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Nursing Internships in Ghana - Takoradi

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Work the World team were all that we could have hoped for

After months of planning we finally set off from Cambridge early one October morning. We left England in freezing conditions and arrived in Accra, 10 hours later, to overwhelming heat! The airport felt a bit scary but actually was straightforward. We had no problems getting through customs and everyone seemed very friendly. We were so glad though to be met by Ghana’s Assistant Program Manager as we came through the airport doors as there were dozens of taxi drivers rushing to ‘help’ us by taking our bags and trying to load them into their cars and then asking for money! However, the Work the World staff calmly sorted the right vehicles and off we went.

On the first night, we stayed in Accra after being taken out for a meal – Jollof – the first Jollof of many! We were up early the next morning for a 4-hour bus ride to the Work the World house in Takoradi where we were to stay for the next 3 weeks. Here the Assistant Program Manager ‘handed us over’ to the other staff who are just amazing. We were well looked after during our stay; the caterer cooked us great pancakes for breakfast and various meals in the evening, our favorite being red-red, a sort of bean stew. When we arrived we the staff took us on an orientation and helped us change our money into Ghanaian Cedi’s, took us out for a meal and even invited us to Church on Sunday! No matter what your religious views are it’s certainly worth going!

On the first Monday, we went to hospital, about 10 minutes away by taxi. The Program Manager showed us around, introduced us to the various people we needed to know and then left us to our first day of work. Three of us were in A&E, the others in maternity. We all had amazing experiences of working with the friendly staff in these areas. We could have just observed but wanted to be more hands-on. Once the staff realized that we were prepared to work, they were very keen to let us help where we could. We had taken scrubs with us, which were needed not just for getting into theatre in maternity but also for working on the wards. We hadn’t expected to wear them all the time, but it was actually better than wearing our own clothes as we felt more a part of the team.

During our stay we were also able to spend a few days at a local orphanage which was just an amazing opportunity.

We only had a couple of full weekends for travelling so didn’t venture as far as others do. But we spent a very peaceful day at Busua Beach, about 40 mins away. We also spent a night in Kakum National Park sleeping on a mattress on a small platform with just a mosquito net for safety! Then early the next morning, we went on a fantastic canopy walk to see the monkeys. We were really fortunate that on one weekend it was the Ghana world cup qualifier match against Lesotho and although we are not all football fans it was an experience not to be missed. However, I don’t think we’d have managed to get tickets if it had not been for a friendly taxi driver we had met through our Program Manager earlier in the week, as he endured what seemed like a rugby scrum to get them!

Our 3 weeks went far too quickly but has left us all with a real desire to go back, not only to Ghana but also to explore more of Africa. This was a first time to Africa for all of us and although we had been quite nervous beforehand we all agreed it was the most amazing time and worth all the planning and organizing of funds to see, first-hand, the health service in a country so different from ours. We were overwhelmed by people’s friendliness and fun and to had plenty of time to enjoy the delights of the beautiful beaches and local area.

The Work the World team were all that we could have hoped for and nothing seemed to be too much trouble for them, with any little problems being sorted out immediately. We were always able to contact John if we needed to and he would often ring one of us to make sure we were OK. Having all the placements sorted out for us, safe accommodation and travel arrangements organized was really important for us as first time travelers to Africa and just took away so much potential stress had we tried to piece together a trip like this ourselves.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Work the World ambience was everything I’d hoped for and more from my elective placement!

My friends and I decided, after a lot of thought, that we wanted to undertake our elective somewhere in Africa. We knew we didn’t want to organize the elective independently as we were under a lot of pressure with university work at the time, and none of us were very worldly and had never been travelling alone before!
I found out about Work the World through talking with a third year student nurse who had been on her elective with them that summer. The support and organization that Work the World provided sounded perfect for what we were looking for in a company - organization of accommodation, food and the placement. They even provided an online elective planner which included how to apply for your visa, information on currency, a kit list, your placement information, who your supervisors will be, language guide videos, general information about Ghana, and more.

All three of us were nervous, but excited when we stepped off of the plane in Accra. We waited for our luggage and it wasn’t until the final bags were released and the conveyer belt came to a standstill that we realized that we probably weren't getting our luggage that day!! Now slightly stressed and worried we were met by legendary Assistant Program Manager, who immediately put our minds at ease and sorted out the mix-up.

We arrived at the Takoradi house and were met by the energetic and enthusiastic housekeeper who made us feel welcome and at home almost instantly. Another member of the Work the World team, then took us for our induction around the town, showing us the market, places to eat and all other necessities we may have needed. After our first taste of African cuisine we headed back to the house to meet the other students and to sample the Work the World caterer’s renowned cooking (which was fantastic!).

