Have you always wanted to deepen your professional abilities through a stay abroad and to learn about work styles in a different culture? World Unite! participant Nicole volunteered as a nurse in a clinic and a medical outpatient clinic in Tangier, Morocco for four months and gained memorable experiences. Read more:
I spent almost four months volunteering in Tangier (Morocco) and it has been the best time in my life so far! Thanks to World Unite! my work schedule was well organized. Nevertheless, I had enough free time to explore Tangier and Morocco. I volunteered in a private clinic three times a week, and in a non-profit medical outpatient clinic two times a week.
As for my time in the private clinic, I spent the first four weeks in a general medical ward (including an intensive care unit). In this ward, patients were cared for after surgery and also patients with internal medical problems. I was very fortunate because the Moroccan nurses and doctors allowed me a very hands on approach. I was allowed to change dressings, infusions and to measure vital signs (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.). In the beginning a was a bit worried whether the patients would trust me or whether they’d refuse to be treated by me, but rather the opposite was the case.
Everyone was very positive about organizations like World Unite! that make such cultural exchanges possible.
After four weeks, I switched to the operating theater. I was very excited to be given this opportunity because I haven’t had much chance to work in OR during my training as a nurse in Germany. The surgeons and nurses were incredibly friendly and received me very well. In the beginning I spent most of my time observing, but after a short while I helped with the patient preparation and follow-up. I was able to join many surgeries in visceral or fascial surgery, traumatology, gynecology, urology, ophthalmology, and oncology and I’ve learned a lot. After some time, I was allowed to to establish vascular access, managed the sterile instruments (holding them and handing them over to the surgeons) and applied dressings. My personal highlight was to learn how to sew surgical wounds. I am really grateful for this experience and for the openness and trust of the doctors and nurses. I felt so comfortable in the surgery theater that I stayed there until the end of my placement.
On top of volunteering in the clinic, I helped out in a medical medical outpatient clinic on two afternoons a week. The clinic is run by the two nurses Meriem and Zohair. Each afternoon, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm, they provide treatment to people who can’t afford a doctor’s visit. Medicines and medical supplies are donated to the clinic. Around 20 people get treatment on a daily basis. I helped to prepare the instruments and materials and cleaned and stowed them after the clinic closes. We have treated patients of all ages and with all types of health complaints, often burns, cuts, abscesses or postoperative follow-ups. When there was less to do, we would have a cup of tea together and fold compresses in the meantime. I’ve learned a lot from Meriem and Zohair, especially about life in Morocco. We often talked about different health systems, living standards and about our work in the clinic. This was an amazing chance to learn with and from local people in Morocco and to practice my French.
Combining a placement in two clinics has given me a great insight into the Moroccan health care system and I am extremely grateful for that! On top of gaining work exposure, volunteering in another country and amount local people has definitely helped to broaden my culture competences as well.
Despite having a busy work schedule, I had enough time to go on excursions on weekends. I travelled to the beautiful cities of Chefchaouen and Assilah and explored lots of places and sights in Tangier, for instance the Hercules Grotto. My time in Morocco was an absolutely unique experience and I can definitely recommend it.