My experience in Vietnam was nothing like I expected, but everything that I needed.
I had no idea where to choose when deciding where to go for my elective, I knew I wanted to do an elective but had no idea where to go. In the end, I chose South-east Asia and either wanted to go to Cambodia or Vietnam. I chose Vietnam because it’s somewhere I never imagined I’d go in a million years.
I had only seen pictures of Vietnam and had imagined that the whole country would look like the tourist pictures of green mountains and tourist locations. In actual fact, when I arrived, the cities were dusty and overcrowded, with hundreds of mopeds everywhere I looked. I felt completely overwhelmed to begin with, as this is a far cry from what I am used to in the UK.
Beginning placement in Vietnam was really scary, luckily there were other students who had already been in the hospital the week before to lend some guidance and the staff in the house had gone through what would happen each day.
Midwifery in Vietnam is completely different to the UK in so many ways. It was helpful to experience the way women are treated, the tools and equipment midwives have access to and the completely different role of the midwife in Vietnam.
None of this would have been possible for me without funding from the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust. Thanks to the amazing award I received, I got to experience all aspects of midwifery care from antenatal care to labour and delivery to the immediate postpartum care. The delivery room was by far the place I spent most of my time, and at any one time there could be 20 people in the room for a delivery. I had many experiences which I will take with me in my midwifery career.
I never thought I’d have such an eye-opening experience in Vietnam but this experience has taught me so much about midwifery and the huge differences between midwifery in other countries. I completely recommend applying for an Iolanthe grant to enable you to complete an elective as a way to completely throw yourself out of your comfort zone and experience something completely different.