Month: March 2021

1

Graduates Welcome!

For the past few years World Medicine has had an active policy of encouraging new graduates to apply for a volunteer post in our yearly Chaparda project. Although it may seem like a stressful idea to emerge yourself in a demanding multi bed clinic with a big daily caseload, there is something of the “baptism of fire” approach that has proved very successful and rewarding for our past graduates. There are few environments early in clinical practice that will provide the breadth and scope of experience that Chaparda affords. Our graduates will work either in the ladies or men’s clinic alongside 2 experienced practitioners. Generally, we would pair a graduate and practitioner for the first couple of consultations and treatments to ease into the pace and style of treatment and then we encourage them to begin their own work, under a nurturing eye!

The good thing about the setting is that no one is isolated, which means that if anyone is a bit anxious or struggling to establish a treatment strategy there is always someone to cast a quick eye and make a suggestion. We trust our graduates and they never fail to amaze us with their capacity to get stuck in and become valuable members of the team. Learning is always a 2 way dynamic and whilst we hope to model good practice for our graduates we are always up for learning from them too! One of the important things to remember is that multi bed treatments will always be different to the treatments that would be provided in a private, one to one session. The emphasis is on extracting the key information from our patients and providing a targeted treatment that best matches their need.

Because our patients return up to 6 times there is an opportunity to refine treatments, or add an adjunct such as cupping, moxa etc. Not everything needs to be done on that initial treatment! There is no denying that the clinics are very hard work. We put in a full day Monday to Friday and a half day Saturday. We definitely are looking for our graduates to be robust, flexible and grounded! The trade off is that we also have a lot of fun, our teams the last few years have been picked to encourage a sense of team stability and cohesion, and for sure the welfare of our graduates is extremely important to us.

Sally, Gary, Marta and Catherine, some of our more recent graduates have written blogs that can be found on the website that give a fuller flavour to the graduate experience.They are all thriving in their own practices now but am sure each of them would tell you that they absolutely loved their time in Chaparda with us, remaining very much part of our World Medicine family.

So, if you feel INSPIRED, up for a CHALLENGE and can spare 3 weeks to VOLUNTEER and are about to graduate ( or have very recently graduated) please do get in touch with us to request an application form. We generally interview over the summer with a view to travel in January of each year. (self funded*)

This year there will be an opportunity to volunteer with a more local project based in London, so if the idea of India is rather overwhelming but you would like to still be involved with World Medicine, than please do still get in touch. We definitely would love to hear from you!

*Every volunteer with World Medicine needs to be able to self fund their travel costs to and from India. Accommodation and meals ( and fabulous vegetarian meals they are too) are provided at no additional cost. We strongly support fundraising efforts to pay for your costs and every year engage the team in various activities in order to help you achieve this.

055

Local Sustainability

Blog post by Emma Vaughan, Trustee of World Medicine

The struggles of introducing local sustainability into our work in India.

35258766-645e-4967-bc2c-1af0452f43a3For anyone reading our blogs about World Medicine’s long term project in Chaparda, India, they will certainly get a flavour of the enormous popularity of this project. This is true for our hosts, the community we serve and the volunteers that commit their time and energy to it. There is a special energy and palpable buzz during our time there and over the years we have built up close relationships with the staff at the ashram and Jay Ambe hospital where we run our clinic.

Every year we have local staff that assist us for the duration of our work there… this may be clerical staff who book patients in and organise the waiting area, physiotherapists who come to assist in the clinic and more recently student nurses who we train to help us with specific treatments, such as cupping or moxabustion therapy. We see their input as enormously valuable to both us and to themselves. We try to model good practice in clinical care but also to demonstrate that empathy and respect should be part of the work when treating patients. Last year particularly we were able to see our local students gain confidence in their skills and witnessed their growing commitment to good patient care.

028This is incredibly important to us as a charity since we are mindful about our wider aims when delivering a complex project such as our Chaparda one. In the past, previous teams had explored ways of trying to encourage a self sustaining dimension to the project. We had been hopeful that by training local staff to use a microsystem, namely Auricular acupuncture, that they could continue to run a meaningful service for the community in between our visits. This was an ambitious target especially as acupuncture as a profession is rightly regulated to a high professional standard. ( we are self regulated within our professional body which requires adherence to a robust code of ethics and practice, professional accountability and a requirement for continuing education) This made it complex when considering safety and supervision in our absence. However, the other big issue that is a real block to local sustainability is migration of local staff. We find, that with exception of a few staff, many of the hospital staff do not have long term posts. Younger female staff often leave the area after marriage and other staff leave for opportunities in the cities. It is always lovely to see familiar faces but we also have to accept that sometimes we will only work with staff for one visit.055

I believe the future of our work in Chaparda is very much on a firm footing. The communities surrounding the hospital are familiar with our work now and we do see returning patients to our clinics which is also wonderful. We always remain open to ideas that will make the project more expansive and inclusive.. it’s important that we continue to build strong relationships there that support opportunities for local staff to develop their own skills and knowledge, so that wherever they end up working they take a sense of professional pride with them which we hope they achieve during their time working with us. We certainly value them!