I saw my six week elective nursing placement as the perfect opportunity to travel abroad and grow as an individual. As Work the World had been highly recommended to me, going with them was an easy decision to make! I chose to go to Sri Lanka because not only I had heard it was beautiful, but that there were lots of things to do. I chose Anuradhapura; an exciting new destination launched by Work the World.
Sri Lanka did not disappoint. As soon as we landed the scenery and the weather was as beautiful as I’d expected. On arrival in Anuradhapura the house was buzzing and all the staff were extremely pleased to welcome us as the first students to kick-start the new programme. Including myself there were eight students in the house initially, and we all gelled as a group straight away. The house was really big and luxurious, and after settling in we were shown around and introduced to all of the Work the World team. Then we experienced our first delicious meal of many cooked by the famous ‘uncle’, which were devilled chicken noodles as it was western cuisine night. It was then time for sleeping in our comfy bunk beds before our busy orientation the next day.
The next day we were up bright and early for breakfast, which was my favourite - PANCAKES! Then we were taken on an orientation in Anuradhapura’s town centre. This was very informative, and for someone with no sense of direction it was a necessity! We were also taught to deal with practicalities such as changing money into rupees and getting a Sri Lankan sim card. We were then treated to lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to the house. We spent the afternoon at a hotel pool nearby, getting to know each other more and relaxing in the sun.
On my first day in the hospital I was extremely nervous. We were accompanied by the programme manager and a Work the World representative from the UK. On arrival, we were introduced to the nurse superintendent who would be looking after us throughout the placement. He was really enthusiastic and friendly. Because we were the first group of students to take a placement in this hospital, we were treated to a welcome ceremony, where hospital staff handed us bouquets of flowers, juice, and fresh fruit.
After this we were each taken to our departments. My first area was a paediatric medical ward.
After a couple of days on the ward I realised how difficult a placement actually was with a huge language barrier present. The staff on the ward struggled with their English as I also struggled with my Sinhalese. Due to this language barrier on the particular ward, I was given the opportunity to move departments to one where the level of English was better. So I moved to PICU.
I had an amazing 10 days on PICU and learnt so much from the nurses. Once I had been on the unit for a couple of days the nurses became more confident with their English and were really keen to help me develop my skills.
They also showed a huge interest in me as a person, wanting to know about my life in the UK. The consultant and doctors were also very helpful and were able to explain patient conditions and ventilation equipment to me.
After my time on PICU, I moved on to a different paediatric medical ward, then SCBU, then a paediatric surgical ward and finally I spent my last week in obstetrics and gynaecology. This was my absolute favourite; I got to see babies being born.
The flexibility was brilliant, if we wanted to experience an area of the hospital that wasn’t part of the original placement plan for example the psychiatric ward then the nurse superintendent would make sure he authorised it immediately. My overall placement experience was brilliant and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of doctors and nurses to help me with my placement. Looking back I am really proud of what I have achieved and I would highly recommend doing a placement in Sri Lanka. The people are just so happy, friendly and willing to do anything to help you to succeed.
In terms of things to do and places to see, you’ll never exhaust Sri Lanka. With the afternoons off we were able to explore Anuradhapura’s sacred city, go to Dambulla Cave temples, climb Sigiriya rock, climb the 1,860 steps of Mihintale, relax by the local pool and also go on an elephant safari. These fabulous afternoon activities were only a short distance from our house in Anuradhapura town.
On weekends we were able to travel further afield and covered most of Sri Lanka, visiting beautiful white beaches, snorkelling, seeing how tea is made and trekking to the ‘world’s end’ in the cold climate of hilly Nurwara Eliya. We also visited lots of well-known Buddhist temples and sites, saw lots of elephants and monkeys, and had lots of fun in the sun! Travelling was made easy by the help of the Work the World staff in the house so organising the weekends away wasn’t a problem at all.
I had the time of my life in Sri Lanka with Work the World, and I wouldn’t change a single thing. If I could go back and relive my whole time there, I definitely would. The house felt like one big, happy family – I didn’t feel home sick throughout my time there because I was just made to feel so welcome.
Book with Work the World because you really won’t regret it!