My dad had been all over the world with the Navy, and I wanted to do the same with my career in nursing. I jumped at the opportunity to undertake a placement in Sri Lanka because that was one of the places my dad hadn’t yet visited.
I attended a lecture where previous Work the World students talked about their time in Sri Lanka, and that’s what really got me interested in the destination.
The Work the World team were great at helping prepare me for my trip. They asked me what my clinical interests were and tailored my placement accordingly. When I got to Sri Lanka and started my placement, there was also some flexibility if I wanted to make changes to the departments I was spending time in.
At first, I was nervous as I was going into the unknown and had never been anywhere abroad by myself. As the weeks went on, I made some great friends and settled into the house quickly. The staff of the house were so friendly and welcoming, so I made sure that I was just as friendly back!
The way patients were treated was different when compared to the UK. Though I kept in mind that this was due to the lack of resources available to the hospital. The healthcare professionals do the best they can with what they have, so it was important to be respectful and non-judgmental.
There was a distinct lack of privacy and confidentiality compared to back home. Again, this was due to both a lack of resources and cultural differences. There were often no curtains to create privacy for patients during personal care, and there were no side rooms for families and patients when it came time to say their goodbyes, which was challenging at times.
One of the main reasons I enjoyed my placement so much was because the staff were all so friendly and welcoming. Everything I experienced was so memorable. One particular highlight was witnessing my first natural birth, then helping with the care of the mother and baby.
The weekend trips were amazing! We visited the cultural triangle, and were amazed by the beauty and history of the temples and caves. We went on a 4x4 safari one weekend, and saw elephants in the wild, which was incredible.
One weekend, we stayed in an amazing hotel on the beach and took a boat across to Pigeon Island. We went snorkeling and saw sharks, turtles and loads of tropical fish.
I also managed to climb to the top of Sigiriya Rock even though I'm absolutely terrified of heights!
If you’re considering a placement abroad, I urge you to put your full effort in and be open to new opportunities as you might never get the chance again! Make sure you plan your time well in your clinical placement and your weekend activities because the time goes so quickly it'll be over before you know it!