When I decided I was definitely going to go abroad for my elective placement I knew I was going to go with Work the World. I read the reviews on their website and Ghana was the destination that got me excited. I’d never travelled to Africa before and thought this might be the best way to start.
When I arrived in Ghana the Work the World team greeted me in the most friendly way and gave me an introduction and tour of the city to help me familiarise myself with the area.
When I first visited the hospital for my placement I couldn’t believe how limited the resources were. All the healthcare professionals were really creative in order to provide the best care they could. This has made me realise how important and precious the NHS is.
During my placement, I learnt how to care for patients and cope without all the modern equipment. I also felt more confident taking blood pressure manually as they did not have a dinamap, this will be very handy once I’m a qualified nurse.
I saw severe malaria cases which I don’t think I will come across again in the UK. I spent a day in the theatres and saw an open laparotomy for bowel obstruction, I saw the care of patients after road traffic accidents and how sickle cell disease is managed in Ghana.
The biggest differences between the healthcare system in Ghana and the UK was privacy and infection control. This was surprising as privacy is taken very seriously in the UK. We also have dedicated professionals whose job it is to help prevent the spread of infections. This was not the case in Ghana.
At the weekends we had time to explore the city and surrounding area. We went to Kakum National Park, Cape Coast, local markets and to the beaches.
I would definitely recommend an overseas placement to everyone studying a healthcare degree. You develop an awareness of how healthcare systems are run in different countries and become more appreciative.
Particularly for those who are apprehensive, walk towards your fears - the more you venture out of your comfort zone the more confidence you will gain!