As an intern – Riju Dhakal

I still remember my first day at Golden Community, which was when the two of us, my friend and I visited the office to apply for the internship. As part of our academic requirement, we had to spend four months in a professional setting under guided supervision as interns. As a young person, who has always been surrounded by people like me and of my age, my initial doubt was on whether or not would it be comfortable for me to work and explore my capacities. On our first meeting with the professionals at the Golden Community, we thought we were lucky enough to have a position despite the several applicants and thus the journey began.

While initially being overwhelmed with all the information on maternal and newborn health and immediate management, it felt as though this opportunity to experience the clinical approach in the health system was going to be the most cherished outcome of the four months period at the Golden Community. We were amazed to learn about the concepts of Essential Newborn Care, Golden One Minute, and how neonatal resuscitation is a life-saving practice at hospitals. What was merely an exciting set of information, later became an adventure for us with the direct exposure at the Paropakar Maternity Hospital, whereas data collectors, not only did we have the chance to learn about real-time observation but also about the system, the challenges, the public hospital management and the situation of maternal and neonatal health. What was once an opportunity for research for us, later became a thought-provoking space of critical analysis, and this was an important aspect of my journey at the Golden Community.

The introduction to the clinical field was adventurous, but what was exciting was the responsibility to be a part of the facilitation that led to bringing small and big changes along with the influence in decision making, through the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles. These quality interventions were a witness to what the scope of research could bring to the scope of interventions and management. It was amazing to witness the great enthusiasm and interest of the health workers in deciding on better service delivery and being patient-centric. This can be useful learning for the health system, which is always blamed for having mismanagement of patient needs and desires.

As an intern, not only did I learn about the research methodologies commonly practiced at the Golden Community, but also about the wider field of diversity in methodologies and how the world has been around this scope. We had several complaints about being involved in a number of translations and transcriptions, but what was important was that we were heard, and we were provided with opportunities and spaces to explore our potential and interests. Our involvement in program planning, cohort follow-up, delivery, research, manuscript writing, real-time data observation, report writing, and many more can’t simply be outlined in full detail here, but I am proud that we chose the place we did and I am also proud that as a young emerging researcher it is organizations like the Golden Community that help generate evidence worth referring to while formulating policies and mechanisms for the systems.

I am grateful to the working environment, colleagues, my supervisors, and all the different experiences we had at the Golden Community, and trust that it will help create more opportunities for all levels of health professionals to excel and generate outcomes that strengthen the health service delivery in Nepal.