Volunteering in Vietnam – In the Medical Field

Posted by: Gillian

My experience volunteering at the Medical Placement in Ho Chi Minh project was absolutely incredible. Not only did I get to learn a ton about the medical field, but I also got to meet some wonderful people and explore the beautiful and exciting city that is Saigon!

The hospital we worked at was for orthopedics and rehabilitation, so mainly patients who suffered from motorbike accidents (not hard to believe when you see the traffic in the city!), as well as stroke victims. A day consists of assisting/observing the doctors in either the occupational therapy room, acupuncture department, wound care, or surgery.

Some tasks that I performed included removing acupuncture wires and needles, administering B12 or antibiotic injections, cleaning extremely severe wounds, as well as observing and shadowing surgeons. To be able to participate in this project, one should be warned that you will see extremely shocking wounds, and a ton of blood. If you are queasy, or can’t handle jumping in to extreme circumstances with a steady hand, this project is not for you! On the other hand though, if you are ready for it, this project taught me so much, and really opened my eyes to third-world country care and how different countries work. I loved every minute I spent in the hospital, soaking up the miles of information that was available there, even just by observation!

Another great thing about this project is the location. Ho Chi Minh is a vibrant and lively city, and in the four weeks I spent there, I never got bored. From the busy scene of backpackers street and central District one, to the calm evening walks by the river followed by yoga class, there is never a dull moment. I would recommend volunteering in Vietnam at this project to anyone who is willing to put themselves out of their comfort zone, and who is eager to learn about the medical field.