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'I've always been interested in how nurses work in different countries'


Nursing Times blogger Becky Cridford on paediatric nursing in Sierra Leone

I am writing to you from a hot, slightly damp and extremely noisy hospital in Sierra Leone. I will be working for the Welbodi Partnership in Freetown, the capital for the next year, thanks to winning funding from the Vodafone World of Difference programme in July.

One in four children in Sierra Leone die before they are five years old (UNICEF 2009) and the Welbodi Partnership aims to improve this by supporting paediatric healthcare. My role is to work in direct partnership with staff at the only paediatric hospital in the country, the Ola During Children’s Hospital. There will be three of us on-site, and I will be focusing mainly on in-service training, the practical implementation of that training and assisting members of staff from all departments to become involved in the process of improvement.

I committed to volunteering for the Welbodi Partnership in April, and was busy working every shift I could to fund myself. When my Dad saw an advert to receive funding to volunteer for a year, I sent in my application for the Vodafone World of Difference programme… about 10 minutes before the deadline! I didn’t expect it to get anywhere, but I hope this experience has taught me (finally) that it’s worth taking aim at the long-shot: someone will win - but it won’t be you if you’ve not given yourself the chance.

After finishing my final set of nights, July rattled past in a rush of visas and vaccinations, packing up and moving out, saying goodbyes, and the thrilling (but exhausting) selection process for the World of Difference programme: the online application; collecting references; a phone interview; a panel interview; a video recording; and finally a nail-bitingly close public vote on Facebook. And finally, here I am, sitting in a hospital in Freetown, listening to the torrential rain, and wondering how the next year will play itself out.

I hope that you will be interested in my work and will follow our progress through the year. I’ve always thought it interesting to hear about how nurses work in different countries: we have so much in common, even when the contexts and constraints are very different. As the first and only nurse to be employed by the Welbodi Partnership long-term, I hope that I can do the profession justice, and I will always be grateful for your advice and comments. I will aim to blog regularly and I will try to describe my experiences faithfully, but being so recently arrived I haven’t had time to gather my thoughts just yet.

For the next few weeks I will simply be keeping my eyes, ears and mind wide open.

Becky Cridford is a nurse who is spending the next year working with The Welbodi Partnership in Sierra Leone, a charity that supports the delivery of vital paediatric care.


Readers' comments (6)

  • debra fretwell

    Hi Becky I look forward to reading your blog I am a 2nd year Paeds nursing student and am considering an international placement so will be good to read about your experiences...good luck!

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  • how can i subscribe for online cpd courses

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  • Hi Kelvin, <br/><br/>You can sign up here:<br/><br/>kind regards, Victoria<br/>Nursing Times

  • Hi Becky,

    I am so happy to read that you won. Hip hip hip Hurray I am a psychiatric nurse in london but came from Sierra Leone and was really touched and moved by the knowledge that you were interested in going out to Sierra Leone as Nurse volunteer. I set up a facebook campaign when I read of the Vodfone make a difference campaign and prayed and prayed that u win. I also intend to go back after gaining enough clinical experience to help make a difference in the lives of my people. Well doen and keep up the good work. Will read your blog to keep informed.


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  • Well done and good luck-I spend a lot of time teaching about immunisation and hope this might be one of the things you will teach out there to improve life expectancy -if you need any presentations/ideas/resources can send them to you

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  • Hi - thanks so much for your comments and support. It's great to know that you're reading this!

    Debra - good luck with finding a placement
    Kirsty - I will let you know!
    Kona - thanks so much for your facebook voting campaign. I really felt overwhelmed that week with the support I was shown. I hope you manage to fulfill your dream and come back to work here.

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  • Hi Becky , Its good to see what paeds nurses are up to in other countries - Im currently working at a Trauma centre in Dubai and am the only paeds trained nurse in a facility that was never set up for children so have started quite a challenge ! Keep up the good work there and keep us in touch with how it's going

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