University of Birmingham 2024

Nursing, Hue Vietnam

Olivia is a third-year child nursing student from the University of Birmingham. She spent four weeks on a nursing placement in Vietnam. 

I’ve always been interested in learning how healthcare is delivered around the world. I have also always wanted to work abroad, so I thought that doing a placement overseas would be a good place to start. 

Work the World have been fantastic at communicating and keeping me in the loop at every step of the way. The whole process from when I first decided to undertake this placement right through to the end of my time in Vietnam has been so well organised. 

I have felt supported at every point. All of the staff, both in the UK and Vietnam, have been so lovely and accommodating. 

I would describe the house in Hue as a home away from home. Instantly, all the staff members make you feel so at ease. It feels very safe and is kept so clean. They are honestly the friendliest people I’ve ever met. The swimming pool is perfect after a long, hot day on placement. It is such a social hub, with lots of communal areas, making it easy to meet your fellow housemates. The rooms are spacious and have air conditioning, too. 

Activities are always happening, such as language lessons and cookery classes—there is never a dull moment. The house's location is also perfect, close to the hospital and the city centre.


One of the main differences that has struck me is that the majority of what we’d call ‘nursing care’ is carried out by family members. Often nurses will have about 25-30 patients, leaving them with much more free time to carry out skills, which means that family members are hugely involved in patient care. Another difference I have noted is that nursing skills are carried out very efficiently in the departments I undertook my placement in, patient volume is so much higher than in the UK and yet all nurses are incredibly proficient. 

There is so much to discover in Vietnam outside of placement. Our evenings were often spent in the city centre discovering local bars, or we’d play cards or watch movies at the house. During my 4 weeks, I had the opportunity to go further afield and discover more of Vietnam.

During my first weekend, I rode the Hai Van Pass (one of the most famous roads in Vietnam) on the back of a motorbike, which took us from Hue all the way to Hoi An, where we spent the weekend. I went to Bach National Park and explored the imperial city and beach. On another weekend, I was fortunate to travel to Hanoi and Sapa. During this time, we visited Ninh Binh. There are so many opportunities to explore; I just wish I had longer.

The one thing that will stay with me forever is the people I have met. The staff, both at the hospital and in the house, are incredible, I cannot thank them enough. I miss them all.

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