Staffordshire University 2019

Nursing, Sri Lanka Anuradhapura

Oris, GladysAs a third year student, I am excited to qualify. At the same time, I’m aware that I still have a lot to learn in order to become a successful nurse.

In my final year, I had the opportunity to do my elective placement abroad, but I was unsure which country to go to.

By looking at Work the World’s website and enquiring with their team, I decided to travel to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka.

I had heard a lot of good feedback about the country and hospitals, so it was an easy choice for me.

Work the World were really helpful as they managed to answers all our questions (I travelled with six other student nurses from my cohort). Another great thing about the company was being able to choose which departments we wanted to spend time in.

The flight was long, but as soon as we got to Sri Lanka it was all worth it.

Oris, GladysAs soon as we landed, we saw that a member of the Work the World team was there waiting to meet us. First, they took us to an all-you-can-eat restaurant and then on to the Work the World house.

The Work the World team were friendly and accommodating during our time in Sri Lanka.

We met two students from Australia and two from England when we got to the house. They were so friendly and told us all about their experiences in Anuradhapura to date. They talked about their first week on placement and where to find all the best places to visit in our free time.

The Work the World team were friendly and accommodating during our time in Sri Lanka.

They were always willing to help, and they gave us insider information around what to do with our weekends. They were experts when it came to our placement hospital.

Oris, GladysWe had cooking lessons in the house learning to cook Sri Lankan food. We had language lessons too, and they really helped us communicate effectively with the local people.

The house catering team were amazing. They always cooked delicious food for us and they gave us plenty of choice of dishes. They hosted BBQ night every Thursday too.

The hospital was within walking distance of the Work the World house. It only took three minutes to get there.

As we walked through the hospital for the first time, everyone smiled at us. It was nice as it let us know they were all friendly.

For my first week I spent time in the paediatric ICU and the special care baby unit. I wanted to challenge myself by learning about low-resource care for children and babies.

Oris, GladysI saw a lot of things I wouldn’t see back home, such as feeding premature babies without using any personal protective equipment (this was due to the lack of resources).

I also saw babies being resuscitated via a procedure that was different from what we do in England. The doctor was just stood in the corner and it was the staff nurses who saved the child.

We used our afternoons and weekends to explore Anuradhapura and the rest of Sri Lanka.

One day after placement, we went for a hike in Dambulla. It was very hard to get all the way to the top as it was hot, but it was a lot of fun making friends along the way.

We went on an elephant safari too. Seeing lots of elephants right there in front of us was fascinating.

Oris, GladysOn other afternoons we chilled in the local hotel swimming pool, and played badminton outside the Work the World house.

For our first weekend away, we decided to go to Trincomalee. It offers beautiful white sand beaches and is one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka. We stayed in a beautiful hotel next to the beach where we found some good restaurants and bars.

We went snorkelling off Pigeon Island and saw loads of fishes, turtles and sharks (don’t worry — they won’t eat you). The beach was unbelievable, and the whole experience was amazing. I wish I could have stayed longer.

During my second week of placement, I spent time in A&E. I witnessed a lot of dog and cat bites, something we rarely see in England. I helped prepare IV fluids, change dressings and performed some IM injections.

I also observed a patient having an NG tube inserted in front of the whole department. There was no privacy in A&E and most the staff didn’t use PPE. The former was a cultural thing, but the latter was based purely on a lack of resource.

Oris, GladysI was there to observe and not judge. Every country has different ways of doing things.

I wanted to voice my opinion, but remembered that I was there to observe and not judge. Every country has different ways of doing things.

For our second weekend, my housemates and I decided to go to Colombo and Negombo.

We went shopping, to the beach and of course visited the local Mcdonald’s.

After exploring these beautiful places, we headed back to the Work the World house and chilled by the local pool and played games.

We also went to Mihintale that weekend. We climbed up the 1,800 steps (needless to say it was a leg day). It was hard to get to the top but it was all worth it for the views.

Oris, GladysDuring the last two weeks in my placement hospital, I spent time in the labour room. I observed normal births and even held some newborn babies.

I found it shocking to see two patients treated in one theatre at the same time.

I spent time in theatre too, and there I saw procedures such as appendectomies and C-sections. I found it shocking to see two patients treated in one theatre at the same time.

I met a lot of future doctors, consultants and staff nurses during my time in the hospital. I will never forget them, as even if they struggled to speak in English they still tried to have conversations with me and listen to my concerns.

Oris, GladysI spent my last day with patients who had mental health issues. All the patients rushed to us as soon as we walked into the ward, but local staff reassured us. I had confidence speaking with them and it was interesting to see how well some patients spoke English.

We spent time getting to know some of the patients and even had the opportunity to play games with them.

As this was our last shift we decided to give balloons to some of the children in the hospital. It was great to make them happy and see their smiles.

On our last weekend we decided to go to Hikkaduwa, known for its surfing and beautiful beaches. Hikkaduwa beach itself was lined with good restaurants and bars.

IOris, Gladysn the morning, we went snorkelling and saw turtles, and at night we went for cocktails.

I encourage you to visit this amazing country and to use Work the World to get you there.

It was very hard to leave Sri Lanka and I wish I could do it all over again.

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