A residency rotation in Peru

Each year an increasing number of medicine residents in the 3rd or 4th year choose to take an elective rotation in Peru.  This is a great opportunity, especially for residents who did not get to take a student elective abroad in their final year at medical school.

Each residency program in the US has its own policy regarding international elective rotations.  Some actively promote electives abroad whilst other prohibit international rotations. However, an increasing number of programs see the value in their residents having the opportunity to experience health care abroad.

Experiencing health care in a developing county provides medicine residents with the opportunity to see different pathologies and to work with fewer resources. A residency rotation in Peru is something that can benefit any resident and not only those looking for opportunities in Global Health

Obviously, an elective rotation abroad also means seeing at least a little of the country and its places of interest.


Hospital Rotations

The Medical Elective Network is based in the colonial city of Trujillo, where we work with many hospitals.  These include large teaching hospitals and smaller community hospitals.   The most popular rotations for our resident participants are Emergency Medicine,  Ob/Gyn, Internal Medicine and Family Medicine. However, all main specialties are available.  In the departments, you will find that some local professionals and students have English though many do not.

Clinical rotations normally take place in the mornings.  However, some include the option of the occasional night shift or afternoon.  If you have a free morning you can take extra language classes.

You will rotate in a facility of one of the two Peruvian government health care systems, Es Salud and MINSA.  As well as working with these state systems, The Medical Elective Network also partners with NGO health facilities working with patients with few resources. 

Communicate with Spanish speaking patients

Based in Peru, The Medical Elective Network programs are designed around the development of medical Spanish. Residents choosing to take electives with us are primarily motivated by our medical Spanish immersion program.  Being able to develop or improve communication with Spanish speaking patients is a real benefit to residents working in many hospitals in the US.  where 45 million speak Spanish as a first or second language.  In many locations, the ability to communicate in Spanish is a real asset for health care professionals, as well as their employers.

Our medical Spanish program takes place each afternoon for 4 hours per day.  We have a teams of language teachers and health care professionals providing classes covering Conversation, Grammar, Vocabulary and Pure Medical Spanish.  The classes are intensive and comprehensive.  The program does not simply provide medical vocabulary and phrases.  Rather, it is designed to enable students to communicate in Spanish in both health care environments and beyond.

Most residents taking our language program have come across Spanish speaking patients whilst at work.  Many see patients every day.  However, the residents themselves arrive with a wide range of Spanish language experience.  Some arrive as complete Spanish beginners and others advanced.  Our team of teachers will place you in the most appropriate class for your level.

Spanish beginners have the option of a further 2 hours each morning, to help speed language development.  Many choose this option for a week or so before taking a hospital rotation.  Others choose to take this 6-hour intensive language program instead of taking a hospital rotation.

Accredited medical Spanish

The has a huge 108.25 CME credits with the American Academy of Family Physicians, reflecting the quality of the programs we offer.  This includes credits for both clinical rotation and medical Spanish program.

medical Spanish books

Living with a Peruvian Family

A residency rotation in Peru is further enriched by staying with a local family.  A welcoming family offers both language and cultural immersion.  We work with a small number of families all just a few minutes’ walk from our center.  They are professional households with comfortable homes.  All have Wi-Fi,  and private rooms for program participants, many with private bathrooms.   More importantly our families are interested in our participants and offer the immersion that adds to the student’s language learning and overall experience.

Health care Campaigns

One aspect of our programs that residents particularly enjoy are the Community Health Fairs.  These take place a few times each month with local partners such as municipal authorities and the National Police.   For residents, the health fairs are an ideal opportunity to put their medical experience and developing language skills into practice.  Typically, you and other participants will see over 100 patients with a variety of conditions.  At these health fairs, we provide free consultations and medicine.

Most health fairs take place in municipal facilities or central squares.  Here the client group are mainly women and children. However, we also carry out health fairs at the local prison which houses both  male and female patients.

Residents can see their own patients with the support of language support and local doctors.  Local doctors write any required prescriptions for patients

Discover Peru

Of course, depending on what time you have available, a residency rotation in Peru would not be complete without seeing at least some of what this beautiful and fascinating country offers.

Our home, Trujillo, is a modern city but also Spanish colonial city with mansions and churches dotted around the historic center.  Within 20 minutes of the city center are the seaside town and surfers paradise Huanchaco, and the fascinating archeological sites of Chan Chan and La huacas del Sol y la Luna.

Within 2 hours are the wine growing region of Cascas and the Andes town of Otuzco, with fantastic views along the way.

Most program participants choose to use at least one weekend to travel.  The most popular destination being the mountains around the Huaraz area.  These are the highest mountains in Peru with fantastic trekking.  The most popular trek being Laguna 69 which is a 4 hour trek up to 4600m.  At the top, you will find the blue lake with the backdrop of a glacier.

Another weekend trip option is the historic Andes town of Cajamarca, where the last Inca emperor was killed by the Spanish in 1533.

North of Trujillo is the coastal destination, Mancora, with miles of great beaches and the opportunity to swim with giant sea turtles.

Of course, the most famous destination in Peru is the amazing Machu Picchu and the nearest city, Cusco.  Direct flights to Cusco are available from Trujillo for those looking to go over a long weekend, though most program participants choose to go at the end of their program.

You should also consider Chachapoyas and Kuelap considered locally to be the new Machu Picchu, but with only 1% of the tourist of Cusco.  Take a look at this youtube video to see if it is worth the trip.

Residency Rotation in Peru

For a resident looking for a rotation abroad, Peru is a great option to consider.  Here you will experience health care, typically with fewer resources than at home, and probably see conditions in later stages than you have seen at home.  Perhaps more importantly, you can quickly improve and develop your medical Spanish language skills, and apply this as soon face your next Spanish speaking patient at home.

To learn more about a  residency rotation in Peru for you, please contact kevin@medical-electives.net