Experiencing healthcare in Cambodia was something I couldn’t have prepared myself for without Work the World.
Being a student nurse from the UK, conditions were worlds apart from what I’d seen back home.
I spent time on two OBG wards (in different hospitals), and a general medicine ward.
Seeing what Cambodian staff and patients had to deal with led me to a greater appreciation of the NHS. We often take it for granted back home.
Pain relief was rarely used
Patients having to pay fees for necessary treatment was confronting. Even when they did manage to pay, the conditions of the hospital and the levels of treatment were still entirely different to the UK.
Pain relief was rarely used. It was challenging to observe patients suffering through it.
One patient had severe burns and was having her wounds redressed. Aseptic technique was applied throughout the procedure, but hospital conditions meant it was impossible for the practice to wholly conform to this.
One noteworthy case was a lady who had suffered severe burns...
I saw multiple patients undergoing personal procedures in the same room on the OBG ward. The procedures went ahead with no curtains and the door was left open. This was surprising, particularly as I was used to privacy being a big part of care in the UK.
One noteworthy case was a lady who had suffered severe burns. Her son had attempted suicide by lighting himself on fire, and badly burned herself trying to smother the flames.
Her dressings were changed daily, but it seemed they were only making her wounds worse. They were applied dry and, when removed, were pulling away the healing skin.
Due to relatively high cost of pain relief, she had to go without. Again, this made me grateful for the services offered through the NHS.
Living in the Work the World house with other healthcare students was amazing. Sharing experiences with one another, I learnt a lot. I met so many people who all became close friends whilst we lived together in the house.
We quickly formed friendships, making it very easy to arrange trips around Cambodia.
I didn’t expect the house to be such a social environment, and it made the experience all the more enjoyable.
The staff in the house were amazing. If there was anything worrying me they were unbelievably helpful. They went above and beyond to ensure I got as much as possible from the experience.
MY Travel experiences
After placement, there was always someone in the house wanting to go and explore some part of Phnom Penh.
There were bars, restaurants, and loads of other activities to get involved in.
At the weekends we went further afield. One of the trips we took was to Siem Reap to see the famous Angkor Wat temple. I highly recommend this.
There was so much information in the Work the World house around things to do around Cambodia. There were even prices, phone numbers, and guidance around how best to organise things.
There was also a handwritten book kept up by previous generations of students. It included top tips and travel itineraries. It’s where we got the idea to travel to Siem Reap.
After my experience in Cambodia I flew to Thailand, spending two weeks travelling the country. It's only an hour away by plane and relatively inexpensive.
This placement was a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity.
One of the main things I’ll take away from this experience is a renewed appreciation for the NHS.
I had my eyes opened as to what things could be like and just how lucky we really are.
This placement was a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity. I will take it with me through my career.
The great friends I made in Cambodia were an added bonus, and made the experience even more enjoyable.