I’d always wanted to travel to Asia but never knew how to fit it around placements and university. The idea of completing my elective in Vietnam was the perfect combination of travelling and education!
I contacted the Work the World team for some more information concerning available dates and placement information. The team were so helpful and gave me lots of advice.
I decided to book on to the programme and complete my elective in a hospital in Hue, Vietnam. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done! If you are having any doubts, book it!
The Work the World team were very welcoming and made us feel at home.
After months of anticipation, my friend and I arrived in Vietnam. The Work the World team were very welcoming and made us feel at home.
My first impression of the hospital was that it was extremely busy and hot. So hot! Much of the hospital was dated and lacked adequate infection control, the complete opposite to our NHS.
Many of the patients were intrigued by us in the department and it took a while to get used to so many stares. However, as time went on I became familiar with their interest and appreciated the warm hospitality.
My clinical skills developed greatly during my placement. Communicating with people in a different language whilst trying to deliver the highest standards of care proved to be challenging but it allowed me to grow as a person and adjust my skill set for the patient.
Skills acquired whilst on placement in the NHS, such as the 6C’s, radiation safety and professionalism, I still developed in Vietnam by working with a different team in a new country.
One case I assisted with will stay with me forever. In Vietnam, the culture is that family care for each other, even whilst in hospital. Doctors and nurses provided medical care to the patients and the patient’s family provided personal care.
A lady had been involved in a moped accident whilst 8 months pregnant with twins. She had suffered a head injury and was in and out of consciousness. Privacy and dignity for patients was not a priority as it is in England and during examinations, many other service users were in the room watching.
The lady and her mother arrived for an ultrasound to check the health of the twins before going on to receive a CT head scan. The sonographer did not introduce herself or check how the patient was doing – I was surprised at the lack of empathy shown.
The lady became more ill during the scan and it was her mother who looked after her. It was hard to watch as nobody tried to support her. In Vietnam this is normal, but I still found it challenging.
The healthcare professionals in Vietnam provide a diagnosis but it took me a while to understand they don’t provide the level of support or care I’m so used to at home.
The hospital staff provided excellent explanations as to why the healthcare system was run so differently and encouraged me to assist with many different and exciting cases.
The hospital had many different wards including radiology, oncology, maternity and A&E. It was brilliant being able to experience different departments and develop a broader knowledge of how different areas of the hospital were run as this doesn’t usually happen during placements in England.
Weekends and evenings at the Work the World house were always busy, there was plenty to do!
Evening activities varied, from language lessons and cooking lessons to just relaxing and watching a film on Netflix with my new friends. The evening meals were always freshly prepared and had a variety that suited everybody.
The opportunity to travel around Vietnam was a great addition to my elective placement.
I spent my weekends in Hanoi and Da Nang with friends that I made at the house. The opportunity to travel around Vietnam was a great addition to my elective placement.
I would encourage everybody to take the opportunity to undertake their elective placement overseas. Vietnam is a beautiful country with the friendliest people and the most amazing opportunities.
It allowed me to become more confident and develop the skills that I had learnt back home. It is a brilliant topic of conversation during interviews and will help me to stand out when applying for jobs. I made friends for life and will cherish the memories forever.