Tanzania 2015 - Toni-Kelly O'Neill

Tanzania 2015 - Toni-Kelly O'Neill

International Elective Placement In Tanzania: The Fundamental Components Of Nursing.

I have always known from a young age that Nursing was the career I wanted to go into, for me Children’s Nursing just made sense, it’s perfect for me. After volunteering in Ghana when I was in sixth form, I left saying how I would come back and nurse in a developing country. Work the World gave me this opportunity. I researched their programme, watched the videos and read the blogs. I flicked through the photos and I cannot believe that its now me writing this about my experience in Tanzania. I am thankful for the opportunity given and the lessons I have learnt.

The 6Cs are fundamental components of nursing: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. That’s what we are taught over and over at Keele University, School of Nursing and Midwifery. We wouldn’t do what we do if we didn’t believe all our patients deserved care and compassion. 

But what happens when you see nursing practice where the focus is on treatment not care? Just how important is advocacy for our patients when it’s not your country, not your language, not your culture?

My elective in Tanzania taught me that my patients are number one:  Independent of the language, culture or country. I learnt to be confident with what I had learnt and could contribute, despite cultural barriers, to support patients and families. I gained a new appreciation of the standard of teaching and mentoring received at Keele.  Being on the wards in Tanzania showed me that I could work with what I had learnt and that I had the ability to make the best out of the resources presented to me.

Tanzania taught me just how important it is to hold a patients hand and offer comfort, you can take away all the medical equipment, all the medications, but that does not mean I will not care right up until the last minute, because that is what you do when you are a nurse. It has taught me to wear my NHS badge and wear it with pride. Tanzania taught me just how proud I am to put my uniform on and call myself a Children’s Nurse.

Top 10 in Nursing for The Complete University Guide 2020 Student Nursing Times Awards 2019 finalist Bronze Athena Swan Award