Hello from the Land Down-Under! It’s Jane here again! Although since my last blog post I have moved 11,000 miles from home to the east coast of Australia for five months for my Paediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynaecology clinical placements!
At Nottingham, a large proportion of courses offer opportunities to spend some time studying abroad at universities all over the world in partnership with the University, and Medicine is not excluded from this.
The main opportunities to study abroad in medical school at UoN occur in the fourth year. For a semester of this year year, there are a few places for medical students from Nottingham to exchange with medical students from the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia, or the University of Oslo, Norway, for their Paediatrics and Obs & Gynae clinical placements. Alternatively, there is the chance to spend a month in one of many European countries under the Special Study Module (SSM). Another chance to practice medicine abroad is during the two-month ‘elective’ after the final exams at the end of the fifth year.
I thought I would tell you a bit about my experiences in Australia so far and give you a bit of insight into my life over here! I have been in Australia for four months so far and I can’t believe how fast time has flown! Sadly, I only have just over one month left in this wonderful country, and the fact I feel quite sick every time I think of having to leave, probably gives you an indication of how much I am loving every minute of my time here!
All of the six exchange students from Nottingham are based at The John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, which is one of the busiest hospitals in the region, with many main specialist units located here. The outline of the semester is 6 weeks in Paediatrics, 6 weeks in Obs & Gynae, 2 weeks each of an ‘elective’ in both paeds and O&G where you get to choose a sub-specialty of each area, and a two-week holiday!
Every week in each rotation is spent based in a different area of the specialty. For example, I am currently on my Obs&Gynae placement, and typical weeks included assisting in operating theatres for C-sections or gynaecology surgeries, helping women through labour and childbirth in the Delivery Suite, attending antenatal clinics of women from their initial ‘Booking In’ appointment, to their final appointment often days or even hours before giving birth, and many more! It has been really interesting to compare and contrast the differences between the healthcare system here and the NHS. There are also unique differences specific to the country, such as healthcare within the Aboriginal and other indigenous communities, and it has been thought-provoking to have exposure to this.
Time to relax
Thankfully, life in Australia seems to be a lot more relaxed than at home so I have plenty of time to spend on the many beaches here, (attempting) surfing, bushwalks, going to festivals and markets, travelling and exploring surrounding areas, or just relaxing with friends! Shortly, I will have my two-week holiday and I am embarking on a road trip of the east coast of Australia, starting from the Great Barrier Reef and down through Queensland and NSW! So it’s safe to say it’s not all work and no play!
There were only six places available for this exchange and I was absolutely convinced I wouldn’t have had a chance of getting a place, but having that moment of courage to apply was by far the best thing I have ever done. I cannot even begin to explain how much I have loved every minute of being here, how much I have learnt from the people I have met and the experiences I’ve had, and how much of that I will take back home with me to better myself as a person and as a doctor for my patients.