I chose to do my overseas placement in Lusaka with an additional week taking part in Work the World’s Village Healthcare Experience in more rural clinics and hospitals. I chose this experience to make the most of my time in Lusaka and to develop my knowledge and skills further by experiencing a different range of placement environments.
While being placed in the village for a week I got to rotate through each department in the hospital including maternity, paediatric, general surgery and general medicine.
Whilst in the village I found my placement in maternity most rewarding and memorable. Because I am an adult nursing student I have never been involved in the care of pregnant women and babies and I got to observe the delivery of a baby. This was very surreal and overwhelming as I have not experienced this before. The midwife I was placed with was very helpful. This was a very heart-warming experience and it is one that I will always remember.
I found the staff very welcoming and engaging
My placement in the village was very different to my placement at the main hospital in Lusaka. The village hospital was much smaller with around two wards, if that, on each department. I found the staff very welcoming and engaging when it came to wanting to learn and they answered all the questions I had for them.
Since coming home and reflecting on my time in Lusaka, I can state that it is very different compared to my local trust and the policies and standards the NMC follow. The professionals in Lusaka have very efficient standards, however, some days when I would compare their practices to back home in the UK, I’d notice the differences. I know this was due to the lack of facilities and resources the village had compared to hospitals in England, I now realise we are very lucky when receiving care and treatment. The professionals in Zambia dealt with each situation very professionally and to the best standard the limited resources would allow.
When staying in the village we took part in different activities each day;
On Monday we went on a tour around the village and then cooked the family a dinner of spaghetti bolognese which they really enjoyed.
On Tuesday we took part in some tribal dancing in the woods beside the river that borders Zimbabwe which was beautiful.
We walked along the bridge of Zimbabwe on Wednesday and then went to the lodge for a few drinks which was very relaxing and peaceful.
On Thursday we had a go at basket weaving after our morning placement and then went to the local area that our host family visit in the summer for a drink with a gorgeous view.
On our last night in the village we had a BBQ where we learnt how to make some of their local food and got involved in taking it in turns to help and set the table up ready for dinner.
Looking back at my time in Lusaka and on the Village Healthcare Experience, the memories that have stuck with me are how welcoming everyone was when greeting each other and also the travel opportunities we had on the weekends when we weren’t on placement. I really enjoyed my time travelling and seeing gorgeous sights I will most likely not see again, so for that, I am very grateful for spending my time travelling when I could.
you’ll come home feeling very rewarded and for that reason alone, I would recommend this experience.
My advice for anyone considering doing the Village Healthcare Experience would be to go for it. It’s an amazing experience. I really enjoyed the different lifestyle the village had to offer, including the food, household and environment. My advice would be to try and not shy away from getting involved. The more confident you are the more they will answer any questions you have. It is a once in a lifetime experience - you’ll come home feeling very rewarded and for that reason alone, I would recommend this experience.