Safety on your Hospital Placement
At the heart of all our hospital partnerships is our unique mentoring system, which provides clear transfer of accountability for student safety from our staff to medical doctors at the point they enter the hospital. If an individual mentor has to leave students for any reason, he or she transfers their supervision to another appropriately qualified health professional before doing so.
Placements are observational, as a protection for both students and patients. Students do not have any physical contact with patients, or any participatory involvement with clinical procedures for which they are not trained and qualified.
Students are required to change into clean scrubs on arrival at the hospital each day, which are branded for the program to clearly distinguish students from hospital staff. Personal Protective Equipment, such as face masks, eye protection, gloves and protective footwear are worn in some settings according to the direction of the mentor, and sterile scrubs are provided as required for access to sensitive areas such as Operating Rooms.
Security at Our Houses
One of the reasons we operate all of our own student guesthouses, rather than using hostels or homestays, is to give us direct control of safety and security.
We have at least one staff member on duty at every house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and access is controlled to only allow our own students and staff inside. On our High School Program, there is always a female member of staff on duty at the house over night.
Within the house, bedrooms are single-sex, and out of respect for personal privacy we ask students not to enter rooms other than the one to which they are assigned. Personal security boxes are provided next to all beds.
Our houses and gardens are enclosed by security fences, and we have a security guard on the gate 24 hours. Overnight additional guards are on patrol for added peace of mind.
Safety in Dominican Republic
Our Dominican Republic program was established in 2016, and has hosted more than 1,500 students without any serious incidents. We continue to apply all of the measures that we believe have contributed to this record, and keep local security conditions under constant review.
We actively monitor US State Department Travel Advisories (which at the time of writing categorize Dominican Republic as Level Two, the same as the UK and Italy), and British Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice.
Through our permanent local staff team and strong partnerships with both government and private hospitals, we are extremely well-connected to the local community, and have a strong relationship with the British Embassy in Santo Domingo.
Around six million foreign tourists visit the Dominican Republic each year, and almost all have an entirely trouble-free experience. A small number of incidents involving American nationals made headlines in 2019, but these were isolated to a few specific hotels and not considered to indicate any kind of national risk.
The Dominican Republic is at risk from hurricanes, particularly between June and November, as is most of the Caribbean region. Forecasting of these is now extremely effective, and we have procedures in place to protect and if necessary relocate students should it become necessary.