Paramedic student thrown into the deep-end at the Himalayan foothills of Nepal
A personal account - By Nichola James: Central Queensland University
"I attended the Wild Medics trip to Nepal with my university CQU in Feb-March 2019. For me, this was my first trip overseas. I had travelled around Australia with my family previously, including remote communities in central Arnhem land, but was unsure what to expect travelling overseas for the first time, particularly with people I did not know and to such an interesting country as Nepal. Leading up to the trip I was anticipating a challenging two weeks, that would involve a rewarding time spent in the village, Salle Bhumlu, delivering treatment to some members of the community."
"What I experienced throughout the whole trip, particularly the clinic phase in Salle Bhumlu was so much more amazing and rewarding than I could have imagined. During the two days that we ran the medical clinic, we saw over 250 patients from Salle Bhumlu and the surrounding villages, including patients as old as 101 who had walked as far as four hours to reach our clinic! All the patients we saw were so unique and lovely, and you could tell they were very grateful for the health care and treatment we were offering. It was so rewarding and encouraging working in and with the village. I really enjoyed the problem solving and challenging work and at the end of each clinic day I was tired, but fulfilled!"
"During the clinic phase we utilised a wide range of assessment skills including taking basic vital signs such as BSL, Temp, SpO2, and heart rate, in addition we also utilised other skills such as auscultation, otoscopy, assessment of soft tissue injuries and possible breaks and overall patient appearance. However, in my opinion, the most important (and complicated) assessment skill we used throughout the clinic was history taking and patient communication. We worked with some incredible translators who had an amazing grasp of both Nepalese and English! However, we had to share these wonderful translators between the group and even with their fantastic knowledge of both languages, there was some phrases or questions that got lost in translation. As a result we had to think carefully about what was important to ask and how to clearly and succinctly ask it. In many cases we also had to use hand gestures and ‘faces of pain’ scales to help both ourselves and the patient understand the communication and ascertain a thorough history."
"History taking was such an important part of these clinics, as most of the patients hadn’t seen any medical personnel in many years. This meant we were often told of several different ailments for the one patient, and then had to work out what was acute, what was chronic, what their main complaint was and then the specifics and extra information of not only their main complaint but also the other complaints they presented with, to be able to provide a diagnosis and some sort of treatment, relief or referral."
"I can’t recommend a Wild Medic Project to students enough! It gives you the opportunity to see a special part of the world and experience it in a truly unique way that travelling as a tourist just wouldn’t allow. You are able to grow your clinical skills, particularly history taking and diagnosis, and it really highlights the importance of communication in patient rapport and history taking, which is so valuable for the future as a health care professional. Not only does it offer so many ways to grow personally, the most incredible part of Wild Medic Projects is that you are able to connect to amazing people in their village and give back to a community in a way that can have really positive impact the people there and provide treatment that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. If you are thinking about a going on a Wild Medics Project, stop thinking about it and sign up now!"