My elective placement was at the end of my three-year nursing degree. I chose to go to Vietnam for four weeks as it provided a placement for me and my friends with adult, child and mental health departments.
On my first day, the Work the World team took us on a tour of the hospital where we would be spending most of our time. My first impression of the hospital was that it was very busy and crowded - a lot of patients were just waiting around.
I spent each week in a different department. In my first week, I was in internal medicine, my second week was spent in oncology, my third in emergency and in my last week I was placed in orthopaedics.
The hospital did well with what they had
In the hospital there were often two patients to one bed. I was also surprised to see that the nurses did not undertake any of the personal care - it is the responsibility of the patient’s family to take care and look after them, this also included feeding them. The hospital did well with what they had and the staff were very resourceful and very skilful at taking bloods.
Google translate came in handy when understanding why certain procedures were being carried out! Language lessons were provided in the Work the World house twice a week too, which were very useful.
There were Vietnamese medical students also on placement in the hospital and they were very keen to make friends and exchange knowledge with us. Sometimes I would ask them why they do things a certain way and they would give me their perspective.
I would recommend travelling whenever you can during your free time, there are so many amazing things to see.
In the evenings we would go out to a number of bars and during the weekends I would travel with my friends. We went to Bach Ma National Park, Hue Beach Bar, Da Nang, Hoi An and many more places! I would recommend travelling whenever you can during your free time, there are so many amazing things to see.
I would definitely recommend doing an overseas placement as it really opens your eyes and helps you appreciate what you do and why you do it. It makes you want to go back to your own hospital and do the best you can for the patients you will be looking after.
I went to Vietnam with four other girls, but I also made some amazing new friends whilst out there, so if you go in a group make sure you also mingle and get to know the other students you will be living with!