Influenza Vaccinaton – should you get it?

If you are a health and social care student who has contact with vulnerable patients/clients then yes you should get your annual influenza vaccine.
If you are eligible because you have a long-term condition, are pregnant or registered carer of a person you look after (not employed carer) your GP surgery or local vaccinating pharmacy will provide this for you free of charge.

Hospital and Community Trusts are hosting clinics provided by local occupational health service providers and certainly student nurses & ODPs can access this service for free. Trusts also have teams of ‘roving’ staff who will vaccinate out of hours.
I am sure similar will be available for social care sector, ambulance services and social work students.

Remember it is important to get vaccinated early in the season, before a patient/client has the chance to share with you or you with them. Equally you could take it home to your nearest and dearest. Flu is not a pleasant illness to have and may have serious consequences in the longer term.

More information can be found in:
The National Influenza Immunisation Programme 2017/18
Information for Health Care Practitioners about the use of the inactivated influenza vaccine.
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/635921/Inactivated_influenza_vaccine_information_for_healthcare_practitioners.pdf

Check your eligibility and make your appointment early before you are too late!
Some health and social care university employees may be eligible depending on their interaction with health care environments, notification about this expected shortly.

If you want to protect yourself then a number of pharmacy chains and supermarket pharmacies will be able to administer a flu vaccine for a small fee (TESCO £9 plus loyalty card points! – other supermarkets are available)

I’ve had mine, have you had yours?

Sharon

My last week in Ghana

I am finally in my last week I Ghana, time seems to have flown by now that I am days away from going home.
My time on the children’s ward was a good experience, I managed to see a lot and learn how nursing care is carried out.
We are able to do spoke placements while we are here, and one that is popular with other students is the mother and baby HIV clinic which is on a Wednesday, I have been to this clinic twice now and plan to go back tomorrow as I have really enjoyed my experience there. All patients attending the clinic has to have their height and weight checked and also blood pressure, as soon as I arrived there on my first day they put me in a room and I was to do the blood pressures, this is always done manually and I can only describe it as a conveyor belt of patients coming to have their blood pressure checked and written down on a scrap peice of cardboard. This has helped me a great deal with my manual blood pressure skills and I feel a lot more confident now. The mother’s and babies sit in the waiting area and a nurse speaks to them about HIV and the medication required, nutrition and family planning. They were very kind and spoke in English so I could understand, the relationship between the nurse and the mother’s was incredible, they had a bond and it was kept quite light hearted even though it is a serious subject. They then go to collect their medication and some babies have the blood spot test done to see if they have HIV from their mothers. They also carry out counselling sessions to all patients who come to the clinic, they are very empowering nurses which was a joy to see and experience. I am looking forward to going back this week and learning more.

I did get the opportunity to visit the mourge at the hospital, I have not been to visit one before so I had not idea what to expect, four of us went after our shift and we all took face masks, the staff at the mourge were very accommodating, it is as if they enjoy showing people around their place of work. I won’t go into too much detail as I am aware it isn’t a nice subject but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw, the smell was indescribable and there were bodies piled up everywhere, the staff were injecting the bodies to preserve them and Vaseline is put on the faces. We looked into the cold room which had a couple of hundred bodies in all piled 4 or 5 high, I did take some photos which I still can’t look at now and that night I had to sleep with the light on, it is something that will always stick in my mind. One of the girls was unable to come with us but wanted to visit, even though I wasn’t dealing with what I had seen too well i did not want her to go on her own, So I offered to go back the next week. The staff thought I was crazy for coming back, but we’re happy for us to look around. This time the mourge was a lot more organised, earlier in the week there had been a peer review at the hospital which meant that inspectors came round and the hospital was graded, the staff described this to me as a competition between hospitals, I saw it more like when a hospital has a visit from CQC. This time in the mourge I felt much more in control of my feelings and when invited to go all the way inside the cold room I did, stood there with hundreds of bodies around me was an experience I will never have again but it did help me a great deal, I feel that revisiting it has made me at peace with what I saw and I can now talk about it and I am proud of myself for going back to help a fellow student nurse.

