Our students from Botswana
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Students and graduates from your country share their experiences of living and studying with us.
Student name: Lady Kgaswane
Course: BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy
Year of graduation: 2010
Current employer: Princes Marina Referral hospital
Intangible gifts like independence, freedom of mobility and a happy childhood are what drives and motivates Lady in her work as an occupational therapist (OT). She says that her ability to negotiate with management in her current hospital stems from her presentation and discussion skills gained studying with us.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities as an OT?
I am an occupational therapist at one of the biggest hospitals in Botswana. I treat children and adults from all sorts of backgrounds. I work in a range of medical departments: orthopaedics, neurology, paediatrics, surgery, oncology and intensive care. I work in an inpatient clinic and outpatient clinic within a team of three other therapists. Each of us would see over 15 patients per day.
Working with kids is very fulfilling because what I achieve is something that will prevent disability in the long run. I have allowed them to become a kid again and do things that kids do. This enables them to become independent not only as a child, but as a teenager and further as an adult. Parents play a huge role. If the parents understand the meaning and purpose behind our work, then you find that they will be more committed to therapy.
There is a lot of group and problem-based learning at the University. How did it enhance your career?
It teaches you to go out and look for the information when you don’t know something. Previously, I would panic when I didn’t know something and now I know to exhaust all my sources. If a professional mentions a term/condition I don’t know, I need to find out and ask questions. It’s a problem solving initiative that you need to have within you.
I remember when I came back to Botswana and didn’t know how to make a splint. A very good colleague of mine taught me how to do that and the following day I was there doing my first splint even though I never did it before in Cardiff. Because there is a desire to learn and know more, I never want to be part of the problem.
What lesson did you learn studying with us that you carry with you today?
In Cardiff I did group work which meant I had to talk in front of everyone! I was shy at first but towards the end of the first year I was going out there, sharing my knowledge, answering questions, getting into debates and investigating more about the topic at hand. This is why, in my work now, I am able to speak to management about changes that need to be made. I am always thinking about to do and how we can improve.
I also won an award for helping to develop the integrated management patients system; an online system where all the patient records are stored. All the other hospitals have had their systems go live and I had a big part in making that happen. I am teaching other departments as well. It’s been really great because I used the system in the NHS and I know the benefits. There is a lot of technology that is evolving and Botswana needs to keep up with the world.
You mentioned you’d like to do a master's or a PhD – where would you want to do it?
I would like to do this to become a specialist OT. I would love to come back to Cardiff to do my master's or PhD in order to would build upon the foundation laid at undergraduate level. When I first arrived I was miserable and was always complaining. But I came out of my shell and by the time I had to graduate, I didn’t want to leave!
What would you say to a student from Botswana who is thinking about coming to study with us?
I find Cardiff to be a very multicultural and multinational place. The city is vibrant and eventful with the rugby, cricket and football. The cost of living for a student is low and there are ample part-time work opportunities within the University.
The Cardiff University’s Students’ Union has all student needs covered under one roof. The University is within walking distance of great learning opportunities and impressive libraries. There is a bustling African community and the African Caribbean Society is a home away from home.