My elective in Ghana allowed me to experience things I never could have in the UK.
Being a mental health nurse, it was great spending two weeks on psychiatry as it is my chosen field, but I would definitely recommend doing a variety of different wards to get a sense of how other departments work too.
I also spent one week on A&E and one week on the delivery suite. It was frustrating to watch the lack of urgency in staff, the scarcity of resources, and the inability to help a patient who has no money. However, these are the things that really opened my eyes up to the reality of how lucky we are in the UK to have the NHS, and in turn allowed me to value our healthcare more than ever.
Most of the hospital staff speak very good English, which allowed me to learn so much more from the experience. I was slightly apprehensive about being placed on A&E and the delivery ward as it was something I had never experienced before, but all the staff were very friendly and allowed me to be as involved as I felt comfortable with.
I was able to observe a C section, a natural birth and the stitching of a third-degree tear. It was very surprising to see the way the hospital staff speak to the patients during birth. To encourage them to push they are often shouted at and slapped on the legs by the midwifes. Partners are also not allowed in the room, so it was nice to be able to spend some time with the women, calming them down and chatting to them prior to their deliveries.
During my two weeks on psychiatry I was able to experience so much more than I expected. I went out with the community team, visited the largest psychiatric hospital in Ghana and went to the local prayer camps. During my time on A&E I also went to the mortuary, I definitely recommend going as this was very eye-opening, as you can probably imagine!
I also recommend making the most of every weekend you have. We were only in Ghana for 4 weeks but managed to visit so many places! We went to Busca beach, Mole National Park, Cacun National Park, the village on stilts, Kintampo waterfall, Lake Bosumtwi, Sekondi and Cape Coast. There is also a small bar right next door to the Work the World house and many other clubs and bars in Takoradi that were great fun to go to in the evenings!
All the staff at the house are extremely friendly and were always willing to help us in anything we needed like organising insight days and advising on weekend trips. I would not change my experience in any way and would definitely recommend you go, it’s a great way to meet new people, expand your knowledge and increase professional development.