Onto happier things, I started my 2 weeks in NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit) last week, as soon as I stepped onto the unit and saw the babies I knew I had made the right choice to spend some time there, I have a great sense of ease and confidence around babies and this was reconfirmed to myself while working with the midwives, nurses and doctors. I really enjoyed my Neonatal placement at the start of my 2nd year at home and knew that at the back of my mind it is an area I would love to work in once I am a qualified nurse. Working in NICU here in Ghana this has made me realise it is where my heart lies, to help a baby to have the best possible start in life when they might have had such a tough beginning coming into the world is something I want to achieve and succeed in with my nursing career. The unit is run my midwives and doctors, there are sometimes nurses around too, the house officer and PA’s do the ward round in the morning then the Doctor comes onto the ward and they present each baby to her, this was quite an infuriating part of what I saw on the unit, the lack of confidence from the staff presenting each babies case to the Doctor was quite sad to see, she would ask questions about why the baby is cold and why is the baby not under the phototherepy lights, they would never have an answer, I would never judge how they work but it is a part that I struggled with because as a 3rd year student nurse these are things I picked up on and knew the answers to but it was never my place to speak up. The doctor teaches well and I have learnt a lot from her, any questions asked I would answer and if I wanted to know anything she would be happy to take the time to explain things to me. This is something that you don’t get with the midwives and nurses, as mentioned before they don’t teach but they will answer questions if you ask, I have found that it is about how you phrase the question for them to feel comfortable about answering it, this was to make sure they did not think I was questioning why there where doing things as if it was incorrect, I only asked questions to understand why and how they did procedures, I didn’t ever want them to think I was trying to change how they do things. It is important to remember that I am a guest in their country and place of work, I have always stayed true to who I am and what I have been trained and believe in, but I would never want them to think I was better than them. An example of this was when I was asked to feed a baby, he was abandoned by his mother at birth and the unit are looking after him until social welfare care find him a home, he is formula fed and this is done with a cup and spoon, I spoke to a midwife about why they do this and not bottle feed as the baby is old enough to feed from a bottle, she explained to me that if they were to bottle feed babies they would get the teat confused with the mother’s nipple when breastfeeding, we had a conversation about how at home we feed babies and she was interested to hear about it. In Ghana breast feeding exclusively is a must for the first 6 months of the babies life, there would have to be a very good reason for a mother to not breast feed and they would be looked down on in the local community by friends and family. It is also to do with the cost of buying formula due to many families not having the money to buy it.

As I come to the end of my time in Ghana I am feeling a little bit anxious about coming home, this has been my home for the past month and I have fitted quite well into the laid back and slow paced life here, I have missed so many people while I have been away but it has been worth the experience. It has been a pleasure to write my blogs, I am sure once I am at home I will write at least one more in reflection of my time here. I have more than exceeded my expectations of what I had expected from this elective placement and I would recommend it to anyone who was thinking about it, it certainly changes the way you think about not just nursing but also about life and how we take many things at home for granted, we are very lucky, but the great thing to see is that the people in Ghana are very humble and make the most of what they have got. They are a very laid back and a happy country who make people feel welcome and part of their community.

I would like to thank Work The World for making this placement possible, to my friends and family for their support, to everyone who helped me raise money and donated and last but not least the staff at Staffordshire University for their continuing support and feedback while I have been away.

“The Patient’s Tale”. The power of stories in healthcare practice.

Not so long ago, if you went to the doctor’s you were expected to keep quiet while you were examined. The doctor was interested in your observable symptoms, not in what you thought about them.

 in modern healthcare practice, the patient’s own perspective is taken more seriously. In particular, patients with life limiting or long term conditions are encouraged to articulate their experience of living with the condition, to “Tell their story”. There are at least three good reasons for this change of emphasis.

First, and most important, “Telling the Story” can make a big difference to the patient. Patients report that if they can find words for their pain, or the way their condition makes them feel, then they sometimes feel much better. Illness can be isolating, and in “Telling the story” we can reach out. In addition, there is some evidence that, if somebody with a long term condition like diabetes or C0PD is given a chance to talk about how the disease affects their life, they are more likely to look after themselves properly. 

