In July 2015, I had the privilege of being able to spend 4 weeks in Peru as the first professional physiotherapist to be placed in this new and exciting destination for Work the World! I was driven to such a placement by my desire to be challenged, my desire to learn and teach, as well as my desire to immerse myself in a foreign culture, which I had been so fascinated by for such a long time.
On arrival in Arequipa, I enjoyed a welcome briefing and a city orientation. Both were extremely useful in allowing me to gather my bearings, not to mention a lot of fun. Thorough communication between the Work The World team and the hospital staff in Arequipa prior to my arrival, about my current level of knowledge and training, meant that I was given a large amount of responsibility with my patients and was able to see a wide variety of cases.
My interests lie strongly in paediatrics and women’s health and I treated many children ranging from a 2-year-old with significant hip dysplasia through to a 12-year-old with cerebral palsy in the Outpatient Physiotherapy Department. One of the most interesting presentations I saw on placement was that of a middle-aged woman presenting 5 months post-Achilles tear fibromyalgia.
I was also given the opportunity to observe and work in the Paediatric Inpatient Ward, birthing unit and special care nursery. My placement not only allowed me to learn new skills but to develop and refine my current capabilities. Listening to and interpreting pain through modes other than verbal communication (facial expression, posture etc.) is something I will take home and treasure.
MY TIME IN THE HOSPITAL WAS REWARDING BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY; The skills I learnt I will never forget and the people I met will be friends for a lifetime."
Not only did I enjoy making new friends and learning new skills, but I also had the opportunity to visit some amazing travel destinations. My favourite weekend destination was Huacachina, where you can Dune buggy and sand board. Never have I seen or experienced anything like the mystical oasis town, and the activities were such an adrenaline rush! Also, Colca Canyon’s stunning views are not to be missed, they will take your breath away.
For any healthcare professionals keen on exploring Peru and challenging themselves clinically, do yourself a favour and make it happen!