Midwifery student Chloe travelled to Iloilo in The Philippines on a two-week midwifery placement to see the differences between healthcare in the UK and the developing world.
At the end of my second year, I had the opportunity to complete an elective placement in a destination of my choice. I chose to travel to Iloilo in the Philippines for two weeks, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
I chose to travel to the Philippines because I wanted to experience something completely different from the service and care we provide here in the UK. I wanted to make the trip something I would remember for the rest of my life and use it to enhance my midwifery practice. After doing my research, it was clear that the Philippines was the ideal destination.
When I first arrived at the hospital I was overwhelmed by the appearance and the differences compared to hospitals back at home. Our first visit to the hospital had us walking past patients sharing beds, connected to drips and taking up most of the corridors. At this point, I knew straight away that I was about to be involved in a whole new world of patient care.
I assisted with simple tasks such as taking a woman’s blood pressure and auscultating the fetal heartbeat. I also had the chance to interact with patients and certainly a highlight for me was assisting with cup-feeding a neonate.
One of the most memorable cases I was involved in was watching a woman start to have a post-partum haemorrhage seconds after delivery. The doctor single-handedly managed the emergency with no signs of fear or concern - she just got on with it and the patient was not showing any pain, but instead looked calm and collected. This was noticeably different from how the situation would have been handled in England where during an emergency a whole multidisciplinary team would be at hand in order to manage the situation.
I certainly felt that the more involved I got by simply asking questions or offering to help, the staff were more engaged with me and I could get more out of my time on placement. Everyone was so friendly and happy. It was a fantastic experience and made my time there so enjoyable.
It wasn’t all work and no fun though! Every Thursday we had a karaoke and BBQ night which was very fun and a really good laugh. Also at the weekend, my housemates and I organised a trip away to Cebu, only a short flight away. This gave us a chance to relax on the most incredible beaches of Moalboal and even swim with whale sharks and turtles.
I would encourage anyone who is thinking about an overseas placement to sign up straight away. You get out what you put into the experience and it definitely gives you the opportunity to develop strong relationships with the hospital staff.
The same goes for the social side of the trip. If you are keen to approach people and engage with your housemates you will come away with friends for life. There isn’t a thing I would change about my time in the Philippines.
The whole trip was one of the best things I have ever done!
By Chloe Doust
Chloe studies on ARU's Midwifery BSc (Hons) degree course. If you're interested in studying any of our courses, come along to an Open Day.