We are two nursing students from Rotterdam. In our third year of study, we decided to spend our internship in Spain. Through JongLeren we ended up at a modern private hospital in Málaga. When we started in the hospital in September, we did not quite know what to expect. A completely different culture, different working methods and organization.
During our internship period, we have been surprised about a number of things. These amazements began with the Spanish language. We thought we were well prepared and focused on Spanish. However, the Spanish language in Andalusia is very different, the people who live here often leave out bits of words. Think of hasta luego (see you), they pronounce it here as ta luego.
In addition, some methods were very different from what we are used to in the Netherlands. Protocols? Nowhere to be seen. And the work pressure as you are used to in the Netherlands? Also in the hospital it´s very Spanish.. tranquilo. Many colleagues work 14-hour shifts, which means that they meet their contract more quickly and thus have more days off. In the hospital we noticed that almost no one takes a break, so you work for 7 hours in a row.
Different working methods
Due to the differences in working methods, we have received many new insights. For example, they take blood by attaching a CC syringe to the needle and filling it up, and then spraying it into the tubes. Very inconvenient as this can be much more practical using a vacuum system, but according to our supervisors in the department this was too expensive. However, there is an abundance of these vacuum systems at Urgencias (A&E).
It has been said to us regularly that some things are not allowed, but that the nurses do it anyway because it is easier. Consider, for example, preparing the medication / infusions in advance. We also see many colleagues with nail polish, jewelry and their hair loose.
In addition, everyone simply takes his / her uniform home to wash it at home. You could say that the Spaniards can still learn something in the field of hygiene.
We have chosen to adhere to Dutch standards and thus always have our hair tied up, not to wear nail polish, not to wear jewelry, always wear gloves and perform activities as we have been taught in the Netherlands. Whether you do this is of course up to you! :). In addition to all these differences and astonishment, we have learned a lot during our internship. Because even as a trainee you can perform many nursing activities.We hope that our experiences help you to visualize an internship in Spain.Good luck and especially have fun during your internship adventure in Spain!
Liza & Kayleigh.