I spent 2 weeks in Ghana in a wonderful program that was tailored to my experiences and interests.
I stayed with Sally and her lovely family and during my time there, I was able to work at a Mental Rehabilitation Centre, a Clinic, and a Teaching Hospital. The program was tailored to my experiences and interests so I was really able to get the most out of being there. The residents of the rehabilitation center were so grateful for a new face and someone to take an interest in them and their lives, and it was so eye-opening to get an insight into the Ghanaian mental health system, an insight that only could have come from the hands-on experience enabled by this program. The nurses and other staff at the Clinic were also the kindest people I have met, eager to make me feel welcome and teach me everything I wanted to know that was in my remit of clinical capability. The time I spent was very valuable, as I was able to work on the emergency reuses ward which was also being used as an ICU overflow facility. There, under the supervision of the deputy ward manager, I was assigned my very own patient who had been involved in a road traffic accident. I had to check vitals regularly, administer medications, change the drip when needed, empty his catheter bag, and even use a suction machine to respirate sputum to ensure that he didn’t choke. Every healthcare professional I came into contact with, including other volunteers, was so supportive and happy to teach me. I got so much more out of two weeks in Ghana than I could have got out of a practical work placement here in the UK, and the exposure really consolidated the fact that I want to be a nurse, so I am now heading to university in September to study adult nursing with a view to using this clinical knowledge to contribute to the health of many different patients around the world.
As a culture, people were so friendly, and it is common practice for them to share with you their food, company, and language (people love it even if you just say “Medaase” which is ‘thank you’ in Twi). This was the case with Sally and her family; they were so hospitable and went above and beyond to ensure I was safe and happy, advising me on the best way to spend my weekends and helping me to organize an Easter celebration dinner for the residents of the rehabilitation center.
There is so much more I could say but overall, I really had an amazing time and came back a better person than when I went, and I really do feel that my time spent in Ghana altered my perspective which has already influenced decisions in my life and will continue to do so in the future.