Micah – P.T. Student –  North Carolina, USA, (May, 2019)

Luke – Medical Student –  Oxford, UK, (May, 2019)

Danielle – Medical Student –  Texas, USA, (March, 2019)

Gregory – Charge Nurse –  California, USA (March , 2019)

Knox – Internal Med Resident –  California, USA (March, 2019)

Annabel – Medical Student –  Otago, New Zealand (Feb, 2019

Lisha – Medical Student –  New South Wales, Australia (Feb, 2019)

James – Medical Student –  New South Wales, Australia (Feb, 2019)

Rachel – Pediatrics Resident –  Michigan, USA (Jan, 2019)

Ruslana – Internal Medicine (Attending) –  Sweden (Jan, 2019)

Nikki – Family Medicine Resident – Wako, Texas (Jan, 2019)

Karen – Family Medicine Resident – MultiCare Health (Jan, 2019)

Emma – Medical student – Oregon Health & Science University (Dec, 2018)

Kellie – PA Student – Wayne State University (Nov, 2018)

Madison – PA Student – Wayne State University (Nov, 2018)

Brian – Family Medicine Resident – Oregon (Nov, 2018)

Kirk – PA Student – Wayne State University (Nov, 2018)

Devan – Physical Therapy Student – Elon University, (May, 2018)

Colin – PA student – Wayne State University (Nov, 2018)

Liz – Ob/Gyn Resident – Indiana University (May, 2018)

Christina – Resident – Saint Joseph Hospital, Denver (April, 2018)

Amanda – Physical Therapy Student – Elon University (April, 2018)

Emily – Medical Student – Duke University (Feb, 2018)

Mark – Medical Student – Temple University (April, 2018)

Maziar – Medical student – Drexel University (April, 2018)

Neha – Ob/Gyn Resident – University of Indiana (Jan, 2018)

Ashley – Physician Assistant Student – Rutgers University (Feb, 2018)

Alexander – Medical Student – University of Sydney (Feb, 2018)

Ashley – Medical Student – University of Arizona (Jan, 2018)

Kevin – Medical Resident – University of Indiana (Jan, 2018)

Remi – Medical Student – University of New South Wales (Jan, 2018)

Anna, Graduate nurse – (Aug. 2017)

Carolina, Nutrition – University of Bastyr (Aug. 2017)

Luci – Medical Student – The university of Notre Dame, Australia (Nov, 2017)

Carleigh High, Physical Therapy Student, Elon University, Elon, NC, USA (April-May 2017)

For my “elective program” I chose to go to Medical Electives in Trujillo, Peru- it was one of the best opportunities I’ve experienced and I’m so glad I decided to go!

Kevin and his staff are so nice and really make you feel welcome in Peru! They have lots of teachers who focus on different areas of Spanish (conversation, grammar, medicine, etc.) which is great because you have an energetic teacher who is eager to help you learn in all of your classes. It was also really nice to have a variety of teaching styles in order to obtain a better grasp on Peruvian Spanish. The medical classes were very useful in teaching us not only the Spanish vocabulary, but also subtle colloquialisms in order for us to better relate to our patients. Living with a host family also allowed for the opportunity to learn phrases and vocabulary unique to Peru. My host family was also amazing and invited us to family holiday meals and gatherings, really allowing us to feel part of the family during our stay.

I was fortunate to assist in several different hospitals during my stay in Trujillo. Each one had its own unique character and it was really nice to see the multiple aspects of healthcare in Peru. I really enjoyed conversing with local staff and learning their perspective on their reasoning behind specific treatments. They even asked a classmate and I to give an in-service presentation; it was a great forum for us to share and discuss different treatment options with each other. The hospital staff were amazing and became part of my family while I was there- they are such friendly and caring people and I’m so glad I was able to meet them through Medical Electives!

Just before I arrived in Trujillo, there was major flooding to the area and local residents needed help in various ways. One of the unique aspects of Medical Electives is that they helps set up health outreach campaigns in order to truly help connect you with the people who need help the most. Due to the flooding, while I was there these campaigns focused on flood victims living in the outskirts of Trujillo. These campaigns are not part of the required program, but are a volunteer opportunity to work alongside local healthcare providers, using minimal resources, and focusing on patient education. The health outreach campaigns were humbling and rewarding experiences and I only wish there would have been more of them during my time in Trujillo.

During my free time I really enjoyed getting to know Trujillo- meeting people at the gym, conversing with local restaurant owners, relaxing on the beaches, and running around neighborhood parks. Trujillo, and all of Peru, has a fascinating history and it was incredible to be able to explore some of the nearby historical wonders including Chan Chan. I also enjoy hiking and the mountains are not too far away and offer a fantastic weekend escape from the busy city. All in all, I am thrilled I chose to spend my time with Medical Electives and hope to make it back someday soon!!

Katie, Medicine , Saint George’s, University of London UK, (June 2017)

Justine Durno, Barts & The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK, (May 2017)

I chose to carry out my elective in Peru, and with Medical Electives, as I had some knowledge of Spanish, but I wanted to further it and be able to incorporate this with medicine. Every day I had at least one hour of medical Spanish class in which I learnt how to take a history in Spanish, and practiced a lot through role-playing.

I feel that this benefited me much more than just simply observing how the healthcare systems differed between the UK and Peru, as I am now able to bring a new skill to the team when I start working as an FY1. There is always going to be a delay before interpreters can attend to patients who cannot speak English, and if Spanish is their first language then even a few simple sentences to explain what is happening to them, will put them at ease.

I know from experience of having deaf relatives in hospital, that even having just one doctor that can communicate with you in your language (in their case, British Sign Language) at a basic level makes a huge difference to one’s experience as an inpatient, in what actually can be a scary place, even to English speakers, never mind those that don’t understand the language around them.

I found the medical Spanish classes endlessly useful when it came to attending medical outreach campaigns, as it meant I didn’t have to talk through an interpreter when asking my questions, thereby making the consultation more efficient. What the campaigns also reinforced to me, was how important it was to ask red flag questions. In each consultation we were armed only with a stethoscope and our ability to perform physical examinations, so we were unable to take samples, perform scans or even make referrals. Red flag questions were a great way to eliminate serious differentials, and put me at a bit more ease that we weren’t missing anything that would necessitate specialist attention. Asking red flag questions is something that I have to keep telling myself never to forget to ask, as it will be what saves my back, as well as patients’ lives.

My trip to South America was easily the best trip of my life. Not only was I able to immerse myself in South American living by staying with a homestay family, and experience what it was like being a medical student in completely different surroundings, but my confidence also grew more than I expected. Five years of medical school has taught me a lot of interpersonal and organisational skills, whereas in Peru I overcame my fear of speaking Spanish in public and making mistakes, so I came back to the UK feeling more self-assured, and I hope to carry that on to working life.

Muchas gracias The Medical Elective Network!

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