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 Secondly, for clinicians the patient story can be a really important diagnostic tool. For example, if somebody says they have a bad back, the cause could be cancer; or depression; or weightlifting; or maybe a hundred other things. The doctor is more likely to reach the correct diagnosis if they let the patient tell their story.

Finally, patient stories have a really important part to play in informing the public and changing social attitudes. People are frightened of illness, and express that fear in different ways. I am old enough to remember when HIV/AIDs arrived in the 1980s and was referred to in the newspapers as the “Gay Plague”: public attitudes were transformed when courageous individuals came forward to tell their stories of living with HIV. At the moment, we are witnessing the same process happening around dementia, as people with dementia and their carers share their experiences.

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In the School of Health and Social Care, we are collaborating with a colleague from the Journalism department to research how journalists represent “The Patient’s Tale” for a public audience, and the role they have in changing attitudes. Why do people often mistrust journalists, and why do they fear they will be misrepresented? How do they decide how to edit and re-tell the story to make it easier for their audience to understand?  How do they make sure the story is still true to the patient’s experience? We hope as we explore these questions, we’ll gain some insights into how journalists can work with patients to “Tell the Tale”.

 Dr Peter Kevern

Associate Professor in Values in Care

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Ghana elective – week 2

I am writing this on the long journey back from Accra. I am already half way through my 4 week elective placement in Ghana, time is going by very quickly.
For my blog today I was wanting to focus more on life in Ghana and how I have felt while calling it my home.
The house that the students live in is amazing, very clean and has everything you need. I have a room to myself as there are so few of us in the house at the moment, I am in a bunk bed with a mosquito net over and I have my own bathroom with plenty of wardrobe space and a lockable box. There is no air conditioning in the house, I have a ceiling fan in my room which is sufficient, the nights can get warm when you’re trying to sleep but with placement I seem to sleep fine. There is no hot water but I actually appreciate a cold shower with it being so hot. We have to hand wash our clothes outside, but there is a lady that lives next door who will hand wash our clothes costing approx 20p an item, which I have taken full advantage of as I’m pretty sure I would do a terrible job myself.
We have 2 cooks who prepare our breakfast and evening meals from Monday to Friday, We normally have leftovers for our lunch or use some of the food in our kitchen to make our own meals, they are also very good at keeping the snacks cupboard filled well. Every Thursday there is a BBQ at the house, everyone sits together outside with the music on with the house staff and even the lady who washes our clothes has us up dancing to many well known European songs such as the Macarena and Saturday night. The house does have Wi-Fi, which, as we are all very reliant on is good to have, it can be very temperamental but we all appreciate having it. The hospital is about 10 minutes away from the house and we share a taxi each day which works out about £2 each way, most of the drivers know where we live and work so it is very easy to get about. The taxis aren’t as we know them back home, these are mainly very old cars and because the roads have many large speed bumps and pot holes the cars are damaged quite badly.
We are very lucky and have a seamstress who comes to the house once a week, she comes each Tuesday evening after dinner and we buy the fabric we want and she takes measurements and makes whatever you require, fabric shopping was so much fun, there are so many amazing patterns and styles of fabric, I could have bought them all, but I didn’t, I have an order for a summer dress and trousers for myself and also a few bags and purses as presents for when I am home. Within a week she has all of your items done and the price is reasonable and the quality of her work is brilliant. We also learn the local language once a week, I am terrible at this but I try my best as it is very much appreciated by the people of Ghana if you can speak some ‘Fante’, this week we even learnt a song.
The first weekend I was in Ghana, myself and 3 of the girls from the house went to a Lake, We booked a lodge and made the epic 6 hour journey there, the lodge was basic but we were all very excited about there being prawn curry on the menu, as we do eat a lot of chicken and goat at the house so the prawns were a nice change. The next morning we set off on a bit of a hike to a horse ranch by the lake, plenty of stunning views as we walked, but typically I had only brought flip flops to wear so I was filthy by the end of the day. We reached the ranch and were met by a French lady who owns and run the ranch which is also a lodge. They have 9 horses and you can ride for as short or long as you want. We chose to ride for 1 hour, I was a bit, actually very apprehensive about getting on a horse as it has been well over 10 years since I’d been horse riding, my horse Eclipse didn’t seem to like me much but once we set off I started to feel more comfortable, the views around the lake were stunning and I felt like Eclipse was starting to warm to, right up until the end when he got spooked and tried to buck me off, but I am here to tell the tale and now it’s in the past I really enjoyed it.

