Dominic experiences the medical sector in developing countries
Dominic Rodrigues, a pharmacy student at the University of East Anglia, was hoping to gain an experience outside of his research and work in the medical sector. He used his PIPS to gain an insight into the healthcare system in a developing country by volunteering in hospitals in Vietnam and Nepal.
Dominic worked in hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam and Kathmandu Nepal from January to April 2015. Dominic also spent 2 weeks teaching at a local primary school about health related areas and the general essential subjects. “My main objective was to help as much as possible and hopefully provide some valuable advice to other colleagues and help the patients”, says Dominic. In doing so, he hoped to increase his awareness of different working lifestyles in different cultures whilst improving his communication skills.
During the 12 week internship Dominic contributed ideas of good practice in the pharmacy departments of the hospitals. A typical day involved checking the clinical appropriateness of medicines, dispensing medication, helping managing stock and advising the pharmacist on different practices. Other duties included assisting the nurses, which involved dressing patients’ wounds and administering medicines and injections. Dominic also worked in the occupational therapy department, which involved dealing with patients who suffer from conditions affecting movement such as cerebral palsy and epilepsy. “I was taught the different exercises to carry out and then I assisted the patients on a daily basis”, says Dominic.
Dominic benefited from his placement in many ways. Much of his work involved meeting different healthcare professionals and working in a team so he was involved in a lot of public engagement and also working with colleagues. The last two weeks of his placement in Nepal was spent teaching children at the local school and therefore required appropriate teaching skills and communication with the pupils. “I feel this experience has improved my self-confidence”, Dominic reflects. “There is a high level of responsibility when working in healthcare as you are dealing with patients”. The experience has also given him more understanding of rules and regulations in terms of health, safety and ethics that exist in developing countries, which has made him realise how developed the various different systems are in the UK.
Dominic says that he felt a great sense of personal satisfaction from the placement; “The experience has allowed me to contribute to a society which is not as economically developed as the UK which I found very rewarding… I was directly involved in helping patients who lead lives in poorer countries. This strengthened my decision to carrying on working in the healthcare field including pharmaceutical/medical based research or working as a healthcare professional after my PhD”.