Shadowing a DoctorNovember 28, 2012
In Summer 2012 a group of international students joined Gap Medics in Tanzania for a month of hospital work experience. They raised funds at home in the UK and Australia to contribute a large quantity of much needed medical supplies to the local community.
Rachael from the UK talks about her experience with Gap Medics.
“Hi, i’m Rachael and I am a second year paediatric nursing student. I was given the opportunity to take an international placement as part of my training to spend time shadowing professional physicians and to gain an insight into healthcare practice outside of the UK; I more than jumped at the chance!
Here is a snapshot of my time with Gap Medics in Tanzania…well, how do you begin to describe such an incredible and life changing experience………….
Initially organising a placement abroad while in the middle of a hectic study schedule seemed daunting, but from the very moment I booked a place with Gap Medics, I knew I was in safe hands.
From start to finish the team at the UK head office were there to help, no matter how many questions I asked! Before I knew it I was on my way to Tanzania, bags packed and raring to go!
I had never been to Tanzania before, let alone travelled to such a far off place by myself, it was such a relief when as soon as I stepped out of arrivals at Dar es Salam airport I was greeted with a beaming smile from my driver Bruno, very identifiable in his Gap Medics top!
From the airport we travelled a short distance to the hotel where I stayed before departure to Iringa the following morning. Accompanied by Jerry, one of Gap Medics programme managers, I joined other students who arrived on the same weekend and we set off on our way to Iringa.
I split my time in the hospital into two weeks in the paediatric department and two weeks in obstetrics and gynaecology on the labour ward. Both settings offered an eye opening experience and I relished the opportunity to learn about and better understand the Tanzanian culture and how adaptive medical care must be in such challenging circumstances.
As a student in training I found the whole experience invaluable! The depth of knowledge I gained over those four weeks was astonishing and I would always leave the afternoon teaching sessions with reams and reams of notes to study; what the doctors and nurses of Iringa Regional Hospital don’t know isn’t worth knowing, ‘Inspirational’ is the only word I can use to describe them!
Day in day out they remained committed to providing the best care possible to their patients and it was these doctors and nurses we got to call our mentors! Some days were a little harder then others at the hospital, however, no matter how difficult the day, the Gap Medics team were always there to support and guide us. Jerry, Mdoe, Baptista, Thanks! We couldn’t have done it without you guys!
I stayed at the Rock House with a large group of students from all over the world. My first reaction when I walked through the door was WOW! Stepping outside you had the amazing views of Gangilonga rock, a place we spent many an evening all together watching the sun set over the town, definitely a must see while you are there! The set-up of the house means that you immediately feel like you are part of one massive family, everyone in it together, I can most definitely say I have made some amazing friends and have memories that will last forever.
Most evenings were spent together socialising sitting out by the fire and there was nothing we looked forward to more than Thursday nights when we had a huge firepit BBQ; there were always loads of activities to keep us all busy in our free time.
We spent some time volunteering at the local orphanage, an extremely rewarding and humbling experience and a place most definitely worth spending some time. Other amazing attractions would of course include the safari at Ruaha National Park! With spectacular views across the plains from our hill top lodge where we saw just about every wild animal you could possibly think of!
My experience in Tanzania with Gap Medics was so profound and inspirational that I have just booked up to return to Iringa with Gap Medics and will be flying back just weeks after returning home. No words can truly describe the effect this placement has had on me and the amount with which it has reconfirmed my passion to become a professional children’s nurse!
To the team at Gap Medics…..you are AMAZING…Thankyou!”
Paediatric Nursing Student, UK, November 2012
Rachael and a group of fellow students were so insprired by their experiences in Tanzania with Gap Medics that they independently fundraised several thousand pounds to contribute a variety of essential equipment and much needed supplies to the hospital facilities. These charitable efforts have continued on their return home where they continue to fundraise for Iringa!
This is a really fantastic contribution to the local community which the doctors hugely appreciate; Gap Medics are very proud of their efforts!
Places are available now for 2013 Apply Now!