As I mentioned I am currently travelling back to the Work the World house from Accra, we left the house on Friday and made the 5 hour journey to Accra, this time just 3 of us, one of the girls was flying home on the Saturday night and we didn’t want her to travel on her own so we went with her to Accra with her and stayed over for 2 nights. The hotel was nice and I managed to have my 1st hot shower in 2 weeks, we had Wi-Fi and air conditioning in our rooms and even filter coffee with our breakfast, which made us all very happy. Yesterday the 3 of us ventured to James Town in Accra, we had a tour guide who took us to meet some of the children at the local school, the children are very friendly and want to hug you and hold your hand, they always want to have photos with you too. We spoke to some of the children that were having lessons there then we moved to the fishing village, this is the poorest part of Accra and I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the level of hard work and poverty that I saw, also a lot of fish. We all felt very privileged to go and see this community of fishermen, their wives and families, it really did leave a lasting impression on me. We then heading to the mall in Accra and the contrast of the way people live was shocking, from extreme poverty to how the rich live and shop. That night we said our goodbyes to one of the girls who flew home, even though I’ve only known her for 2 weeks, I am going to miss her. So as I write this travelling back there are 2 of us, with 2 other girls travelling somewhere else this weekend. I am now the only student nurse as all the other girls all training to be doctors, but it is nice to exchange views, skills and experiences between each other.
My next blog I will talk more about my experiences at the hospital as I did manage to visit the morgue, twice, and also be part of the mother and baby HIV clinic. Tomorrow I start my 2 weeks in NICU which I am looking forward too as I thoroughly enjoyed my Neonate placement in my 2nd year and it is an area I may pursue once I am qualified. Until next time I’ll say bye, once again thank you for reading my blog and I hope you are enjoying it. If you are on Twitter you can follow university account for my more regular updates with photos @A011340fKatie

 

Read about student nurse Katie’s 1st week in Ghana on her elective placement @staffsuni

Hello from Ghana. I have now been in Takoradi, Ghana for 10 days and I can’t quite believe how fast the time has gone and how much I have seen and experienced.
I arrived in Accra late Saturday night and was met by a Work the World representative Alhaassan, we took a short taxi ride to a local hotel to stay in before our long journey to the house in Takoradi the next day. The hotel was basic and adequate, I was exhausted from the travelling and managed to get a good night’s sleep even though everything was so unfamiliar to me.
The next morning myself Alhaassan set off to Takoradi, being in and amongst the local people while getting on the bus made me feel like this was going to defiantly be an adventure. After 5 hours on the bus I arrived at the Work the World house, the house can sleep up to 32 students so as you can imagine is a huge house. I initially met two of the girls who are from the Netherlands, with my tour of the house complete I was ready to relax. My room sleeps 4 people in 2 sets of bunk beds with an ensuite bathroom, I have this room to myself for the 4 weeks as there are so few of us here. All the beds have mosquito nets over them and a ceiling fan. The other three girls returned from their weekend away at the beach and I soon got to know them. Two British girls and a girl from Canada. It is just myself and one other who are student nurses, the others are student doctors.
My 1st day was an orientation of the hospital in the morning to meet the staff I would be working with while I am in Ghana. The hospital is much bigger than I had expected and I was introduced to many members the nursing team  on various wards including the children’s ward and Neonatal intensive care unit, My first impression was that everyone was very friendly towards me. I had a briefing and a tour of the local area later that day, there are some beautiful spots in Takoradi and also some extreme poverty. In my briefing I was told about the local culture and how to great people, this is something I have found very important, ensuring that you great everyone you meet with a good morning. I was also told to keep an open mind about that I will see on the wards and that the ‘caring’ side of nursing is very different to the culture of home. You should never wave with your left hand as it is considered as a person’s dirty hand.
My 1st day on the children’s ward was quite daunting, as with any 1st day on a new placement there is the anxiety of being new and not knowing anyone, this was on another level. The nursing staff don’t teach in Ghana, it will be the doctors that I will learn from, but I also feel that by observing and asking questions the nurses have grown to like me and see me as a part of their team. Out of respect I am to address the female staff as Aunty or Sister and they call foreign people ‘Oburoni’, this isn’t meant as an insult and I have quickly learnt to respond to this when they call me to assist. The ward had capacity for approximately 40 children with two isolation rooms, there are normally two sister’s and two nurses on shift at one time, I did speak to a nurse who told that that when you are newly qualified you can be responsible for up to 30 patients. The nursing staff do not have patients assigned to them, I’m still trying to understand who takes responsibly for what, as there doesn’t seem to be much structure or delegation. I will say that team work is very strong and they do work together well. Many of the cases I have seen have been malaria, with a few cases of sickle cell and meningitis. The healthcare system is very different and the lack of money is very obvious by the lack of equipment in the hospital. When I child is admitted onto the ward they are then prescided the medication needed and the parent has to take the patient folder to the pharmacy to collect the medication to bring back to the nurses who then administer it, This can be at the nurses station, the patient bedside or just wherever the patient is.

