Hello! My name is Amber and I am a second year student adult nurse at the University of Central Lancashire, in the UK. I chose Work the World for my elective as they provided the most useful and helpful information prior, throughout and post to the elective. The website is easy to navigate, everything is provided! Food, accommodation, transfers (too and from the airport) and the staffs both at home in the UK here in Sri Lanka are most helpful.
When I arrived in Sri Lanka I was greeted by Mewan the assistant programme manager, he took me to the Work the World house in Kandy – an amazing, very homely city, whilst en route he showed me special landmarks and explained the fun things to do on the weekends off. Later, I was given a thorough orientation of Kandy which was very helpful.
Although there is a difference regarding the healthcare in Sri Lanka and home, it makes the elective more worthwhile. I spent 2 weeks on General Medicine, 1 week on ICU Neurosurgery and 1 week on General Surgery and all were fascinating! On all the wards, the staff and students were very helpful and showed a lot of interest in my home country and work ethic. I gained a lot of knowledge from all 3 placements, from simple drugs to complex medical procedures and diagnostics. I was very nervous to begin, however, after the first week, I became much more confident working alongside other healthcare professionals and enjoyed learning how the hospital ran – but you must be prepared to get yourself involved!!
All the wards were different, which made my experience even more exciting. I was able to join ward rounds with the doctors and medical students, plus help with the drugs rounds and personal hygiene care. Although this seems similar to home, the routines of these are much different and interesting to watch.
For future student nurses, my advice to you would be to join in with the other Sri Lankan student nurses and medics as they can provide lots of information and have a high level of English knowledge. This was the most difficult aspect of the placement in hospital and the language barrier made it difficult to always join in, however my skills in non-verbal communication grew and was able to help to the best of my abilities regardless of this barrier. Apart from this, all staff at Work the World house speak a good level of English which made out of work life easier. Be as involved as you can (for example; stand with gloves on and a mask next to the nurse and question everything!!) and make the most of your time in the hospital as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience alternative medicines, nursing care and procedures.
I have enjoyed every minute in the Work the World house and have made friends for life from all over the world. Do not be worried about meeting new people who are outside of your immediate friendship group as it all adds to the experience of being abroad – and we are all in the same position! Make the most of it!
At the weekends, we all made plans together to explore the rest of Sri Lanka. We visited Nuwara Eliya and climbed Adams Peak (do not walk up this on a weekend unless you want to climb one step every 5 minutes). Not only this but we visited the cultural triangle, climbed Sigiriya and visited the west coast stopping at Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa – both great for a fun night out and surfing! Kandy itself has also a lot to offer, including the Great White Buddha, the Temple of the Tooth and the Elephant orphanages just 1 hour away. I also went to a children’s orphanage as I gained donations (pens, pencils, clothes and paper) prior to visiting Sri Lanka.
Overall, my elective has been amazing. I have enjoyed every day in the hospital and weekends with my friends. I would recommend anyone to come here, be that for a hospital elective placement or a holiday. Everyone is welcoming and it is a great pleasure to be around the locals in Kandy and Sri Lanka. I most certainly will be visiting again in the near future!