Miranda Doerkson exploring a small Indian town for a cultural day in the area surrounding Bangalore in the second week of her stay where she got to see an old temple and watering area. Photo submitted.

Miranda Doerkson returns from India with new perspective on healthcare

Miranda Doerkson got the chance to see how medicine is practised in India this summer

Lakecity daughter and nurse-to-be Miranda Doerkson got the chance to see how medicine is practiced in India this summer.

Doerkson is going into her third year of resident nursing at the University of Northern British Columbia. She chose to go into nursing because she’s always loved being around people and helping others in any way she can.

She got her first taste of helping others when she helped look after her grandmother growing up. This love of helping people was later cemented when she chose to do her work experience during high school at the Cariboo Memorial Hospital. When she did her first practicum in college Doerkson said that she “loved it” and that love has only grown since from year to year.

“I guess I didn’t always necessarily know I wanted to be a nurse, but I always knew I wanted to help people,” Doerkson said, “So it always led me in that direction and I’m so happy it did, I love it.”

Doerkson said one thing the nursing program has helped her realize is just how much she’s capable of achieving and handling, both in school and in practical situations. She believes everyone has something they’re meant to be in and can achieve great things by doing so, which makes her happy to have found her calling early in life. She’s also incredibly thankful for her instructors, who have shown her what this passion for helping others can look like even years into working in the field.

Recently, Doerkson got the chance to spend a month learning from and working with nurses and doctors in a hospital in Bangalore, India. She first heard about it before she entered the program and learned that second-year nursing students just had to write an essay about themselves and why they wanted to go. Even before she joined the program, Doerkson said she knew this was something she wanted to do, regardless of what it would entail.

“I’m going on this trip. If there is anything I’m doing, I’m going on this trip,” Doerkson said. “I’ve always thought that travel nursing is so interesting because the healthcare system changes so much and I’d like to see all the different aspects of it.”

Read More: Miranda Doerkson named Williams Lake Stampede Youth Volunteer of the Year

After applying and being accepted, Doerkson set out with nine other female students and two instructors to India and spent the next thirty days under the same roof with them. While she didn’t know all of them at the start, by the end she said they’d all grown incredibly close on their little adventure.

Going in, Doerkson accepted that things would be different and hard at times but looking back now she said she doesn’t feel she truly understood that fact. She went in with the mentality that health care was health care and no matter where you are the human body doesn’t change.

Arriving in India was, as with most trips abroad, a bit of a cultural shock due to heat, different sights and smells. On the first day in the hospital, the heat made Doerkson fear she’d made a mistake, not to mention the language barrier that often popped up between patients and fellow nurses. However, thanks to talking with her instructors and other members of her group, she was able to get out of that funk while building communication skills and immersing herself into her work.

“I would say I came back with so many communication skills, (now) I can communicate with no words at all,” Doerkson said.

Everyday Doerkson would “pick up a client (patient)” and work with them for the day by learning about them, reading their charts and other things you’d do anywhere in the world. Under the supervision of instructors, both her own and ones from India, they’d go about giving medication, changing bandages and any other tasks a regular nurse world do.


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Miranda Doerkson drinks from a coconut purchased from a local man, one of the best ways to rejuvenate yourself when out in the hot sun of India. Photo submitted.

Miranda Doerkson’s fellow nursing students and instructors on their last day of clinical after one month in India. Photo submitted.

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