We arrived in Colombo airport at approximately 8:30am on a Sunday morning and having never been out of Europe before, this was quite daunting. However, the fast airport pick-up and scenic car journey to the Work the World house made the rest of our travels fairly relaxing! Once out of the busy environment of Colombo airport and in Kandy at the Work the World house, we’d already had a few stops to photograph the amazing views and the weather was incredible.
It was a relief that our placement briefing and city orientation were completed the next day as we were exhausted from our long flight. But once we’d caught up on a bit of sleep, a thorough placement briefing was delivered by the programme manager.
Initially, I felt really nervous to go into placement as it sounded very challenging, but the opportunity to ask loads of questions (even if they sounded silly) made me feel more relaxed and in no time I was excited to start placement.
Within the first few days we had also been given a city orientation which was really useful as we were shown where to exchange currency, where to shop and where to buy extra food if we needed any- although I soon found the house chef always provided more than enough!
Upon starting our placement, my first surprise was how differently the hospital operated compared with hospitals in the UK. It was so busy and there were so many patients about, either waiting for appointments or being treated in the wards. In the physiotherapy outpatients department, generally the patients arrived very early in the morning and waited to be seen, rather than coming at a specific time. This meant the working hours were different as the physiotherapists started at 8am and saw most of their patients in the morning, then had 2 hours for lunch, coming back at 2 although there weren’t many patients to be seen by then, meaning afternoons are far more quiet and relaxed. However, physiotherapists treat more than 1 patient at once in the hospital and therefore a lot of patients get seen in the working day. As I requested to see the wards as well, to gain as much experience as possible, our supervisor in the department quickly made a rota so we could rotate around a number of wards. I would recommend this as I got to follow a large number of physiotherapists- both qualified and trainees in loads of areas such as medical and surgical ICU, neurosurgery and some respiratory wards.