For my elective placement, I decided to go to Takoradi in Ghana. I chose Ghana because I’ve always wanted to visit Africa and I’d heard the culture and the people of Ghana were so welcoming. I wanted to push my boundaries and see what nursing was like in a low resource environment.
From the moment I got in touch, Work the World were there to help with the process of arranging my elective. They were able to give me step by step instructions so I would not forget anything, from letting me know when to apply for my visa to providing a packing checklist. The team rang me on several occasions to ease any last-minute nerves and ensure everything was okay.
I left the UK on Saturday feeling super nervous, however, when I arrived in Accra I was welcomed by the Work the World team. The team arranged for the new arrivals to stay at a hotel for the night and we arrived in Takoradi on the Sunday evening where the entire village had a power cut. Akwaaba!
On Monday morning, I was taken to my placement hospital for the first time. I was taken aback when I first saw how little the hospital had yet every single member of staff went out of their way to introduce themselves and welcome me to Ghana.
I was surprised how little concern staff had and I realised that this was a normal occurrence for them.
During my first week, I spent my time in the main theatre and I was able to see how differently the theatres were run; which to no surprise was so different. I was able to see how little anaesthetic patients were sometimes given and therefore were still in a lot of pain whilst being operated on. This was mainly due to the cost and the patients having to pay for everything themselves. I was surprised how little concern staff had and I realised that this was a normal occurrence for them.
Within my second week, I spent my time in the gynaecology ward. I was able to get more involved and learn how care was provided in Ghana. Although Ghanaians take a very relaxed approach towards their practice, they still provide what is required.
Because I am used to working within busy environments at home it took me a while to get used to how relaxed medical staff were. I was able to see that although Ghana has come a long way, their lack of privacy for their patients was still very poor. Women were not shown respect from the medical team in the same way as they would in the UK and were often told to ‘shhh’ when in pain. Consent was only asked for when being taken for an operation.
It was such a beautiful experience which I will never forget.
The staff allowed me to go to the labour ward during my second week as my aim was to observe a birth. On my final day, I finally got to see a natural birth and a C-section. It was such a beautiful experience which I will never forget.
During my two weeks in Ghana, I met such diverse individuals who inspired my journey; the locals and my wonderful housemates. All of us got on so well and we went on numerous day trips to the beach and Market Circle. During my only weekend in Ghana, the entire house travelled to Cape Coast where we all spent the night in a Tree House in the National Park. It was such an amazing experience.
The Work the World team were fantastic and I honestly can’t praise them enough. Everything was so organised to the very last detail. The food was freshly cooked every night and was super delicious. We were able to try some of the local dishes as well as having some comfort food from home. The team would also organise a weekly BBQ night which was honestly the best night of the week!
If anyone is considering Work the World for their elective, my advice is to do it! It will change your perspective and will show you how to appreciate what care facilities you have at home.
Thank you, Work the World!