Plastic surgery specialist Kevin enjoying his third trip on board

Kevin So, Volunteer - whilst on board a Mercy Ship

Plastic surgery specialist Kevin enjoying his third trip on board

Kevin So says the Global Mercy is the best hospital he’s ever worked for. Why? The answer is easy:

“We’re all volunteers, there’s a special energy and drive from everybody. Everyone is extremely humble, and very talented.”

From two years as a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit of a large hospital in California, to adult and paediatric emergency departments, and now to his third service with Mercy Ships, Kevin So is a man on a mission.

On board the Global Mercy, the largest civilian hospital ship in the world, Kevin specialises in maxillofacial, plastic reconstructive and orthopaedic surgeries. His involvement with patients extends past the procedure; he strives to be involved with their post-surgery recovery, wound care, nutrition monitoring, and healing and pain management.

Kevin and his wife recently volunteered for three months during the organisation’s visit to Senegal.

“I try to bring hope and healing by getting to know my patients and getting to understand where they’re coming from. Not only do I learn a lot from them, but I try to share my passion.”

Kevin adds.

“I really try to connect with them, and I think that goes a long way when they feel like they’re heard and listened to.”

Kevin says not only has he been able to help the patients on board, but he has experienced transformation himself.

“There’s so much growth. Not only as a nurse, but as a human and in your faith. I think it’s so powerful for me and my wife to be here, together… that’s been really special. We’ve been talking about this for four years since we’ve been married, and so, to be here, it’s been really amazing.”

While Mercy Ships strives to meet surgical needs on an individual level, they also focus on making a bigger- picture impact through surgical education, training and advocacy work.

And Kevin’s advice for those thinking of signing up as a volunteer is clear:

“I think it’s sometimes a tough decision to leave what you’re used to back home. It’s sometimes hard to organise your life in a way that you feel like you’re ready to come here, because it is a leap of faith in some ways. It’s not a normal trajectory in a career path, but it’s so meaningful because I think you learn so much more about different people and different parts of the world, their resources, and their culture.

“Every time I’ve been here, you realise the right people are in the right place at the right time. I encourage you to take a leap of faith, even if you don’t know you’re ready. You have a skillset, and it can be put to use. I think it’s special when you put faith in that, and you take action to come here and see what God can do with your life.”

Volunteers of all skill sets keep Mercy Ships’ legacy of over 114,000 life-changing surgeries growing every day. There are currently open opportunities for a variety of positions on board, from medical roles like Kevin’s to urgent needs across the entire ship. Find your place on board today and join the team.