“Seeing their smiling faces every day despite what they were going through is something I will never forget.”

My name is Chloe Ferris and I have recently graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a Bachelors in Child Health Nursing. During my final year of university, I had the opportunity to visit Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Africa, for five weeks as one of my final nursing placements.

Chloe in front of the hospital in Tanzania

My role on placement

My role on placement involved working with five different areas within the paediatric unit, including the burn unit, oncology and the neonatal unit. This gave me the chance to meet so many amazing doctors and nurses who each helped me learn more about so many different conditions the children had. There was so much to learn and do at the hospital and the nurses were more than happy for me to get involved. The majority of the wards had incredibly limited resources, but the doctors and nurses were impressively resourceful and came up with ingenious solutions in situations when equipment wasn’t available.

What I learned

This placement in particular showed me the difference in healthcare in the UK and the developing world in the way patients are treated and way the hospitals operate. The placement also taught me how to communicate with patients and their families, which was especially important as many of them did not speak English. I learned lots about malnutrition and malaria as I got to attend weekly lectures at the hospital. Thankfully, these were all conducted in English.

My biggest highlight

The biggest highlight from my time in Tanzania has to be seeing the children progressing, especially in the burn unit where I saw some of the worst cases I have ever seen. Seeing their smiling faces every day despite what they were going through is something I will never forget. Seeing how grateful the families were for the care we provided was also a highlight of mine, as this was extremely rewarding and made me appreciate my role as a nurse.

Image of Chloe with a patientEdinburgh Napier support

My time at Edinburgh Napier University definitely helped to prepare me for this placement, particularly with handling the challenges I would face abroad, especially in emergency situations. I was also able to contact my lecturers without problem if I had any questions whilst preparing for my time abroad.

A once in a lifetime opportunity

I would definitely recommend doing a placement, especially a placement in a developing country as for me it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. It was also a chance for me to meet other students from around the rest of the UK and Europe, all with different experiences and interests in healthcare, with many of these people turning into friends for life. It was amazing and I left the experience with no regrets.

Image of Chloe and her colleague in TanzaniaAfter graduation

I currently work in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh and I am still learning lots here. This placement has made me want to experience more nursing around the world. I hope that once I get more experience in my current role, it will open up more opportunities for me to go work abroad.  

Chloe completed her final year placement with Work the World.  

For more details visit: www.worktheworld.co.uk