Vietnam was my country of choice because it had long been on my bucket list, and it offered a placement in reproductive endocrinology and infertility, a specialty area I was interested in.
The timing of the opportunity was too good to pass up. All I needed to do was commit and when I did, everything fell into place.
I was wowed from the moment I entered the house gates. The warm welcome I received from the Work the World staff was amazing. In fact, they never failed to welcome me back upon my return from the hospital each day, and supported my every need.
My favorite times in the house were the BBQ nights we had every Thursday. I still dream about the steamed lotus leaf rice and want to return to Hue to eat it again!
Every moment in the house was a delight.
During my ten-day placement, I rotated around three different areas and I saw some fascinating cases.
In the OBG ward, I bathed and dressed newborns, in the delivery room, I saw my first Caesarean section, and in the infertility clinic I met a woman who had returned for her eighth intrauterine insemination.
The hospital itself was a simple set of buildings. It housed many patients and their families, with roughly 60% of patients coming in from rural Vietnam. The hospital was always crowded and there was a lack of resources, evidenced in part by the fact that multiple patients shared beds, and only a few rooms had the luxury of air-conditioners to relieve the heat.
Unlike in Australia, patients were more dependent on their families for assistance with things like meals, showers, and mobility. If you choose to undertake your placement in Vietnam, you’ll be awed by the adaptability, perseverance, and hard-work of hospital staff, patients, and their families.
If you’re thinking of travelling to Vietnam, my final message is to make friends with local people. They were our filter to where the best places to go were. They’re also the reason I want to go back to Vietnam for more!