During the end of my second year, I had the opportunity to complete an elective placement in a destination of my choice. I chose to travel with Work the World to Iloilo, The Philippines for two weeks, and my word I would do it again in a heartbeat!
I chose to travel to The Philippines because I wanted to experience something completely different from the service and care we provide here in the UK.
I wanted to make the trip something I would remember for the rest of my life and use it to enhance my midwifery practise. After doing my research and speaking to the Work the World team, it was clear that The Philippines was the ideal destination.
When I first arrived at the hospital I was overwhelmed by the appearance and the differences compared to hospitals back at home.
I knew straight away that I was about to be involved in a whole new world of patient care.
Our first visit to the hospital had us walking past patients sharing beds, connected to drips and taking up most of the corridors. At this point, I knew straight away that I was about to be involved in a whole new world of patient care.
This continued throughout my time on placement because there was a lack of resources and equipment needed to efficiently care for the patients. Because the hospital had a ‘non-refusal’ policy it meant that it was constantly stretched to capacity and there was a huge pressure for staff to care for anyone needing help.
During my time at the hospital I was able to observe and assist with as much or as little as I felt comfortable with, as long as it was within my capabilities.
a highlight for me was assisting with cup-feeding a neonate.
I assisted with simple tasks such as taking a woman’s blood pressure and auscultate the fetal heartbeat. I also had the chance to interact with patients and certainly a highlight for me was assisting with cup-feeding a neonate.
Hospital staff were eager to find out what the care is like back in England and they were keen for me to get involved.
One of the most memorable cases I was involved in was watching a woman start to have a post-partum haemorrhage seconds after delivery. The doctor single-handedly managed the emergency with no signs of fear or concern - she just got on with it and the patient was not showing any pain, but instead looked calm and collected.
This was noticeably different from how the situation would have been handled in England where during an emergency a whole multidisciplinary team would be at hand in order to manage the situation. I feel that women in The Philippines deal with pain a lot better compared to back in England.
I certainly felt that the more involved I got by simply asking questions or offering to help, the staff were more engaged with me and I could get more out of my time on placement.
Everyone was so friendly and happy. It was a fantastic experience and made my time there so much more enjoyable.
It wasn’t all work and no fun though! Every Thursday we had a karaoke and BBQ night in the Work the World house which was very fun and a really good laugh.
In the evenings we organised trips to the local swimming pools and shopping malls and I also experienced my very first full-body massage which was incredible and so cheap!
At the weekend, my housemates and I organised a trip away to Cebu, only a short flight away. This gave us a chance to relax on the most incredible beaches of Moalboal and even swim with whale sharks and turtles.
Every mealtime at the house gave me the chance to see how everyone else’s day went and ask questions about what they had experienced.
I would encourage anyone who is thinking about an overseas placement to fill in the form and sign up straight away. If not, you will regret it and miss out on a life-changing experience.
You get out what you put in to the experience and it definitely gives you the opportunity to develop strong relationships with the hospital staff.
The same goes for the social side of the trip. If you are keen to approach people and engage with your housemates you will come away with friends for life. There isn’t a thing I would change about my time in The Philippines.
Work the World really did make the whole experience very easy and enjoyable right from the start. There was always guidance and support from the moment I signed up, right through to when I arrived back home.
The whole trip was one of the best things I have ever done and I would encourage anyone with the same idea to book up right now before you regret it!