Undertaking an elective in a country where the culture and values are different to anything I’ve experienced is always something I’ve wanted to do. After months building excitement and anticipation, I finally got to fulfil my dream.
We arrived in Accra - Ghana’s capital - late on a Saturday night. I felt completely overwhelmed by the noise and busy atmosphere of the vibrant city. The air was humid and filled with the sound of taxis and trotros (public minibuses) continually beeping their horns.
I was soon put at ease when Frank from Work The World came to meet me. He was extremely welcoming and introduced himself with true Ghanaian hospitality - something I continued to experience throughout my time in Ghana. He accompanied us to a nearby hotel in Accra where we were to spend the night before taking a coach journey the following day to Takoradi – our final destination.
When we arrived in Takoradi the Ghanaian welcome continued, making me feel even more at ease and excited for the following weeks to come. On the Monday morning we had hospital orientation and we were introduced to several key members of staff who we would be working alongside over the forthcoming weeks. That afternoon Frank took us on a tour of the town recommending local places to eat, drink and shop.
my time in Ghana has not only been extremely eye-opening, but it has enabled me to gain a deeper trans-cultural awareness as well as further enhance my communication skills.. it has been a life-changing and life-affirming journey.
For the first two weeks I assisted in Accident and Emergency, seeing a variety of injuries and illnesses, some of which are rarely seen in the UK. The department was fairly basic, however they did have more resources than I initially expected and plenty of staff to cover the busy wards. I spent my time observing and participating in many different tasks including recording vital signs, assisting with dressings, administering medications and triaging patients.
I also spent time with the nursing staff exchanging knowledge and different ideas to improve practice. At times it was challenging trying to communicate with the patients as many only spoke the local dialect, Fante. Communication is fundamental to ensure that patient centred care is delivered, so I found that when asked most nurses were more than happy to translate.
Overall, my time in Ghana has not only been extremely eye-opening, but it has enabled me to gain a deeper trans-cultural awareness as well as further enhance my communication skills. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Takoradi and feel that it has been a life-changing and life-affirming journey.