I chose Merida in Mexico for my elective because it had a lot to offer. Merida is in a perfect location because there is so much to see and do in the Yucatan area.
The hospital I did my placement in was very different from what you see in the UK. The nurses I met were an example of determination, resilience, and creativity. They were presented with many challenges on a daily basis but always found a way to deliver care and maintain patient safety.
The staff and students were so welcoming and happy to have someone from abroad that it really made me feel like I was part of the team.
I will always remember when I observed heart surgery on a five-day-old baby.
I was in obstetrics and gynaecology for the first part of my placement. In this time, I got to see many natural births, C-sections and minor gynaecological procedures.
For the second part of my placement, I was in surgery in a different hospital. During my time in surgery, I observed many interesting cases and the one case that I will always remember was when I observed heart surgery on a five-day-old baby.
The healthcare system in Merida was very different from what we have in the UK. There is universal health insurance for those who can’t afford private healthcare or for those who are unemployed and therefore do not have health insurance through work. Although hospitals do take care of patients who only have universal health insurance, these hospitals have a shortage of resources compared to private hospitals.
During the evenings after placement, we would go to town or to one of the shopping centres and during the weekends we planned trips to Valladolid, Holbox and Celestun.
Overall, this experience has changed the way I see myself because I know that I am capable of adapting and learning in a new environment with ease. It has also changed the way I view the National Health Service and made me appreciate it even more.
If you are thinking of undertaking an elective overseas, take the opportunity because it is an amazing experience, both personally and professionally.