LEWISTOWN, Pa.Geisinger Lewistown Hospital’s registered nurse Cathrine Fultz has just returned from volunteering onboard the world’s largest private hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, that was docked in Cameroon. She spent two weeks providing medical treatment for the underserved population with a team of Mercy Ships’ volunteers from all over the world.

Mercy Ships is an international faith-based organization bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor. Its programs offer holistic support to developing nations striving to make healthcare accessible for all. Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free healthcare services, capacity building and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world.

This was the first time Cathrine volunteered with Mercy Ships and she is planning to make it a more regular venture. While on the Africa Mercy, Cathrine mostly attended to patients to restore function to their limbs. As open flame is the most common cooking method in these areas, accidents often happen.  Due to lack of access to healthcare, these burns are not treated properly and as a result, scarring can cause issues with limb mobility. Cathrine also spent some time interacting with the kids at the Hospital OutPatient Extension (HOPE) center. 

“I’ve always been passionate about helping others and that steered me into furthering my education in nursing. I am happy that I can serve my local community here through Geisinger and I am also able to extend help internationally through this program. It is very fulfilling to see patients being always thankful to know that they can treated and can resume normal life soon after,” said Fultz. 

Cathrine is motivated to share her experience with the hope that more and more people from the community will seize the available opportunities to volunteer and help make someone smile.

“I’m always happy when nurses in my team go on a mission trip. I view it as testimonial of their dedication to caring for patients. Cathrine is an exceptional nurse and I hope that she will be an example for others to follow suit," said Heather Lehman, nursing operations director, Geisinger Western Region Surgical Suites.


About Geisinger
Geisinger is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record and the development of innovative care delivery models such as ProvenHealth Navigator®, ProvenCare® and ProvenExperience®. As one of the nation’s largest health service organizations, Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 45 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania, and also in southern New Jersey at AtlantiCare, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient. In 2017, the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine and Geisinger Jersey Shore Hospital became the newest members of the Geisinger Family. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 30,000 employees, including nearly 1,600 employed physicians, 13 hospital campuses, two research centers, and a 583,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $12.7 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Geisinger has repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Geisinger nurse Cathrine Fultz in front of the ship Africa Mercy
Geisinger Registered Nurse Cathrine Fultz in front of the world's largest private humanitarian hospital ship Africa Mercy.

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