National University of Singapore 2015
First off, I was very impressed by the speed with which my application for a placement in the Philippines was processed by Work the World. My original plans for an elective were suddenly cancelled and I was left with a short window period of 2 weeks to confirm my elective arrangements. I emailed Work the World, paid the deposit and within 2 days, I had confirmation of my placement details — the hospital, supervisor in charge etc.
I was prepped very thoroughly before the trip via a couple of phone conversations with staff from the UK office. They patiently answered any questions I had about the trip and provided me with good tips on how to make full use of my hospital placement. I love how organised and easy Work the World (WTW) has made it for students to pursue placements in destinations that may otherwise be too far-flung and challenging to make arrangements for.
The staff was extremely thorough in regards to the transport and accommodation arrangements — although my flight was delayed, they responded quickly to the change of plans. On the first day, I received an official introduction to the staff at the hospital, coupled with a comprehensive hospital orientation. The staff that took care of us were amazing — phenomenal, in fact. They were most kind and generous in giving their best to make us feel at home and comfortable throughout the whole placement. They helped us to make arrangements for weekend trips, recommending good places to visit around Iloilo city, arranging transport, making sure the house was always clean and the sheets were regularly changed. Above all, there was an amazing team in the kitchen — the food was so good!
Don’t hold back on the calories; they’re really worth it. Gerry and the team really put their heart and soul into their cooking for breakfast and dinner. It was so good; some of us even packed leftovers for lunch! On Saturday, we would visit Geriz’ burgers. I was also grateful for the arrangements WTW made for our language lessons, which were delivered within the house by a lovely lady, Allyn. She patiently guided us through relevant conversational Hiligaynon, the local dialect, and answered all our questions during the lessons. I found the language lessons useful for building rapport with the hospital team I worked with, even though we communicated mainly in English.
I applied for a 2-week posting within the Department of Medicine. I found the program coordinator to be a very approachable man who was very willing to go the extra mile to make sure we fulfilled our elective objectives at the hospital. He made a lot of effort to get in touch with each student and frequently collected feedback to monitor individual progress. Our program manager genuinely wanted to ensure we would achieve the objectives we originally set out for ourselves at the start of placement. I was placed in the Emergency department under medicine for the course of the two weeks.
The hospital team was most friendly and accommodating — the doctors, nurses and all of support staff took such great care of me whilst I was there. I was learning every moment of every day — from the basics to getting involved in discussions with the doctors over medical cases. It was very humbling and inspiring to experience such generous sharing of knowledge and skills by staff that had been on the job for many years. They were not the least bit condescending or patronising and guided me with much fervour.
I think that if anything, the bonds of friendship forged with the staff, the memories created and the lessons learned over the past two weeks will remain close to my heart for a long time."
I am so grateful to have had the chance to work with the team at the Emergency department; I would return in a heartbeat. My advice to future students is to know what you hope to achieve through this placement and strive hard to fulfil your initial objectives. Being proactive and maintaining an open mind is important in ensuring you gain the most out of your placement and learn from the differences between our healthcare systems.