In February, the Work the World house in Kandy welcomed the arrival of our very first nursing students from the UK! The team of pioneers were an enthusiastic and excited bunch from a college in London with varying clinical interests, such as Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Surgery, General Medicine, Oncology and Mental Health – all of which, we were able to accommodate as we work on a principal that students are able to take part in tailor made placements to suit their needs.
Within a day of starting placement, everyone was saying how positively different the hospital was! What was interesting is that the daily routines were similar to the UK, and our student nurses even recognised some familiar drugs and medical equipments they have also witnessed in the NHS hospitals, and yet the environment and the delivery of patient care was very different and interesting. It was also evident that the hospital is under resourced and even simple things like thermometer and ECG machines were in short supply. But what impressed our student nurses was the skills that the Sri Lankan nurses have developed in o rder to overcome this by relying on simple, manual techniques such as touching and observing. It was also noted that there was less documentation during observation, which gave the student nurses the opportunity to focus on assisting with other practical tasks such as personal care, IV drugs, oral drugs, dressing and joining the ward rounds.
All the Sri Lankan nurses were also fascinated and eager to learn about life in the UK and there was a genuine exchange of ideas and friendships building, which was lovely to see. One student nurse brought some fob watches and tea towels as gifts from the UK, which the ward sisters very much appreciated.
Joining a new hospital placement can be quite daunting, especially when you are the first ever foreign nurses to do a placement! But after a few days, it was clear that our student nurses have settled in and were excited by the attention they were receiving and gaining some useful insight into healthcare in Sri Lanka. They all headed off to Galle for the weekend for a well deserved break, which is a city famous for the Dutch fort and close enough to the beach parties in Unawatuna.