Two students are off to ‘work the world’
Two radiography students have won an amazing opportunity to head overseas to experience, first-hand, how radiography is practiced in the developing world.
Bethany White and Emma Johnson will be travelling with Work the World, an organisation that tailors healthcare elective placements in developing countries across the globe.
Healthcare systems in these countries are short-staffed and under-resourced, meaning that students can quickly get involved with treatment and patient care.
Placements last for up to four weeks and are available in the Philippines, Nepal, Tanzania, Ghana, Sri Lanka and Peru.
Bethany White is in her final year on the diagnostic radiography course at Canterbury Christ Church University and is hoping to visit Work the World’s base in Tanzania. She said: “I am interested in learning how the prevalence of different diseases that are not as commonly seen in the UK, such as HIV/AIDS, has affected their health system and imaging departments.”
She said that she was “ecstatic” to have won a Work the World placement, having been inspired to enter the competition after reading past winners’ experiences.
“To have found out I will now be following in their footsteps feels completely surreal!” she said. “I'm looking forward to simply being able to experience the healthcare system in a different country and comparing the differences with the UK.
“I hope to interact with local people, to learn about their social norms, and the provision of healthcare and service they receive – especially when visiting the imaging departments.”
She is conscious that possible language barriers might be a challenge, but Work the World provides language lessons in their private student houses to help overcome this. The lessons teach useful everyday language, but are also tailored to healthcare students to include clinical terminology relevant to their placements.
She feels that the opportunity that Work the World is offering her will be “a catalyst” that changes her perspective on healthcare and another country’s principles and values.
“I firmly believe it is these limited, first-hand experiences that could enhance the way I, and others, think and act as health and social care professionals,” she said.
Bethany also hopes the placement will boost her confidence, independence and communication skills, as well as her practical skills. “I am excited to learn and am more than willing to participate in new approaches and techniques,” she said.
“Furthermore, I hope to physically help the day-to-day running of the department in any way that I can to relieve short-term stress or time constraints that staff may encounter.”
More than anything, she believes that this opportunity can change her mind-set and way of working, influencing how she treats future patients for the better.
Emma, a second-year therapeutic radiography student at the University of the West of England, entered the competition because her dream is “to help as many people as possible with appropriate treatment regardless of status or location”.
She is hoping to start along this course during her month abroad with Work the World. She expects to see equipment that is no longer commonly used in the UK, so is interested to see exactly which technological disparities exist in the developing world.
She added that with a growing proportion of the population of the UK originating abroad, “it will be invaluable to experience another culture. I am hoping that, by observing the differences, I will become more adaptable and be able to tailor my care more effectively to individuals”.
Emma says she was “delighted and excited” to win this opportunity. “It still doesn't feel real and it’s so completely unlike anything that I have done before,” she said.
“But I am sure that this is an experience that will stay with me throughout the rest of my career. I believe sharing learning with other countries is invaluable, and I hope that I will be able to bring back some of the knowledge that I gain whilst I am there.”