My placement with Work the World saw me spend six weeks in Anuradhapura, in Sri Lanka. When I arrived at the airport, I was immediately greeted by the very friendly and helpful Work the World team. As we travelled up to the house that would be my home for the next 6 weeks I became more and more excited!
When we arrived at the Work the World house, I was really impressed. The house was really lovely, and all of the staff were incredibly kind and welcoming and helped us with everything throughout the six weeks. The incredible food cooked for us by the house chef was a particular highlight.
During my trip, I was lucky enough to spend time on many of the different units in the hospital. This included the Special Care Baby Unit, Paediatrics and PICU, casualty and orthopaedic surgery, antenatal, the labour room, OB-GYN, psychiatric ward and clinic, and a community clinic within a school. This gave me exposure to all fields and a fascinating insight into Sri Lankan healthcare.
I also got to see treatments that are not often used in the UK, such as Electro Cognitive Therapy, and I saw a wide range of tropical diseases and health complaints, such as dengue fever and snake and monkey bites. We also had the opportunity to meet the hospital director and the provincial director, to discuss healthcare in the western world and our thoughts on healthcare in Sri Lanka which was facinating.
The hospital gave us several teaching sessions which were another valuable insight into Sri Lankan healthcare.
Throughout this trip, I noticed many cultural differences. One of the major differences was the hierarchy within the hospital. The consultants were at the top and there was absolutely no questioning them. Staff would stand up when the consultants entered the room and were only to address them by ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’.
However, everybody in the hospital was always very friendly and very willing to teach us. The staff were also incredibly resourceful, and I could not believe how much we throw away in the UK in terms of materials. Another difference was that Sri Lankans heavily rely on Ayurvedic medicine, their traditional medicine, and there was a lot of patients in the hospital who had tried this first before turning to medical doctors.
Outside of placement, we travelled across the country at the weekends and spent some time at the local attractions during the evenings. Sri Lanka is a truly beautiful country and we saw some absolutely amazing places that I will never forget.
My favourite place was ‘World’s End’, located in a beautiful national park called Horton Plains.
I hugely enjoyed living in the Work the World house – it was so interesting to meet people from all over the world who were in different healthcare professions. We all had such a good time together in the evenings and when travelling at the weekends.
Doing an elective placement abroad was definitely the best decision I have ever made. I learnt so much that I have taken back to my healthcare practice in the UK, and I made friends for life. The support offered by Work the World was amazing from start to finish, and I definitely hope to return to Sri Lanka one day!