For my International Elective Placement, I went to David Gordon Memorial Hospital in Livingstonia, Northern Malawi. I went away with two other student nurses and our routine consisted of working Monday to Friday, attending morning devotions at 7 am and then working until 4.30 pm. As an adult student nurse, I was allowed to work in the male, female and maternity wards and spend time in each. I was able to learn about a variety of illnesses and treatments during my time there, caring for patients with illnesses I have never experienced in Northern Ireland. This experience enabled me to practice and develop clinical skills such as; venepuncture, cannulation, catheterisation, suction and CPR. I had to adapt to working within a new culture, a different language and working with limited resources. I also had the experience of observing childbirth and an emergency caesarean section - on my final day in maternity I had the incredible opportunity of delivering a baby girl.
My first day of placement consisted of a two-hour journey down the mountain in an over-filled ambulance and nearly three hours on a very small boat across Lake Malawi in order to bring health clinics to communities in need, which consisted of; outpatients, infant check-ups, family planning, eye testing and pharmacy. It was an eye-opening experience seeing how some communities live without such necessities. It was an incredibly rewarding experience, and so worth the hardwork involved. I would recommend DGMH to any student looking for an elective experience.