A STUDENT from Great Sankey is travelling to Ghana to care for sick children so she can experience working in different healthcare systems.

Bethany Attwood, a second-year child nursing student at Edge Hill University, will undertake the four-week placement in January.

Bethany said: “I feel the trip is so important because since 2011, we have seen an increase in children born from Ghanaian families in the UK.

“This trip will not only benefit those in need in Ghana but also my future career by having experience from a developing country.”

Bethany will also complete language lessons while in Ghana, so she can speak to residents in Fante.

She said: “I think it will make me a lot more appreciative of the facilities we have in our hospitals. Even just having hand sanitiser on the wall is something we take for granted.

“Their intensive care units only have a few cots for sick babies and the culture is completely different.

"In Ghana, the families do a lot of the caring on the adult wards and so it’ll take some adjustment.”

While in the town of Takoradi, Bethany will have the opportunity to spend one week on an inpatient ward where she will care for children aged between three weeks and 12 who may have cases such as malaria, haemolytic anaemia, pneumonia, sickle cell disease, typhoid and meningitis.

The former St Gregory’s RC High School student will also spend a week in the outpatient unit and a week in Ghana in obstetrics helping Ghanaian mothers give birth to their babies.

Her final week will be spent working on the neonatal intensive care unit, caring for newborns up to three weeks old who are severely unwell.

The 20-year-old added: “The amazing part about my placement in Ghana will be having the exposure of conditions in children which we are unlikely to see in the UK.

"As Ghana is a developing country, I will have the chance to care for children suffering with malnutrition and attend HIV clinics.

“During the weekend I will have some free time in which I will visit the orphanage.

"I am hoping to take an extra suitcase full of toys, clothes, pencils and notepads to donate to the children.”

In addition to her 40-hour weeks on the ward, Bethany also works as a healthcare assistant at Whiston Hospital for extra money.

Bethany will also be contributing her nursing wages to help fund the placement and is hoping to raise more than her target to buy medical supplies for the hospital.

She added: “Being a children’s nurse is such a rewarding role, although it can be emotionally challenging at times, I love to be able to know that I can make a difference in another family’s life.

“I have such a passion for working with children, especially those with long term conditions or mental health needs and I really hope to work within Alder Hey when I qualify.

“As a children’s nurse it’s also not just about treating them for their medical needs.

"Hospitals can be a strange place for children, and a scary one at that, so sometimes we must take on the role of a parent and a teacher and learn how to master the art of distraction through play.

"Being a sensitive, kind and caring nurse is so important as the children may forget our name, but they will never forget how we made them feel.”

Bethany is hoping to raise £2,000 to help fund the placement.

You can donate towards Bethany’s trip via gofundme.com/m5zvn-nursing-trip-to-ghana.