BS, Nursing, 2012
International Institute Individual Fellowship
Eleanor participated in a nursing internship with a local Malawian hospital where she spent time working in the outpatient clinic, pediatric ward, maternity ward, and female ward. She was also able to visit two of the hospital's many outreach clinics located throughout the northern region, which service women and children.
My trip to Malawi was everything, and more, that I expected it was going to be. I truly got an accurate picture of healthcare in Malawi and the most prevalent illnesses there. From the beginning, I was welcomed by the hospital staff and the tutors of the nursing school, which was located very near the hospital.
Throughout my stay, I tried to get experience in as many different settings as possible. I spent time volunteering in the outpatient clinic, pediatric ward, maternity ward, and female ward. I was also able to visit two of the hospital’s many outreach clinics located throughout the northern region, which service women and children. Because many Malawian do not have the transportation or time to travel all the way to the hospital, these outreach clinics ensure that children are vaccinated and that expectant mothers receive proper prenatal care. I was also able to spend a day in surgery, where I got to watch a debridement of a severe third degree burn and a thyroid removal. It was quiet an amazing experience to witness surgery.
In addition to assisting with basic patient care and observing the doctors conduct rounds, I spent some time volunteering in the maternity ward. I am interested in becoming a midwife and wanted to observe the midwives to see if that career would be a good fit for me. On average, the hospital helps deliver about six children a day. It was there that I truly witnessed the birthing process for the first time. It was without a doubt one of the most magical things I have ever experienced. I had the chance to assist the doctor with the full assessment of the newborn, which included weighing the child, checking some basic reflexes, and inspecting the body for abnormalities. I even got to hold the child!
I also had plenty of opportunities to experience the Malawian culture and visit the beautiful attractions the country has to offer. I visited Livingstonia, a town located on the top of a plateau that takes about an hour to reach by car. It offers one of the most breathtaking views of Lake Malawi in the whole country, and its small museum is rich with the history of Malawi’s settlement.
The combination of wonderful experiences I had, ranging from the educational environment of the hospital to the friendly people I met to the spectacular scenery, was unreal. The whole thing was unlike anything I have ever been a part of, and it is for this reason that I cannot wait to return to either the country of Malawi or another African nation. Though it sounds cliché, it truly was a life changing experience.