Outside my comfort zone in Scotland

It was about time to pack my bags and start a new adventure! One year and three months was enough in Finland after more than seven years abroad. Practical training exchange programme through TAMK was my flight ticket to the world again!

I was all smiling and full of excitement packing my backpack and flying to Scotland: WORLD I AM HOME AGAIN!

My life is packed once again into a few bags. Let the journey begin!
My life is packed once again into a few bags. Let the journey begin!

Scotland from the air.
Scotland from the air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I rented a room from a private house just outside the Dumfries town center about 30 minutes walk away and 15 minutes by bike from the Dumfries Campus (University) and Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary Hospital (DGRI) where I am working as well. The bike was a great plus, very convenient way to move around the town and also to explore the lovely Scottish nature!

The bike will be my good friend during the three months!
The bike will be my good friend during the three months!

Cycling to work to the Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary hospital!
Cycling to work to the Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary hospital!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dumfries Campus area is beautiful with its old buildings and gardens. So are the surrounding parks & villages.

University of West of Scotland - Dumfries Campus with its beautiful, old buildings!
University of West of Scotland – Dumfries Campus with its beautiful, old buildings!

Dumfries Campus Stone Garden.
Dumfries Campus Stone Garden.

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It is a lovely place to enjoy your lunch between lectures!
It is a lovely place to enjoy your lunch between lectures!

Nearby village just a cycle path away - Kingholm Quay.
Nearby village just a cycle path away – Kingholm Quay.

Whitesands, Dumfries.
Whitesands, Dumfries.

I started my practical training in A&E (Accidents & Emergencies). So I have learned that the best and the fastest way to learn (though probably not the easiest way) is to “jump into the river and start swimming”. A lot of questions, repetition and hands-on attitude got me through the three exciting weeks in the A&E of DGRI. Time flew and I would have liked to stay there few more weeks, if not the whole three months! I got also an opportunity to have two days with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) which was extremely instructive. The first three weeks really showed me that I am in the right field of study!

Second placement is for four weeks in Ward 15 – Paediatric Ward. Again it feels like I have to start from zero – the routines are quite different from ward to ward. With children and especially with babies all the procedures and medical nursing are quite different compared to adults. But I am enjoying my time so far and I have a lot to learn. Just to keep my eyes and mind open and ask a few more questions!

My third placement will be in the Birthing Suite for two weeks and the last three weeks (4th placement) will be in the Mental Health Care Ward. I have truly intriguing times ahead!

The best way to learn is outside my comfort zone!

Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary Hospital from the distance.
Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary Hospital from the distance.

View from the DGRI Hospital over the town of Dumfries and the mountain of Criffel.
View from the DGRI Hospital over the town of Dumfries and the mountain of Criffel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since the working shifts have been more or less 12 hour shifts at a time, I have had quite many full days off from work. When I am not working in the hospital I walk, run and cycle a lot. I have participated in the Scottish Classical Dance lessons, which was quite fun and believe me or not required quite a bit of concentration to remember all the steps!

I also enjoy a coffee with my new friends or just go to Starbucks by myself for a cup of black filter coffee, piece of lemon cake and with a great book! Visiting the nearby castles and ruins of old buildings, climbing the mountain Criffel (506 meters high), day off in Edinburgh and the chilly and colourfull Autumn are all a part of the fantastic cultural and educational experience during my three months here in Dumfries, Scotland!

Here are some pictures along the way:

Part of the cultural experience is to try local food, so Haggis (a savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck – heart, liver and lungs-  minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach) is on my bucket list!

haggis

Enjoy your experience abroad!

Greetings from Scotland,

Virpi

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