“You do occasionally need strong nerves, lots of patience and a bit of creativity for this type of assignment. But if you’ve got what it takes, it’s a fantastic thing to do."

Carolin is 29 and lives in Schwerin. She is a nurse in adult and paediatric healthcare. When a paediatrician who is an expert with the Senior Experten Service told her about the African-German Youth Office and the possibility of doing a joint assignment, she didn’t take long to make up her mind!

The Interview

Hi Carolin! We would love to hear what you did on your Team works! assignment.

My assignment was in the neonatal intensive care unit and the paediatric ward at St. Benedict Ndanda Referral Hospital in Ndanda, a town in Mtwara Region in Tanzania. I supported the nurses and strove to pass on the expertise I have. After a while, I realised I already have a lot of specialist knowledge due to my training as a paediatric nurse and that my experience really does make me an expert in my field. So I invested a great deal of effort in passing on as much as possible, in the short time I was there, of what I know about caring for newborn babies and children with heart conditions, nursing patients with various infections and managing hospital hygiene.

But I learned a lot of interesting things myself too - especially when it comes to communication and patient observation.

“I think it’s really important that African professionals get to undertake an assignment in Germany - that’s the cornerstone of Team works!”

The photo shows a group of eight young people in a forest. They are smiling and some of them have their arms on each other’s shoulders. Carolin can be seen on the right of the photo.
Carolin and her colleagues enjoying an outing.

Why did you decide to do a Team works! assignment with the African-German Youth Office?

I learned about the programme from my tandem partner, Dr. Rolf Löw. He asked me whether I would like to join him on an assignment in Tanzania. I love the idea behind Team works! because African professionals get a chance to go on assignment to Germany as well as the other way around. That means the two sides are much more equal and the impact is longer-lasting. I think it’s really important that African professionals get to undertake an assignment in Germany - that’s the cornerstone of Team works!. In addition, working in a tandem team actually had two advantages. First, I benefited a great deal from Dr. Löw’s experience, of course. And second, we were lucky enough to be an interdisciplinary duo. So we were an ideal team not just as a senior expert and young expert but also as a paediatric nurse and paediatrician. It was a lot of fun and we were each able to apply our expertise.

The photo shows Carolin and a colleague. They are eating watermelon and smiling at the camera. Carolin is giving a thumbs-up with her left hand.
A picnic in the countryside - Carolin and one of her colleagues from the hospital

Can you name three things you’ve taken away from your assignment?

1.       Well, I knew already really, but: a genuine, warm smile and a kind gesture simply say more than a thousand words.

2.       As a nurse, I knew the next thing already as well really but my assignment underlined it once more: you can’t save every life. Death is a fact of life.

3.       The whole experience was indescribable! I just love working with other nurses and being in an intercultural environment.”

The photo shows Carolin Schmedding. She is holding a baby in her arms and smiling at the camera.
This photo of Carolin was taken to mark International Nurses’ Day on 12 May.

Mach mit bei Team works!

Would you like to join Team works! and do an assignment in an African company and gain similar experience? Then register today using our form. Just enter your data, send it, done!

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