The hardest part so far is when a child has blood taken or they are canulated, this is done by the nurses mainly and is an example of how we at home do things very differently, the needle size depends on what is available and the cuff of the gloves is used as a torneque, the parent is asked to hold the child down and squeeze the arm or leg to assist the nurse, a child can be screaming and kicking and this is deemed normal, they will have many attempts with the same needle and I have seen them try up to 15 times on one child. This is when I realised during my training at Staffordshire University and while on placement at home I have learnt best practice and distraction techniques, it makes me appreciate the resources and specialist staff we have to ensure a child is at ease as they can be, it is also something I have stayed true to. Over here I am still the person who comforts a child and wipes their tears, reassuring them and trying to care as much as I can, I believe that the 6 C’s are running through my veins are are truly a part of who I am. This does not mean how the staff her do things are bad practice, this is how in their culture they have and will continue to do things their way, all I can do is be myself and let them see how I carry myself as a student nurse and represent Staffordshire university, we recognise bad practice but who is to say that over here things are being done incorrectly?
The level of treatment and care that is given all depends on how much money a patient and their family has, for example a CT scan can cost up to £100 and in Ghana that is a lot of money, if a family cannot afford it they will not get the treatment.
All medical notes are written in English and one thing that is very similar to how we write at home is the terminology, if someone was to read the nursing or doctors notes here you could be mistaken to reading notes from home, this does make me wonder is the level of treatment and care down to lack of money and resources?
So far my experiences have made me greatly appreciate what I have learnt so far in my nurse training and it has also made me realise that I have learnt a great deal already, without thinking about it I can recognise a deteriorating child, I always have best practice in the back of my mind and I am constantly aware of what is going on around me including correct documentation.
I am enjoying this experience and I am looking forward to what comes next, with a trip to the mourge planned and time in the mother and baby HIV clinic I am sure there is a lot more to learn.
On a final note I am grateful for this opportunity and how the nurses and doctors have allowed me to interrogate into their team on the ward and answering my questions honeslty and professionally.
Until next time I thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Inner City Highs and Lows

What does it take to make me feel nervous?  Well, this week I started week 1 (of 4) of my nursing elective at the beginning of Year 3 of my nursing degree. I haven’t opted for an easy one – an inner city Accident and Emergency department.  As I walked from the train station towards the hospital, I was struck by the neighbourhood and the towering building in front of me getting ever closer. What awaited me at the front entrance was an assortment of police vehicles, armed police officers and ambulances rushing round to the main Emergencies entrance. I thought “oh dear, what have I done?”

