Work the World were incredibly supportive in organising my elective. Firstly, they helped sort out any difficulties that may arise. Secondly, I could almost choose any medical field to experience and it was arranged for me which made it a smooth and easy process.
I chose Kathmandu because I was interested in learning more about the healthcare available in a developing Asian country and also because I’ve always had an interest in the mountainous regions surrounding Nepal. In addition, I decided this would be a wonderful opportunity to learn about a different culture and lifestyle.
During my time in hospital, I was able to spend 2 weeks as part of the Neurosurgical team. They were fantastic in allowing me opportunities to see surgical cases, and involving me in clinic consults and team meetings. This was a good place to see some of the more severe neurosurgical presentations and also late stage disease, and I was able to learn lots.
The 2nd area of my placement was in the ED where I was able to float around and follow the doctors as they performed consultations for the enormous numbers of patients presenting there. This was a good opportunity to get some clinical practice with plastering and minor trauma management among other minor clinical procedures. In addition, I found it rewarding to see a large number of common medical issues with which to consolidate my knowledge.
My final week in Nepal was spent in a small village which was a 6 hour bus ride from the city. My time living with a local family there was both relaxing and enjoyable; a nice chance to see another side of the Nepali lifestyle. The health post was valuable to see common minor complaints and injuries.
During my time in Nepal, along with several of the other students who were present at the same time, we had the chance to go away for a few weekends. Two of the major attractions were to visit Chitwan National Park where we could see the rural areas of Nepal and also some of the local fauna, namely elephants, rhinos, deer, crocodiles and others (sadly there were no tigers).
The second trip away was to Pokhara, where we could explore the beautiful city and its surrounding area. This included the chance to go paragliding and spend some time on the lake.
If I could recommend two things to consider for your elective, they would be:
- Learn some Nepalese. If you have the ability to increase patient interaction or even listen to consults performed in Nepali it will greatly improve your medical experience.
- Embrace the country that you go to and enjoy the people and take opportunities to explore.
Nepal is an amazing country which although at times challenging to live in and vastly different from my home, is a place that I grew to love and thoroughly enjoyed my time and experience there.