das magazin / 10 February

    A woman on a mission

    Travelling around Latin America with Margarita Ortiz, a medical trainer


    As the crow flies, there are over 6,000 km separating Acapulco, a city on the Mexican Pacific coast , and Santiago de Chile, the Chilean capital which sits in the midst of the Andes. What do these two places have in common?

    They both fall within Margarita Ortiz’s assigned regions as part of her work with L&R’s “Flying Faculty”. This is the name given to the international trainers who move around the globe each and every year to provide training to customers and partners on a broad spectrum of medical and technical subjects. The courses offered cover subjects ranging from wound management, to lymphology, or even hygiene and infection prevention in operating rooms. The Faculty’s objective is to promote the skills and expertise of users by working closely with themes from real medical practice. This is a job which Margarita Ortiz, one of nine trainers at the Flying Faculty, takes very seriously.

    Since 2016, she has been working as the medical trainer for Latin America, travelling around the continent to share her knowledge on wound care. Originally having trained as a nurse, she has an excellent knowledge of the needs of her audience. She is originally from Columbia, where she completed her studies at the National University of Bogota in 2012, and discovered her passion for wound care. She continued her studies at the University of Sao Paulo in Brasil, specialising in wound-healing disorders and incontinence: as a result, she is also a qualified nurse in entero-stoma therapies.

    Nowadays she works across ten different countries in Latin America, from Mexico right down to Chile, and is responsible for technical support, training courses and workshops, training not only external service providers, but also nursing staff and doctors in modern wound care. Since she completed her advanced training in lymphology, she is particularly passionate about promoting the correct treatment for lymphoedema, and raising awareness of the disease. After all, with the right treatment, the accumulation of excess fluid, which tends to occur in the limbs, can be brought back under control.

    Compression is a key element of this treatment, as the external forces applied by a compression bandage increases the pressure on tissues, leading to less fluid collecting, and improvements in lymphoedema. Unfortunately, there is a lack of experts specialising in the treatment of diseases of the lymphatic system, with many patients being referred from doctor to doctor without the required treatment being initiated. Through her training courses, Margarita is making a valuable contribution to plugging these knowledge gaps.

    On her mission, she passes through countless countries every year, and visits dozens of different cities. Depending on which country she will offering her training courses in, she takes flights of between one and six hours to reach her workplace. She rarely has the chance to stay in any one city or even country for more than a week! Her typical working day starts at around 5-6 a.m. when she takes her first glance at her smartphone. Margarita is always working 4-6 hours behind Central European Time, and so most of her important emails come in when she is asleep.

    Up-to-date on all the new developments, she has time for a quick breakfast before she kicks off her training programme for the day. Margarita occasionally represents L&R at large health congresses and fairs, but most of her work is based out of hospitals where she conducts small training courses with just two participants, or presents large lectures with audiences of around 50, covering a wide range of different topics. There is one constant throughout all her training courses and presentations: she achieves the results through careful and diligent preparation. She not only adapts her programme to each individual target group and region, but also makes sure she is always up to date on the most recent advances and trends in the health sector.

    An average programme module lasts around one hour, leaving time after the session for questions and comments from the audience. The fact that Margarita can expand her own expertise in each country she visits, and through each seminar which she presents, is credit to the interested and engaged audiences who welcome her. This enriched expertise is something which she loves to be able to share with her subsequent audiences. And indeed, her next audience is expecting her soon, so she heads off to the next hospital where she will often end up giving a lecture on an entirely different topic.

    On a typical day, Margarita will visit between 3 and 5 hospitals, depending on which city she is currently working in. In a metropolitan city like Sao Paulo, however, with its over 20 million inhabitants, she might only make it to around two per day due to the large distances involved and the amount of traffic to contend with. She has trained over 500 medical staff over the past 2 years. Her practical demonstrations on the correct application of L&R products are particularly important, whether its in-depth wound bed preparation using Debrisoft, effective exudate management, or the correct application of compression bandages: Margarita has the right solution on hand for any problem which comes her way.

    And the thing she enjoys about her job the most? Knowing that by passing on her knowledge she is supporting not only doctors and nursing staff in their challenging day-to-day practice, but that she is also improving the quality of life of countless patients across the Latin American continent.