My practical training was placed in a Maltese hospital. I had two separate placements, first one in the main hospital Mater Dei and the second one in a health care center. Both of these places were very eye-opening, but I liked the hospital more.
First days in the hospital were awfully confusing. A lot of things were happening, people were talking in two languages and I was trying to absorb all the information I possibly could. Mater Dei seemed massive for such a small country. By the end of the first week, I was familiar with the daily routines. However, hearing everything first in Maltese, worn me out. In addition to that, the normal working hours at the hospital were 12 hours. Although, that meant that I had only three or four workdays a week. What made everything all the more interesting, was my extremely supporting and positive mentor.
Health care centre was slower paced than the hospital. Mornings always started with blood samples and continued with wound care in the afternoon. By this time, I had gotten so used to hearing Maltese all day every day, that I just zoned out when things weren’t in English. Nevertheless, I learned so much from my second mentor as well and got to practice my skills more.
The health system in Malta was very much similar to ours in Finland. Some small practices in protection against infection were different but they weren’t overwhelming to me. The hierarchy in the hospital was very distinctive. However, I noticed a friendship between all the workers in the ward. They were all one big family, supporting each other.
I also liked the system that they had with the work shifts. Two day shifts from 7am to 7pm and the third shift was a night shift, from 7pm to 7am. Three days of 12 hours shifts and after that, two days off. The schedule sticks and you can plan easily ahead. In Finland the shifts change, and you get shifts for three weeks. The 12 hours were long and I was usually very tired at the end of the day.
During the exchange, I traveled around the main island. I got to know the culture, architecture and beautiful sights. I enjoyed the sun, hikes and small trips that you could make every day because the island was so small.