by Work the World

Nursing, Tanzania Dar es Salaam, Guest articles

Hansen Brevetti John

John - a former student nurse - undertook his elective placement with us in Tanzania. John is now a fully qualified nurse. John spoke to us about how his placement in Tanzania contributed greatly to his professional and personal development and lead to him working in a fascinating small country in Africa.

Over to John.

I spent a summer with Work the World as a student nurse in Tanzania. I honed my skills in a resource-limited setting, experienced firsthand the challenges of health care in a context of deep poverty and soaring HIV, practiced the Swahili language with patients, and faced life-altering trials and dilemmas.

I’m now working with a major global health charity in Lesotho - a tiny country with a population of only 2 million in Southern Africa. Lesotho is plagued by some of the highest rates of HIV, TB, and maternal mortality in the world. I spend my days devising training and protocols for nurses and village health workers, assisting with program evaluations and quality control, practicing Sesotho (the local language) with my native colleagues, and putting all of my experiences with WTW in Tanzania to use o a daily basis.

"It was my time with Work the World that got me this job. It totally prepared me for it."

I wouldn’t be having this experience without having travelled to Tanzania with this organisation. It was my time with Work the World that got me this job - it totally prepared me for it.

An elective placement with WTW stands out on your CV as a badge of durability, resourcefulness, and cross-cultural aptitude. It says you’ve seen, and experienced things unknowable in places like the US, Australia, or the UK. It says you’ve solved problems and debated ethics that are simply taken for granted at home. It says that you've earned something few others have. Work the World prepare you in innumerable ways to be a better clinician and a better citizen of our planet - employers know this.

During the interview for my current position, it felt as if I started every sentence with, “When I was a student nurse in Tanzania…”. For every question I had a story or a life lesson to match - all of them plucked from my time in East Africa. Here in Lesotho, analyzing problems or brainstorming solutions with colleagues, I’m constantly referring back to my experiences with WTW – be it rigging up a paediatric oxygen delivery system with tape and a Swiss Army Knife, treating severe dehydration deep in the Serengeti, or simply helping to deliver babies in a busy labour ward.

More than a year later, memories of my placement with Work the World in Tanzania remain daily touchstones. It is the one experience that launched my understanding of global health, and the one experience that launched my career in global health. I know that without it I would have neither the opportunities nor the skills I proudly enjoy today.

Whenever someone asks me if they should undertake their elective with Work the World, I tell them, "GO!". It’s the best investment you'll ever make in developing your skills, your career, and your spirit.

- John

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