An elective is an opportunity to travel to the developing world and undertake a placement in a healthcare system completely different from the NHS. On a placement like this, you’ll see the challenges local staff face when their hospitals don’t have the funds they need.
You'll also get the chance to see staff shortages, a scarcity of even the most basic equipment, and practices that differ from what you’ve learned.
If you decide to do your elective abroad, you can choose from destinations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. And whether you're a student or a professional, we'll create your elective placement based on your interests.
When it comes to your placement, you can choose to rotate through general medicine, surgery, A&E, ICUs, anaesthesiology, OBG, and paediatrics…
And in terms of settings, you can spend time in teaching hospitals, regional hospitals, large government hospitals, tertiary referral centres, specialist hospitals, and small rural health posts on your elective abroad.
This kind of placement is about stepping out of your comfort zone to get new perspectives. While overseas, you’ll see different cultural attitudes affecting practice. You’ll see that being able to practise the 6Cs is a luxury of a wealthier healthcare system.
We cater to all nursing disciplines too, so you can get really specific with your experience.
Do a midwifery placement abroad and you’ll come home a changed person. You’ll be amazed at how resilient local midwives are in the face of a lack of hospital funding.
You'll see just how limited prenatal care is, and why that results in more birthing complications than you’d see at home. A lack of funding impacts the quality of care too — many women give birth without pain-relief. You’ll even see some of the fascinating sociocultural beliefs surrounding childbirth.
Imagine trying to deliver effective therapies with limited equipment — a daily challenge for physios in the developing world. You'll see this firsthand on your placement.
You’ll see big differences in the basics too. Practices like ECT and TENS are commonly used — and often a first port of call — in many of the destinations we operate in.
As soon as you start your placement you’ll see that equipment and facilities aren’t the same as they are in the UK. In some destinations X-rays are still developed on film in a darkroom.
On your elective abroad, you'll see there's often limited privacy too, with multiple patients undergoing scans simultaneously. And in some destinations, protocols around radiation protection are far more relaxed than you’re used to at home.
On an overseas pharmacy placement you'll see very different drugs compared to the UK, including snake bite antivenoms. You can even travel to rural areas to see traditional herbal medicine.
In the hospital you’ll see massive ‘over-prescription’ of antibiotics by UK standards, and different practices like breaking capsules and crushing tablets.
You’ll see resource shortages and outdated equipment as soon as you start your placement. You'll also see patients with extremely advanced decay as many can't afford treatment.
There are big differences in the basics too. In many of our destinations, there’s almost no preventative dentistry. Saving the tooth is a secondary concern as procedures are simply too expensive for most patients.
Occupational Therapy Electives
Late presentations and advanced cases are common on placements in the developing world. You might even see conditions that are rare or don’t exist in the UK, like leprosy.
Don’t forget that occupational therapy is still an emerging practice in most low-resource healthcare systems. That means you’ll see unfamiliar techniques and some treatments being improvised on the spot.
Paramedic Science Electives
On a placement overseas you’ll see how severe resource shortages affect practises. You could even see patients undergoing procedures like manual intubation without analgesia.
On your elective abroad, you'll see that primary care doesn’t exist in many low-resource healthcare systems. That means some patients use A&E as a GP surgery, making emergency care that much harder.
What do our electives offer?
A Work the World elective gives you the chance to undertake a clinical placement in the developing world. You will spend time in a low-resource hospital and see unfamiliar practices and advanced conditions. You can even choose the departments you want to rotate through. Learn more here.
What are the benefits of a Work the World elective?
The benefits of our electives include:
- Getting invaluable clinical experience in the field
- Making yourself more attractive to employers
- Building your personal and professional network
- Doing some proper travelling
- Sharpening your language and communication skills
- Renewing your perspective on the NHS
How long is a Work the World elective?
An elective is as long as you want it to be. Our minimum placement duration is one week, but students typically travel on their electives for 4 weeks. There is no upper limit to how long you can travel for.
What is an elective?
An elective is a clinical placement that medical and healthcare students undertake as part of their degree. If you want to undertake your elective placement abroad, get in touch with us today.