What an incredible experience! I visited Nepal in the middle of my second year of nursing training, and can honestly say it’s the most exhilarating experience I’ve ever had!
The Work the World house and staff are so unbelievably welcoming. I found my trip a real privilege being able to experience Nepalese life from a local’s perspective; from the language lessons offered by Prem in the house, to the daily hospital commutes on the local buses, sitting alongside the Nepalese children on their way to school, whilst others ride the bus to the local markets. Each day the bustling and brightly decorated bus was an experience to behold!
My placement was on the obstetrics and gynaecology ward. here I had the joy of going to the birthing room to witness deliveries. The ward environment is something spectacularly beautiful, as I witnessed the very basic wards with little equipment, re-used gloves, and no patient curtains - in parallel with a real sense of family spirit within the corridors. Families line the corridors, waiting for news, surrounded by tureens with erupting aromas of home cooked Nepalese food, which families share while they wait - not to mention the vast array of blankets hanging from railings inside the hospital, which the family have washed for their relatives. Out here, family care is an integral part of the patient care. The family presence in the wards makes it constantly vibrant and bustling. There’s never a dull moment in the hospital!
Witnessing these births and being part of the team, made me feel so absorbed in the Nepalese culture
In the delivery suite the Nepalese culture really shone through. Birthing is considered a spiritual process: “Laaj”, meaning ‘silence’, is culturally natural within motherhood, but most staggeringly, the mothers are silent during the birth itself. Witnessing these births and being part of the team, made me feel so absorbed in the Nepalese culture. One day, a mother was howling in pain, the head nurse stood by her side, curling the girl’s hair around her fingers and stroking her forehead to calm her, whispering to soothe her groans. I couldn’t help but feel more astonished at the bond between the nurse and patient, than the procedure alone. How beautiful it was to see the closeness and empathy developed by thenurse to guide the young lady through the pain.
From a travelling perspective,the country itself is spectacular, and the tourist sites are a must see: from a peaceful rowing boat on Phewa Lake, to a gentle stroll up to the World Peace Pagoda and panoramic views. I cannot fail to mention the adrenaline rush paragliding alongside falcons over Pokharatown and countryside, or the beautiful Chitwan National Park where you can bathe with the elephants.
Nepal really is a hugely cultural country. My trip not only opened my eyes to transcultural nursing, but also gave me such an unforgettable personal travelling experience. Nepal is a life-changing adventure!