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Health students given rare opportunity to gain international work experience

January 18, 2023

Health students at Edge Hill University have been given a rare opportunity to gain invaluable international work experience.

Edge Hill University is distinctive in offering second and third-year students the opportunity to apply for placements with health services around the globe, providing successful applicants with a rare chance to experience how their chosen professions operate abroad. 

Students studying paramedic practice and operating department practice have visited Germany, South Africa, Finland and Czech Republic to take part in international electives for the first time since before the pandemic.

Sophie Sutton wears blue student scrubs and smiles at the camera.

Third-year operating department practice (ODP) student Sophie Sutton took part in a placement at Städtisches Klinikum Wolfenbüttel in the Niedersachsen region of Northern Germany.

Sophie, originally from Coventry but now living in Liverpool, said: “This was an amazing opportunity to see how operating departments work in a different country, especially as I want to go into humanitarian work when I graduate. 

“I was able to shadow staff, get involved with some basic tasks and I even got to see c-sections for the first time – I felt really lucky. 

“They were also keen to learn about the NHS and how operating departments work in the UK and they were impressed by how much I knew about different elements of the role even though I was still training.

“I learned what we do really well here like team working across the department and patient dignity and safety, and where there are areas we can improve on such as infection control. This kind of interaction is a great way of raising standards internationally.” 

The 22-year-old, who has also taken part in placements at hospitals like Aintree and Alder Hey as part of her course at Edge Hill, said the experience helped build her confidence and encouraged personal growth, and gave her a broader understanding of the profession and the different career paths available to her. 

“I would definitely encourage other students to apply for this opportunity – it was a really amazing experience which I’m sure will help me when I start my career.”


Paramedic practice student Katie Duxbury spent two weeks in Brno with the Emergency Medical Service in the South Moravian Region of Czech Republic. 

She said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Brno, it taught me how me to approach patients in difference ways and expanded my knowledge on treatment available to patients. 

“My trip allowed me to see differing practices between the UK and the Czech Republic. It was interesting to see the differences in call-outs and speak to members of the ambulance service both in control and working on the frontline.”

Katie Duxbury wears a paramedic uniform and stands in front of an ambulance.

Edge Hill students have had more elective opportunities in the last year than in pre-pandemic years, thanks to funding from the Government’s Turing Scheme and the University’s own Student Opportunity Fund. 

The University is exploring the possibility of expanding further with placements in cities such as Helsinki and Toronto. 

Andy Kirk, Head of Department for Allied Health Professions, highlighted the University’s passion for sector-leading peer learning through placements like these. 

“We’ve been told by students that this has been one of the best experiences of their lives, these interactions really motivate students and clinicians alike to enhance their careers and self-development.

“And it gives us an immense sense of pride and satisfaction that these placements can have such a huge impact on someone’s education and professional career. 

“Sharing best practice is hugely advantageous for patient care and professional development, so expanding this on an international scale can only make these professions better.” 

Martina Sharman, international coordinator at Städtisches Klinikum Wolfenbüttel, added: “The role of the ODP has not long been established in Germany, therefore the skills and competencies of our British colleagues were ahead of our own trainees. There is a lot we can learn from each other. 

“Thank you to the Edge Hill students for being positive and motivated and embracing the chance to spend their elective placements at Klinikum Wolfenbuettel. It was our pleasure!” 

To discover more about courses at Edge Hill University, please visit

January 18, 2023


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