Heroes of Orbis: Angela Purcell

Angela first joined our Volunteer Faculty back in 2012. Now, as Head Nurse for the Flying Eye Hospital Angela leads our nursing training programs, sharing her passion for infection control and saving sight with the next generation of nurses around the world.

Angela Purcell, Orbis Head Nurse, aboard the Flying Eye Hospital

Angela Purcell is Head Nurse for the Flying Eye Hospital

Angela’s journey to nursing began the day she was a patient for the first time. Inspired by the care she received, she decided to leave her legal career behind and make the switch to nursing.

While training at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London more than two decades ago, Angela had a chance encounter with Orbis at a conference which sparked her interest, but the timing was never right: I promised myself:One day, when I'm a qualified ophthalmic nurse, I will give freely of my services to this organization’”. Fast forward to 2012, and she decided to bite the bullet and apply to join our Volunteer Faculty:

As luck would have it, a few months later, I was flying internationally to join the Flying Eye Hospital team as a volunteer scrub nurse in 2012. I thought as I flew across the Indian Ocean, ‘At long last, my dream has come true!’

Angela Purcell

Flying Eye Hospital Head Nurse

Her dream became reality when just a few months after this she was appointed as Orbis’s Head Nurse. During her time with Orbis, Angela has travelled the world, sharing her knowledge and passion for infection control and emergency preparedness in patient care – two topics that have become ever more important during the pandemic.

Angela’s understanding of the importance of these areas has contributed to the Flying Eye Hospital achieving AAAASF accreditation, the gold standard for patient safety—something we are all incredibly proud of.

Angela Purcell, Orbis Head Nurse, aboard the Flying Eye Hospital

Angela's passion and dedication for infection control helps the Flying Eye Hospital maintain its world-leading status

During the pandemic, face-to-face training has been temporarily put on hold, but this hasn’t stopped Angela. She has led her team to transform their approach and move training programs online, making use of our telemedicine platform Cybersight to ensure we continue to support our partners across the globe.

Virtual training is a great way to reach everyone globally. Also, the Flying Eye Hospital team, and my team of nurses have always been a close-knit team. A lot of visitors to the plane will see us and think we look like a family, and that really is the truth.

Angela Purcell

Flying Eye Hospital Head Nurse

Coping with this level of change has been challenging for everyone, as Angela tells us: Another wave of the pandemic comes, and sometimes it can feel like a movie, but we get on with our training, and it all seems okay. And it’s this drive which inspires those around her to keep learning, participating and advancing their knowledge so they can ensure patients receive the best possible care.

Mentoring others to develop in their practice is something which brings Angela great joy. She tells us what she finds so rewarding about this is seeing others progress, build their confidence and most importantly of all take on the role of trainer themselves!

Slideshow: Angela leading our nursing programs on board the Flying Eye Hospital

Angela’s passion for her work shines through when we speak to her I am a nurse after all, and we always tell from the heart”, she tells us. Already, Angela and her team are preparing for what their work will look like post-COVID, ensuring they have the right tools in place for when we can all travel safely again.

We couldn’t do what we do without you Angela – your dedication and exemplary leadership are helping us transform patient care across the globe.

One day, I had to go to the hospital as a patient, and I was so inspired by the nurses. Seeing the care, they gave me, I thought that was something I’d like to do, so I ended up changing careers. I was fascinated by ophthalmic nursing. I thought, 'Wow! This is unbelievable.' I also felt empathy towards the people who had sight problems or who were partially or completely blind – as I do believe that sight is one of the most precious gifts to behold.

Angela Purcell

Flying Eye Hospital Head Nurse

We want to say a big thank you to Angela. Your extraordinary commitment and dedication means we're able to save sight all over the world—even during the pandemic.

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