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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
One of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The system includes 13 hospital campuses, a nearly 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Geisinger is known for its focus on caring and innovative programs including the ProvenCare® best-practice approach to maximize quality, safety and value; ProvenHealth Navigator® advanced medical home; Springboard Health® population health program to improve the health of an entire community; ProvenExperience™ to provide refunds to patients unhappy with their care experience; and Geisinger’s MyCode® Community Health Initiative, the largest healthcare system-based precision health project in the world. With more than 215,000 volunteer participants enrolled, MyCode is conducting extensive research and returning medically actionable results to participants. A physician-led organization, with approximately 32,000 employees and more than 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger leverages an estimated $12.7 billion positive annual impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Repeatedly recognized nationally for integration, quality and service, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to patient care, medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit, 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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