Carrying out a placement abroad is something I never thought I’d do. But I’m so glad I did.
It was an amazing experience, and I would do it all over again.
I decided to carry out my three-week placement in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
I attended an elective evening at my university and listened to other students who’d been there.
Reading the reviews on the Work the World website also helped me make my decision. I even managed to rope one of my best friends into coming with me.
After two long flights, a member of the Work the World team was there waiting for us at the airport. They brought us a bottle of water each, which was very much appreciated as it was incredibly hot!
We arrived at the house to meet the rest of the Work the World staff and our housemates. Everyone was so welcoming.
We spent our first week in the paediatric department on the malnutrition ward. It was an eye-opening experience.
One memory was helping to feed a malnourished child through an NG tube. This was very different to how we did things in the UK, but a lack of resources in the hospital meant that this was the only option.
Our second week was in the neonatal ward. This was my favourite week, but also the most emotional.
Two of these days we spent on neonatal intensive care with premature babies. Many of the babies were born very, very prematurely indeed.
The lack of resources was even more obvious here. I saw gloves being used as drain bags and tourniquets, bed sheets used as nappies for newborns, and wet bed sheets being used as wipes.
I spent my third and final week in OBG. There, my friend and I worked on the antenatal and postnatal wards. In the delivery suite, my friend and I witnessed seven births in the space of four hours!
Mothers gave birth with no pain relief whatsoever. They had no birthing partners, and had to be up, showered and dressed within one hour of delivery.
The nursing practice in Tanzania was very different to how we practiced at home and was sometimes challenging to observe.
This trip covered all of our clinical outcomes. But we weren’t there only for the healthcare system.
We spent the weekends however we wanted. For our first weekend we went on a safari. It was absolutely surreal! We saw all of the big 5 and had the most amazing time.
We travelled to Zanzibar for our second weekend. We did a sea safari, visited Prison Island to see giant tortoises and go sunbathing.
There was also a national bank holiday while we were in Tanzania. We spent a day on Bongoyo Island that day and it was absolutely beautiful.
Before my trip to Tanzania, I was so unsure about going overseas. But I had the most amazing time and ended up making friends for life.
The staff at the Work the World house were so friendly. They were more than happy to help, answering any questions we had. If there was something in particular we wanted to do or see from a clinical point of view, the staff helped make it happen.
The team at Work the World arranged my placement exactly how I wanted it. I achieved and saw everything I wanted to (and more). I had an incredible time in Tanzania and it opened my eyes to how lucky we are in the UK to have the NHS.
My advice to you if you’re thinking about going on a trip with Work the World — just do it!