing accountability; created a medical equipment inventory system so the hospital can better manage their biomedical equipment and allowed the hospital to better know the functional status of their machines and where the machines are located at any particular moment. This project also developed the hospital’s very first admission and discharge policies; streamlined patient flow; developed a computer-based bed-management tracking system; and laid the groundwork for an outpatient preoperative clinic, which should shorten the one-year waiting list by allowing the hospital to perform an additional 620 surgeries per year through increased bed turnover. Additionally, I rolled out tuberculosis (TB) isolation rooms, thereby separating TB patients from those with HIV, congestive heart failure and myriad other non-surgical conditions. This internship gave me the opportunity to fully use the skills I learned in the Health Management Program and to make a lasting difference at this hospital. It is an experience I will never forget.