By Janet Okraku- Mantey

At the start of the Spring semester, my aim was to secure a global focused practicum. The thoughts of working directly with researchers impacting change through public health research in settings similar to home influenced this. As the semester progressed, we were hit with a global pandemic and chances of international travel gradually faded.

I successfully secured a practicum with Kybele, a non-profit organization, assisting with an ongoing research in Ghana to identify the gaps in obstetric service delivery by assessing patient satisfaction level to care received using survey instruments. I have been tasked with conducting an in-depth literature review to identify evidence-based methods used by researchers to assess patient satisfaction. Additionally, with the help of my preceptor, we will conduct a quantitative analysis of data from previously conducted surveys and compare our findings to those in recently published studies.

Securing the practicum was a bittersweet experience as I was faced with the canceled possibility of having to have practicum in my home country and not being able to be present. Though the pandemic took away the possibility of that experience, it gave room for me to learn to be helpful without being present.

My outdoor office.

My outdoor office.

Over the past few weeks, I have connected remotely with the librarians in the UNC Health Sciences Library to identify appropriate search terms to identify recently published literature on various databases such as PubMed, Scopus and Google scholar. I have successfully read and reviewed about 150 articles and in the process of completing my literature review.

I am still bummed I was unable to do this practicum in person in Ghana and get the opportunity to spend some time with family back home, but I have learned through this pandemic to take a day at a time and appreciate things around me.

I am thus grateful for the friends I have here in North Carolina and appreciative of the time I get to spend with them after work hours. We have spent time together cooking, baking, exercising and hiking and having great conversations.