Booking to go to Ghana with Work the World was the best decision I could have made for my nursing elective. It was an amazing experience that I will never forget and it will stay with me throughout my nursing career.
Work the World were very efficient and helpful right from the first point I contacted them. They were only a phone call away if there was anything we needed and they contacted us regularly before our trip with a run through of what to expect on arrival in Ghana. The ‘My Trip’ page on the WTW website was very useful and allowed us to see exactly what we needed to do before we were ready to travel.
On arrival in Ghana we were greeted by Ezekiel. He was very friendly and welcoming right from the start, and took us to stay in a nearby hotel as we arrived late in the evening. The hotel was a very nice start to our trip!
We arrived at the house the next day. It was very spacious and comfortable and the rooms were a good size with mosquito nets provided. There was food in the kitchen and plenty of water in the fridge. In fact the only problem we had was when the electricity went off.... we had forgotten to bring torches! I would definitely advise adding them to your packing list as power cuts can be a regular occurrence.
The staff were all very welcoming and very helpful. Al Hassan, the housekeeper, always kept the place clean and tidy. Ophelia, the cook, was fantastic and would lay out pancakes, omelettes and porridge for breakfast with fresh fruit every day. Her meals in the evening were always delicious too - if there was anything we didn’t like she was happy to make an alternative. Joe, the programme manager, was also fantastic. He took us to the hospital for our orientation and answered any questions we had, and was only a phone call away if ever we needed anything. Finally Ezekiel was brilliant, he was so helpful! He organised all of our weekend trips away and I am sure we would have been stuck in the house if it wasn’t for him!
The hospital itself was an eye opener! I spent the first two weeks on paediatrics and it was very different to a ward in the UK. The doctors were very good and we attended the ward round in the morning where they would answer any questions we had. It was very relaxed on the ward and no one was ever in a rush to get anything done. The parents had to stay with their child 24 hours a day and carry out all of their cares. If you wanted to participate in anything in particular the nursing staff were friendly and approachable and would support you if you asked them.
I spent the following week on the labour ward! This was probably the biggest learning curve I had in Ghana as I didn’t have a clue about anything.
I then spent my last week in the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) clinic . This was very interesting and I got to take part in weighing the babies, taking mothers blood pressures and also giving vaccinations. They also had a family planning clinic where mothers would come for contraceptive advice. The RCH was always busy with lots of mothers and babies all crammed into one small room. The mums were all very friendly and very keen for us to play a part in their babies care!
I also had the opportunity to spend a day on NICU. The doctor was fantastic and told me what was wrong with each baby and how they planned to treat it. Sometimes more than one baby would be put into the same incubator so they could share an oxygen tank - they were in very short supply.
At the weekends there was always plenty to do. We spent a night at Axim beach hotel, which was lovely, and then went to the stilt village the following day. This was a great experience and the canoe ride to get there was very relaxing. We also stayed at Beyin beach hotel, which was also fantastic and the beach was one of the nicest we come across in Ghana - definitely recommended! The following weekend we stayed over in Kakum Rainforest, a must for any trip. We stayed in a tent and were woke at 5am the following morning to do the canopy walk. This was a part of my trip I will never forget.
Overall my experience in Ghana was fantastic. I would recommend trying to visit as many different areas as possible in the hospital to get a more holistic view, and I would definitely recommend doing as much as you can at the weekends to see as much of Ghana as possible!