On our first day of placement we were taken to the hospital where we were introduced to the welcoming and friendly staff. There were many clinical areas that we had the opportunity to experience, a few of which included A&E, pediatrics, gynecology, labor ward, neonatal intensive care and surgery. I was given my placement and rotated a week in each of the 4 wards I had asked for.

I was encouraged by all the staff to travel around Ghana at the weekends and they were all very flexible with our shifts if we asked to take a long weekend to do some exploring!

The people of Ghana are some of the friendliest, giving people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Not once in my 6 weeks of being in the country did I ever feel threatened or uncomfortable. All the Ghanaians want to know you and why you are visiting.
The weekends were a fantastic opportunity to travel around and see the sights in Ghana. We would almost always travel as a big group with all the other students that we lived with in the house and sometimes other travelers we met on the way! Living in the Takoradi house gave me the opportunity to meet some fantastic people and make great friends to share my experiences with, many of whom I am still in close contact with today.

In undertaking my placement with Work the World I had gained experience and knowledge that I had never encountered in my nursing training. I had the opportunity to cannulate and administer Intravenous infusions, witness births, care for and treat children with malaria and observe emergency caesarean sections and amputations in surgery.
Organizing my elective through Work the World provided me with a fantastic nursing elective. Not only was my placement specifically designed to meet my university and personal needs, but the friendly staff, accommodation, food and general Work the World ambience was everything I’d hoped for and more from my elective placement!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

I have memories that will be precious to me forever

When I found out that we had the opportunity to do an overseas elective in our second year of training I immediately knew I wanted to go to Africa. Having heard of Work the World through a nursing student in the year above, my friends and I looked at the website and knew it was for us straight away.

We chose Ghana for our 4-week placement, as it seemed to offer such a varied experience and we’d heard so much about the warmth and friendliness of the Ghanaian people, which really attracted us to it.

We had no hesitations and booked it online through Work the World as soon as we’d checked it through. The staff at Work the World both online and over the phone, gave us constant support when we were booking and smoothed out any queries we had. This made us so excited, and it was such an easy process as we had so much help and advice. Before we knew it we were on the plane, rucksacks packed, immunizations complete and farewells over.

Being a real home person, I was really, really nervous and found it so hard to say goodbye to my family and boyfriend etc., even though it was only a month! But as soon as we arrived at Accra airport we were greeted by the Assistant Program Manager from Work the World who was great. We had to stay overnight in Accra before travelling to Takoradi in the morning. Nightmare hit as our bags were lost at the airport, but even that didn’t faze us as the Assistant Program Manager in Ghana took such good care of us and Work the World were so helpful.

Once we eventually arrived in Takoradi and were reunited with our long lost bags, we were taken to the house, which would be our home for the next month or so. I realize now how silly it was to be nervous about the details, because we were shown around all the local places to get internet, phone cards and how to get the different types of taxis and infamous ‘tro tro’ (Google this!). We also met our caterer who cooked for us every day. We became such good friends with him and he totally made my trip. We were spoiled with food, having a delicious selection of Ghanaian foods with a twist to suit our tastes. It was great meeting other students in the house who were also doing their nursing and medical electives. For our first day of placement we were shown our departments and clinics. I was in a clinic for the first week, and the main regional hospital for the next 3 weeks. I spent time in A&E, and in the Pediatrics and Labor wards. We were able to do so much, and doctors were more than happy to let us insert cannulas, catheters and everything! It is such a different style of nursing care and health care in general, which takes some getting used to at first but you get so absorbed in the culture that you become used to it quickly.

One thing I found particularly difficult is the delivery of nursing care. I found the nurses very abrupt and if ever I held a patient’s hand to comfort them or used non-verbal communication skills, the nurses laughed at us and thought it was unnecessary. All of our placement was organized by Work the World which made us feel so assured that we were going to get great experience, and we absolutely did. I am so happy I did my elective through Work the World. The unfailing support, organization and friendliness made my trip what is was, and living in the Takoradi house was so much fun, with some awesome people.

I would most certainly recommend Ghana as it has so much to offer. We travelled every weekend and saw so much of the beautiful Ghanaian experiences, even though I was only there for a month. Someone once said to me that once you experience Africa, you will have it in your heart forever. Now I know just what they were talking about. My time in Ghana taught me so much and enabled me to grow so much as a nurse, and as a person. I have memories that will be precious to me forever, and I will never forget the situations I experienced as a nurse.