We always get questions from incoming and prospective Medical Volunteers about what exactly they will need to bring with them when they come to volunteer with us, the answer to this question is very much the same as it is for Childcare and Teaching.
Whitney sporting a very fetching tye dye scrub top that is exactly the right thing to wear whilst working on the Medical Project; you don’t HAVE to wear tye dye if you don’t want but it certainly brightens up everyone’s day 🙂
The best thing you can wear whilst being on project is a normal pair of scrubs, any colour is fine just as long as they aren’t too open necked and they cover both your knees and you shoulders. We always need to make sure that we dress appropriately when we are on project so if you don’t have any scrubs then just a t-shirt of the same description and trousers of some kind are perfectly fine. When it comes to your footwear I would make sure that you have something that covers your feet, crocs are probably the very best thing you can have or something similar and along the same lines.
The lovely Will doing health checks on some monks; as long as you have your knees and your shoulders covered you are totally fine and don’t HAVE to wear scrubs
Crocs might not be the coolest thing in the world but they are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and they can also cope really well with all of the different terrains that you will traverse whilst being on projects. You won’t be climbing mountains but you will be anywhere from rural villages with mud and stone roads to the clean slick floor of a hospital or clinic so do make sure you have clothes and footwear that can work across the board.
This was the trail that some volunteers had to walk in order to get to a rural clinic they were working at, so those Gucci shoes might not be the right thing to be wearing
Lee-Anna and Lou doing some blood test on the kids and staff from a local school; certainly brought in a pretty big crowd!
In terms of required elements for your project that is pretty much it, you are always welcome to bring anything you might feel would be a useful donation with you, clinics and hospitals are always in need of new supplies of everything from needles to gauze so anything you might be able to get hold of or fundraise for will be so unbelievably appreciated.
Volunteers also help out with education and care of whole communities as well as the individual patients. Here the volunteers are helping to build a garden that will grown medicinal herbs and plants that locals can use to heal minor health issues.
Another thing that you should bring with you along to all of our projects, not just medical, is an open mind. This is Thailand, it isn’t the States, England or Australia. Thailand is far from being a third world country but it isn’t as developed as Western countries so some practices or standards may be completely different in every way to what you are used to but I promise you that they are all safe and regulated. All basic techniques are the same, so stitching, suturing and dressing wounds for example but sometimes local people will try several herbal or holistic methods before they trouble a clinic for help; this can often mean that wounds or conditions are in a worse condition than you might usually be used to so do make sure you prepare yourself for some pretty interesting conditions and wounds.
Also expect to have kids pull the ‘I hate you face’ when you do their vaccines 🙂
So as long as you hide your bendy bits and come to volunteer without any preconceptions about what the medical care and coverage is like here then you will do just fine 😀 You will have an amazing time and gain some priceless experience that very few people ever get to receive, not only that but you will make such a difference to the lives of each and every patient that you work with, no matter if that is stitching up a wound or doing an hours worth of pyhsio, the work that you do has a lasting effect that will educate the patients about how not to get into situations where they get into trouble in the first place. Education is so important but extremely lacking here so you are an integral part of improving the knowledge of local rural people and how to better care and look after themselves but also their friends and family.
This looks wonderfully medical – you can tell I am more used to treating animals as opposed to people huh??
To see what else you might be doing on the Medical project take a look at the Starfish Website and the Starfish – Volunteer Thailand Facebook as well as the Starfish Tumblr page for looks at project across Thailand.
As always make sure you look at my own Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram pages, they are always being updated with everything that I am doing and fun pictures and anecdotes from my own adventures in Thailand as well 🙂
Build. Protect.Teach. Care. – The Starfish Motto