However, once inside the safety of the building, the nerves began to ease.  I spent my first shift (all 13.5 hours of it) in Resus – within a few hours I was helping treat an elderly patient knocked down by a car who had sustained 3 fractures to his leg.  He was on his way to work at the time!  Then came a female patient in acute respiratory distress with chest pain. The red telephone had alerted the department to her arrival (locally known as ‘Standby’). The receiving team quickly assembled, preparing everything in a calm and organised way. Later a male patient was whisked off for a CT scan – no time was wasted as we wheeled his trolley at breakneck speed along countless corridors in this vast hospital.

The department was under siege with patients needing attention by mid afternoon but the staff, whilst working under enormous pressure, never lost sight of what they were doing or the care and treatment required for each admission.  Their calmness helped my nerves, and I didn’t feel too much like a fish out of water as a nursing student.

I breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the shift, but as I sat on the train going home, I took a moment to reflect on all the good that had been done in very challenging circumstances. Despite tension and stress, there were smiles, lighthearted banter and little acts of kindness throughout the day.

Elective placement in Sri Lanka

Hi! I’m Abbie and this is my first blog post! (This was written two weeks ago but due to technical difficulties it is only now being uploaded!)

I am an Adult Nursing Student about to start my 3rd year in September, which means going straight out onto our elective placement. I will be blogging throughout the placement when i get the opportunity.

As myself and 3 other students decided to travel abroad for this placement and we’re not entirely sure what to expect when we get there, I’ll be sharing what we all find and how it differs from placements here in the UK.

In just 3 days we will be making the long journey to Sri Lanka for our elective placement. There are 4 of us going from Stafford Campus and a 5th joining us the week after from the Shrewsbury Campus.

Truthfully, my reason for travelling abroad for this placement was because one of the girls going had decided way back in 1st year that she wanted to go abroad, and when it came to actually making the decision, we all decided we wanted to go to!

The costs seemed feasible, and we knew it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. It will be interesting to see how the healthcare system differs to here in the UK.

Not only that, we’ll be able to do a bit of travelling around Sri Lanka whilst we are there!

We chose the company Work the World as our tutors and other students had said that they had used this company before and they were reliable.

There were lots of places to choose from, from Cambodia, to Peru, to Tanzania. Prices ranged from £1340-£1890 plus a £300 fee when you first apply. On top of this we had to buy flights and save up some spending money, so cost is definitely something to consider if you’re thinking of going abroad for your elective.

We all set up a gofundme page and were able to raise some money through that, and I know the other girls were working a crazy amount of hours to afford it all, but we knew it would be worth it in the end.

On your elective placement, even as an adult nursing student, you can choose to visit any area, even midwifery or mental health areas, and so I’ve requested to spend two weeks on a General Surgery ward, and two weeks on Obstetrics and Gynecology to see some babies be born!

I’ll post some updates whilst we are there so keep a look out for future blog posts to see how we are all getting on!

