Child Nursing – Sri Lanka (Worldwide Volunteering)
BSc (Hons) Child Nursing
Danielle Coughlan took part in a medical volunteering project in Sri Lanka.
Why I chose volunteering Sri Lanka
“I decided to choose Sri Lanka as the health care system they have is very similar to our own NHS. A huge class divide means that the free hospitals are occupied by some of the poorest people with little health education. I also wanted to experience working in an environment where the language was not my native tongue.”
“I was able to experience many different health care areas during my time in Sri Lanka: Paediatric medicine and surgery, including a day in paediatric intensive care, gastrointestinal surgery and mental health unit. As a Paediatric student nurse I found these placements the most enjoyable, being able to watch surgeries and interact with the children and families were very valuable. Families appeared very grateful that students took the time to come and say hello to them and were happy to allow us to read through their notes.”
Differences between the UK and Sri Lanka
“The student nurses in Sri Lanka train for 3 years, the same as we do here. They attend lectures within the hospital itself but spend the majority of their training on the wards. The students are also paid a monthly wage during their training which increases every year.
Privacy and dignity were an area which I struggled with a lot in Sri Lanka, consultant clinics were ran in rooms with two or more consultants in at the same time, meaning there was not privacy or confidentiality for patients.
This appeared to be the norm’ and the culture within Sri Lanka. Doctors and nurses were extremely respected and the way they were treated within the hospital appeared to be cultural.”
“This placement was different to what I had expected; I assumed I would be more involved within the day-to-day routine of the ward; however my time there was purely observational. Most nurses on the ward had very little to no English, therefore communication was very difficult, this led me to being uncomfortable and not wanting to get involved in drug rounds.
Although I did not gain any extra skills, this experience did allow me to experience a very different health care culture, and also allowed me to gain more appreciation for our own NHS and be more mindful of the equipment used.”
“My advice would be to ensure to always work within limitations, to be confident in saying whether or not they are happy to partake in medications or procedures and that the placement may only be observational, however if this is the case, then take the opportunity to visit as many wards, clinics and procedures as possible.”