I first heard about Work the World after I read a blog online about medical placements abroad. I looked up the website and knew immediately that this sounded like something I would love to do in the summer. As a dental therapy student, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to undertake a placement. However, I called up and was reassured that I would most definitely be able to get involved in a placement.
I looked through all of the destinations offered but Pokhara in Nepal stood out immediately due to the beautiful pictures and I knew I wanted to visit somewhere that had a completely different culture to the UK.
I was placed in the hospital's dental OPD and in the dental ward. It was a completely different set up to clinics in the UK. Appointments were only made for fillings and root canal treatments - extractions and scaling patients would just walk in whenever and hope they could be seen. PPE and cross-contamination was not a high concern due to the lack of resources - numerous kits and burs were used over and over again.
I got to watch lots of interesting cases such as a salivary gland stone removal
My placement was fantastic and I was able to get involved and assist with procedures every single day including scaling wall to wall calculus, injections, fillings, extractions, orthodontics, assisting with root canals and I even assisted with cutting out a fibroma! I got to watch lots of interesting cases such as a salivary gland stone removal, large palatal cyst drainage, surgical extractions and I was able to watch a fractured mandible surgery in the theatre which was unbelievable!
I saw cases that I wouldn’t normally see at home because patients in Nepal only go to the dentist when their condition is no longer bearable which meant I was able to see a high number of dental caries and infection cases. I found it particularly interesting that patients were not given any oral hygiene instruction in the clinic even after getting numerous treatments as it is just not a priority unlike here in the UK.
The Work the World house was absolutely lovely and the food was incredible. The area was very safe and there were so many activities to do in my spare time. I went paragliding in Sarangkot, visited local temples, pools and shops and I hiked up Mardi Himal which was beautiful and definitely one of the highlights during my month away.
The weekly language lessons were great and helped me to build up some rapport with the patients and staff at the hospital. The Work the World team at the house were always on hand to help with any queries I had or to offer advice on excursions for the weekends.
To anyone thinking about doing a placement overseas I would say go for it - I had the best time ever and got so much out of my placement in Nepal!