In an era where global health stands as a pivotal aspect of medical education, Femke ten Berge’s decision to venture into Nepal for a medical internship through Volunteer Society Nepal presents a narrative of courage, curiosity, and commitment. As a recent Bachelor’s of Medicine graduate from Rotterdam, Netherlands, Femke sought to augment her medical education by immersing herself in the complexities and diversities of healthcare in a developing country before pursuing her master’s degree. This article explores Femke’s transformative journey, shedding light on the symbiotic relationship between medical education and global health experiences.
Embarking on a Unique Journey: Femke’s Decision
Why Choose Nepal?
Nepal’s rich cultural tapestry and unique healthcare challenges make it an ideal setting for medical interns aiming to broaden their horizons. Femke was drawn to Nepal’s diverse healthcare environment, eager to witness and contribute to medicine in a context vastly different from the Netherlands.
Preparing for Nepal: Expectations vs. Reality
The preparation for her journey was as much about logistical arrangements as it was about mental readiness. Femke anticipated the challenges of working in under-resourced settings and braced herself for the inevitable culture shock, armed with enthusiasm and a deep-seated desire to learn.
A Comprehensive Overview of the Internship Program
Program Objectives and Opportunities
Volunteer Society Nepal’s Health Internship/Medical Electives program is designed to offer a triad of opportunities: aiding the underserved, acquiring firsthand medical knowledge, and experiencing Nepal’s astonishing diversity. This holistic approach ensures that interns like Femke gain invaluable insights into both the medical and cultural facets of Nepal.
A Glimpse into Healthcare in Nepal
The program promised an in-depth exploration of various medical departments, including x-ray, laboratory, dental, eye-care, emergency services, OB/GYN, and surgical operations, among others. This exposure is crucial for understanding the multifaceted nature of healthcare delivery in resource-limited settings.
Diving Deep: The Medical Fields Covered
Diverse Departments: From Radiology to OB/GYN
Femke’s internship allowed her to rotate through several departments, offering her a panoramic view of the medical field. Each rotation, from radiology to OB/GYN, was an opportunity to observe and engage with different facets of healthcare, enriching her understanding of patient care.
The Surgical Theater: Observing and Learning
Perhaps the most riveting part of her internship was the chance to observe surgeries up close. Scrubbing in and standing alongside doctors as they navigated through operations provided Femke with a rare glimpse into the surgical process, enhancing her learning experience.
The Impact of the Internship on Medical Careers
Boosting Medical School Applications
Participation in such a comprehensive program not only enriches the medical knowledge and skills of interns but also significantly enhances their medical school applications. For Femke, this experience is a testament to her dedication and passion for medicine, setting her apart from her peers.
Long-term Professional and Personal Growth
The long-term impact of Femke’s participation in the internship program cannot be overstated. It has undoubtedly shaped her professional outlook, imbuing her with a profound understanding of global health issues and a renewed sense of purpose in her medical career.
Femke’s Arrival and Cultural Immersion
Initial Impressions of Kathmandu
Upon her arrival in Kathmandu, Femke was immediately struck by the city’s vibrant energy and the warmth of its people. The first few days were spent acclimatizing, exploring the city, and participating in Nepali language and cultural classes, laying the groundwork for her integration into Nepalese society.
Language and Cultural Classes
The cultural orientation sessions were instrumental in easing Femke into her new environment. Gaining a basic understanding of the Nepali language and familiarizing herself with local customs and traditions were crucial steps in preparing for her role as a medical intern.
Hands-on Experience at CBIA School
Conducting Health Checkups for Over 300 Children
One of Femke’s first assignments was conducting health checkups at CBIA School, where she examined over 300 children. This initiative was critical in identifying and managing various health issues, showcasing Femke’s dedication to improving the well-being of the students.
Challenges and Rewards
While the task was daunting, the rewards were immeasurable. The opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of these children was a source of immense satisfaction for Femke, reinforcing her commitment to medicine.
Beyond the Classroom: Traveling Across Nepal
Exploring the Diverse Landscapes of Nepal
After completing her stint at the school, Femke embarked on a journey across Nepal, exploring its diverse landscapes and applying her medical knowledge in various settings. This phase of her internship allowed her to witness the beauty of Nepal firsthand and understand the healthcare needs of different communities.
Applying Medical Knowledge in Varied Settings
Traveling across Nepal offered Femke unique perspectives on healthcare delivery in rural and urban settings alike.