Personal Views Personal views

So who's teaching whom?

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7230.323 (Published 29 January 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:323
  1. Liz Smith, health network manager
  1. VSO,London

    VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) sends skilled men and women to work in partnership with people in developing countries. The organisation has seen a dramatic surge in inquiries from health professionals interested in working overseas—figures released in February 1999 show that applications from the health sector have gone up by 55%.

    In the wake of the Stephen Lawrence report the health service's capacity to deliver care to multicultural Britain is under scrutiny. Cultural awareness and sensitivity are at a premium, yet the skills of health workers who have worked overseas remain undervalued.

    My colleagues still find it difficult to communicate how they have developed

    A widely held assumption that volunteering is a one way learning process rather than an exchange of ideas, skills, and information means that a large proportion of my colleagues still find it difficult to communicate how they have developed professionally from their experience.

    I spent two years in Zambia with VSO as a nurse tutor. My aims and motivation were misunderstood by many …

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