Edgehill University 2013

Nursing, Sri Lanka Kandy

When university suggested that we could go abroad as part of our placement, I decided to look into it as it was something I always wanted to do, however I was unsure where I wanted to go.  

After looking around the internet I found Work the World, and found the website really helpful.  I decided to book with Work the World as they would take care of everything and organise my placement and accommodation, so I wouldn’t need to worry about anything.

After looking at the destinations, I decided Sri Lanka would be a great option and that I would be able to go travelling after my placement had finished as there is so much to see and do.  I also decided that I wanted to take part in the Ayurvedic Medicine Experience and find out why so many people travel miles and miles for this traditional treatment.

I arrived in Colombo airport at the end of July and was met by Thulsi, a Work the World representative.  We then went to meet another girl who was on the Work the World programme and then began our journey to Kandy which took about three hours. The time went quickly as I took in the colourful views and culture of Sri Lanka.  We stopped half way for lunch at a lovely restaurant and were able to try out the local dishes.

We arrived at the Work the World house in Kandy. It was lovely & clean, and the views were amazing.  I travelled alone and was a bit worried that I might get a bit lonely but everyone was so nice and I have made friends for life, we have already had the odd reunion since being back in the UK and are currently planning another.

There was a carnival on in Kandy when we arrived, which we went to after our evening meal, this was an experience, and a fun evening.

dengue fever was common and there was someone who had been admitted due to having a snake bite

The following day we had a tour around Kandy to show us where everything is i.e the banks, supermarkets, internet cafes, the market, post office and the Queen’s hotel (where you are welcome to use the pool for a small charge). We watched the amazing Buddhist festival which is now a unique symbol of Sri Lanka; it consists of elephants parading the streets with beautiful garments and lights, Kandyan dancers, whip dances and fire dances. It was a great way to embrace the Sri Lankan culture.

The next day we met Nandika, the Work the World Programme Manager, who took us to the hospital and introduced us to the Chief Nursing Officer, Mr Nalin, who welcomed us to the hospital and took us to our work places.  I had chosen to work on the general medicine ward for three weeks and then a week at the Ayurvedic hospital.

It was an eye opener to say the least and it made you realise how lucky we are in the UK to have the facilities that we have.  For example I worked with the Sri Lankan students a lot and watched the sister test them on making a bed, she was really strict and kept making them do it again and again until it was perfect, yet I never saw them use fresh sheets.  I was also helping the nurse with the medicines and I changed my gloves and was told I wasn’t allowed to change them because they weren’t dirty.  So I would advise anyone to take anything you can over to help as the hospital manages amazing on what little resources they have.

There was a patient with an NG feed and was quite shocked that they fed the patient by putting soup down the feed instead of the feeds that we have over here.  It was interesting to look at the different conditions that people had been admitted with i.e dengue fever was common and there was someone who had been admitted due to having a snake bite.  The sister, nurses and student nurses were only too happy to answer any questions I had about any conditions.

I worked with the Sri Lankan student nurses quite a lot who were happy to teach me Sinhala words and were more than happy to answer all the questions I had about how they trained as nurses in Sri Lanka.  I was also happy to answer any questions they had.  

I also spent a morning on outpatients in Kandy which was totally different again - I couldn’t believe how busy it was, you couldn’t move for people.  

Mr Nalin arranged for me and one of the other students to go to the Nursing School in Kandy where we was shown around by one of the sisters, who gave us loads of information.  I was actually surprised how similar the training was to ours.

One of my favourite experiences was the Ayurvedic medicine week.  I enjoyed travelling down to Eagle’s Wings Guest House on the local bus, which was an experience.  The accommodation was lovely and the staff was really welcoming and accommodating, we even had a cooking lesson, which was an experience.

It was interesting to go to the Ayurvedic hospital and observe patients being assessed and having treatment, I had a treatment myself on my knee and toe, which I have to say, has helped.  We met a number of the in-patients and was able to ask them questions about their injuries and treatment.

Whilst on the Ayurvedic week, me and another student went an the elephant safari which was amazing and a must do, we did this on our day off, so there was an extra charge but would highly recommend it.  There were hundreds of wild elephants and we managed to get pretty close.

Well it wasn’t all work and no play we use to arrange weekends away, A-Bay is great if you like surfing, but my favourite was when we went to Unawatuna and Gaulle, the beach was stunning, so it was lovely to get away and relax.

There is a lot to do in and close around Kandy such as The Temple of The Tooth, Kandy Lake and Big Buddha.  If you enjoy shopping then you will love Kandy Market, where you can grab a bargain.  The Botanical Gardens are stunning and a great place to relax.  I had a fantastic experience!

I had a great time on my placement and would definitely go back on another placement with Work the World now I have qualified as a nurse.

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