Emily Vaughan - Intern on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Emergency and Essential Care Programme, Geneva, Switzerland

Building on previous work experience in Sierra Leone and Madagascar, Emily was able to tailor her experiences with the WHO to incorporate her own research interests. Emily did evaluation, analysis work and report writing on a training programme designed for surgeons and anaesthetists in hospitals across Sierra Leone and she also explored the capacity for surgical care to hospitals in Madagascar. Emily also spent time on a clinical project, in the area of orthopaedic surgery, where she restructured data which could then be used by clinicians.

‘The internship was a thoroughly enjoyable six weeks…although challenging at times. Working in an office in a large international organisation was a huge contrast to my ward based clinical learning at hospitals in Birmingham. It taught me a huge amount about professional report writing, data analysis and communication in a complex organisational structure.’

During my internship I built on my research skills I had developed during my interaction research in Sierra Leone and I learnt many new more office based skills. I learnt how to handle the complex IT system in the WHO and navigate their data collection tools. I learnt how to design and manipulate databases to enable effective data analysis to occur. I also developed self-reliance during this independent placement; the challenge of finding affordable accommodation in the expensive city of Geneva and learning to live and work in a completely new environment was a challenge that I enjoyed.

I also developed self-reliance during this independent placement

‘[One of my main achievements was] writing three reports for the activities of GIEESC in training in Sierra Leone. Using my first hand experiences of working in hospitals in Sierra Leone I was able to write the report with local knowledge and generate a report to distribute to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone and the funding body which hopefully will have an impact on future policy decisions within Sierra Leone.’

‘The experience of working in an internationally recognised public health institution will undoubtedly help me in the course of my future career. My first step when I return to university in September is to start the application process for my junior doctor jobs. I am hoping to apply for an academic position, enabling to do one rotation in academic medicine during my first two years as a doctor. For this you need to have research experience in your chosen field and the experiences I have had both in Sierra Leone and here at the WHO will be of benefit to this.’