Elective placement

Firstly I would like to introduce myself, my name is Katie and I am entering my 3rd and final year of my children’s nursing degree. I have decided to write this blog as I believe that it would be a shame for fellow or prospective students to not join me in my experience as I embark on my nursing elective on Takadori, Ghana.
I would like to apologise in advance if my spelling and grammar isn’t of the highest standard, this is something I have always struggled with and over the past 2 years at Staffordshire University I have strived to improve, with the help of the University staff and my peers. My academic capabilities might be average but my passion for nursing and specifically Children’s nursing is something I feel very strongly about. I hope that if anyone reading this that is considering a career in nursing and who thinks that it is beyond their capabilities will take something away from reading my blog and realise that dreams are achievable as hard work, dedication and passion go along way down the nursing path.
A little bit about myself, before I made the decision to embark on the student nurse journey I was an Air Hostess for 11 years, this to me was a career I had always wanted since I first traveling on an aeroplane and I believe that my experience in this career set me up for my career in nursing. I gained valuable life and people skills while working with and meeting many different people from all over the world. As soon as I entered my 30’s I realised that my burning desire to make a difference to people’s lives wasn’t being fulfilled, specifically with children. After some serious consideration I made the decision to enter the world of healthcare, I gave up my life in Manchester and moved home with my dad and enrolled at college, which led me to securing a place on the children’s nursing course at Staffordshire University, Shrewsbury campus.
Not long after starting the course there were people talking about the 4 weeks elective placement that we had at the start of our 3rd year, at the time this seemed like such a long time away but we were always reassured that time would fly and here I am at the start of my 3rd year ready to travel to Ghana for my 4 week elective placwment.
Africa has always had a place in my heart from the years I spent there while I was flying, such a different way of life from what we know. So for me it wasn’t hard to decide where I wanted to go for my elective. After speaking to a student nurse in the cohort before mine about her experience in Ghana I was then 100% sure I wanted to spend my 4 weeks there to work in a hospital and experiences life with the local people and hospital staff.
Work the world is the company I contacted to enquire about my elective placement and they gave me information on many different placements all over the world, Ghana as it turns out is one of the best placements for paediatrics which made me happy. Before I knew it I had payment my deposit and my place was booked, this was 13 months before I was due to depart.
My next challenge was to ensure I had plans in place to raise the money that I needed to be able to go. After lots of research and talking to other students who had already been abroad for their elective I started my fund raising. I needed to raise over £2,500 to cover all of my costs, this seemed daughting at the time but I made sure that I was organised and dedicated to the task, this was hard at times due to commitments and ensuring that I put 100% into my studies and placements.
I did managed to raise the amount I needed, I achieved this from a bake sale, pub quiz, car boots sales, selling half of the contents of my dad’s house (well a few bit of unwanted furniture), putting in extra hours at work and setting up a JustGiving page which my brother helped me raise a considerable amount with his running challenges he set over a 2 week period and also donations from a couple of local businesses.
I also managed to get some essential supplies donated to me, including medical supplies, gloves, antibacterial gel, scrubs and thousands of pens, thank goodness for the 46kgs luggage allowance I had.
I have had all of my immunisations and I have finally packed with 1 day to spare, I have said my goodbyes and I finally feel like I am ready to embark on this opportunity of a lifetime.
I will be staying in the work the world house with other students from across the world and my placement is in the local hospital, I have chosen to do 2 weeks on the paediatric ward and 2 weeks in NICU.
I am nervous mainly about how I will be able to channel my emotions especially while being so far from home and my amazing support network, but I am also very excited for the next 4 weeks, I genuinely believe that this experience is going to change things for me and I also hope that I can walk away from it with my head held high knowing that I might have made a difference or installed a change for the better to the local people in Ghana.
Until next time, I thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I hope you join me as I update you along the way during my time in Ghana.

Operating Department Practice: 100% NSS – again!

The results are out! Now is the time to find out what our students think about their learning experience with us. Big drum roll…………. The National Student Survey (NSS) results say Operating Department Practice (ODP) is 100% overall satisfaction, for the third year running!

The National Student Survey (NSS) is aimed at final year undergraduate students, and gives them an opportunity to feedback their experiences about their course. The NSS informs us about the learning experiences of our students, and helps effect change. The results are publicly available to prospective students, enabling them to make informed decisions about the university and the courses they are applying for. The NSS gives students a powerful voice to inform and shape the future of their course and university.
As a team in ODP, we spend a lot of time developing our curriculum, striving to deliver creative and innovative teaching to stimulate and empower students as they progress on their journey to become registered healthcare professionals. We facilitate student engagement, developing underpinning theory and knowledge that student ODPs will transfer into clinical skills in the clinical placements. We use a variety of resources, from high fidelity simulation manikins, to case studies and role play. We incorporate digital technology, enhancing the learning experience, but reinforcing the human element of the ODP profession – that the patient is at the centre of all that we do. We also work closely with our practice partners to ensure our students have a valuable placement experience.

But the truth of it is, that we can’t do this alone. We work in partnership with our students, acknowledging that they are adult learners who will one day have ‘our life in their hands’. Communication plays a vital part, ensuring students are kept informed of changes and developments. We listen to our students, and respond to their feedback. We are connected, sharing the journey, resulting in 100% employment on completion of the course. We are incredibly proud of our students’ achievements, #proudtobestaffs and proud to be #ODP.

Angela Woolliscroft, Course Leader: FdSc Perioperative Care and Lecturer: Operating Department Practice and Health and Social Care, angela.woolliscroft@staffs.ac.uk