University of Lincoln 2024

Midwifery, Nepal Kathmandu

For me, it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not every day that you get to go to a far-flung country to see how healthcare works. It was a perfect combination of work and play.

The size of my placement hospital struck me immediately. There was so much hustle and bustle, which we liked to call ‘organised chaos’. But then, that was the colourful character of Kathmandu, not just of our placement hospital.

During placement, there was a lot to take in. At first, it was understanding the hospital's setup—what it had and what it lacked compared to home.

There were also some huge differences when it came to local practices. Labouring women weren’t treated in the same way as they were back in the UK, and many of the practices were very different from what I had been taught.

There was a lack of consent and compassion that hit home, especially as this kind of care is delivered in a woman’s most vulnerable moments. Women’s partners weren’t allowed to be with them either, so they didn’t have much support.

It was often the case that there were six women in one room labouring at the same time, which meant that there was no privacy or dignity.

For me, what stuck in my mind was how most women received episiotomies. They were often performed with blunt instruments and without pain relief. There was little sterility, and the equipment was old.

Above all, the department team worked well together and didn’t seem short-staffed. What’s more, the breastfeeding rate was nearly 100%.

On a more personal level, my non-verbal communication skills improved, and I learned that compassion is a universal language.

Outside of placement, we had plenty of time to enjoy Kathmandu and explore Nepal. In the evenings after placement, we had a few nights out in Thamel (a central area near the Work the World house with lots of restaurants and bars).

The Euros were on while I was there, so we spent one evening watching England v. Denmark in an Irish pub — not something you do every day! We just wanted to relax some evenings, so we stayed at the house and played board games, cards and some old-school party games.

During the weekends, we went on trips outside of Kathmandu. Chitwan National Park was a particular highlight!

If you’re thinking about undertaking a placement with Work the World, go for it. It completely opened my eyes to what midwifery is and gave me so much perspective on healthcare worldwide and why it’s so important that we make an effort to look after one another. You’ll make friends for life and take home stories and experiences that will influence your practices for the rest of your career!

Search Reviews