Saturday is a normal working day for people working in the hospital and so no different for us – back to the classroom, this time for a practice OSCE. The students are such a joy to teach. They’re attentive and interested in making the most of every opportunity to learn. For most of the students, speaking and understanding English is still a challenge for them as they only began learning the language when undertaking their nurse training.
None of the students have been out of India and did not know where the UK was or even how big it was, so we used the internet to show maps of the world comparing UK and India. The students showed us whereabouts in India they had come from, most travelling quite a distance to get to Hyderabad- the biggest adventure of their lives.
We had fun with the OSCEs and by the end of the day we were feeling a lot more confident in their ability to demonstrate their skills both practically and verbally.
Tonight we were entertained by Dr Evita Fernandez, along with some of her family and friends at her family home. This was a great evening with lots of conversation, getting to know each other and dining on excellent Indian cuisine. One of the guests, Greta, moved to India from England after meeting and marrying her Indian husband. He was a doctor and Greta was a nurse, not wanting to mention ages, but as an indication they married in 1958 (!) and Greta still works predominantly in infection control. An amazing woman! Currently she has been helping prepare the new hospital for opening – the ‘Stork Home’.
At last- a day off! However, not a rest day as we had arranged to go sightseeing with a local guide. We visited a famous museum – the Salar Jung Museum. We learned more about the fascinating history of Hyderabad and that this museum had been a collection put together predominantly by one man to preserve the history of the city. We then travelled a little further to another famous landmark, one of the palaces that had previously belonged to Mir Osman Ali Khan, VII Nizam of Hyderabad, who had been the richest man in the world. The palace had four separate buildings for each of his four wives and an extensive collection of vintage cars, including a 1911 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost – the Throne Car of Nizam, which was only used to drive around his estate.
Our guide then took us to the ‘pearl quarter’ where we saw some of the beautiful pearl jewellery Hyderabad is famous for. Another enjoyable day.
Today was the start of the students’ exams. Today they sat the theory papers, the second year in the morning and the first year in the afternoon. After starting off the first set of exams, we left them under the watchful eye of Amina, student co-ordinator and administrator who invigilated the day.
We then went on a visit to the Government Hospital, something we had been well prepared for by Evita and other staff members as they were aware this may be upsetting for us. This hospital was in extreme contrast to the one we were working in – literally hundreds of women waited, often with other family members, to see a doctor for an antenatal check, sometimes waiting an entire day before being seen (sometimes two days). An obstetrician, who had worked in the government hospital for over 15 years, escorted us around the different areas, each one full of either expectant women or those newly given birth. We stayed a while in the ‘delivery room’ and witnessed three births very close together. The women do not have any privacy during the birth and give birth on their backs lying on metal trolleys. Before entering the hospital, we were disappointed in being told we would not be allowed to take photographs, however, on reflection glad we couldn’t as this would have taken away any scrap of dignity they may have still been clinging onto. The memory alone will stay etched in our minds even if we cannot share with others.
To lighten the mood following the visit, we went on a shopping expedition accompanied by Evita’s cousin, Bernadette- an expert in bartering! Here we saw a multitude of beautiful bangles and brightly coloured traditional clothing. The whole day had been quite overwhelming.
A total contrast to yesterday, we were taken by Evita early in the morning to visit the ‘Stork Home’ the latest venture in the Fernandez Hospital projects. This was almost equally a shock to the visit yesterday as this hospital is amazing; the building has been renovated to an extremely high standard with both furnishings and equipment catering for a wide range of needs – including a birthing pool. Here, Michelle and I were set to work and gave a training session to the midwives and obstetricians working in the unit on the safe use of the pool including emergency evacuation procedures. This session generated a lot of questions and conversation, with all eager to learn. We were introduced to a woman in early labour who had shown an interest in using the pool – we agreed to support the midwives and obstetricians with this.
We returned to the second-year students and undertook their OSCE exam with them in the afternoon. We then spent some time with them on the labour ward at the Fernandez Unit One, it was really good to see that the midwives and students were encouraging women to mobilise and use the birthing ball as alternatives to pharmaceutical forms of pain relief.
At 02.30hrs we got the call…..the woman we met earlier in the day was asking to go in the pool and a car was en route to pick us up! However, when we arrived at the hospital the woman had progressed rapidly and was in the second stage of labour, so unable to enter the pool. We stayed for the birth which was all perfectly normal, after congratulations all round, the car took us back to the apartment.
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