May 16, 2016, by studentcontributor

Hello from Australia!

Hello and welcome from sunny Australia! My name’s Josh and I’m a final-year student currently on my elective at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.

The Elective

What exactly is an elective, I hear you ask? Well, after enduring the trials and stresses of final exams in February, the elective is our reward: a 6-week block where we’re free to go and study medicine anywhere in the world that takes our fancy! Many people use this as a chance to unwind a little before starting work in August, while getting some first-hand experience in a specialty and/or country that interests them. Generally people arrange their electives by contacting the hospital they want to work at directly – most large hospitals worldwide will have a formal, well-trodden electives programme for students to come and try. For the developing countries, some people choose to go with charities or voluntary organisations that help to make the whole experience a little less daunting. However you choose to go about organising it, everyone returns saying their elective was the best part of their entire med school journey!

For mjosh1-1e, I knew I wanted to head to a country with a developed healthcare system, plenty of sun and an exciting city to explore at the weekends – Sydney was the obvious choice! I’ve chosen to spend 3 weeks in each of psychiatry and radiology – two specialties I’m interested in back home and wanted to get more experience of before starting “real work”! I’m now in my last week of psychiatry, and I’m having a great time. My day consists of clinics, home visits, outreach to Aboriginal health facilities and occasionally formal teaching sessions (which often include a free lunch!). The work is vaied and interesting, and most days I work 8:30am-4pm, leaving plenty of time in the evenings to experience life Down Under!

Outside of work, I’ve been able to visit some of New South Wales’ best attractions, from the iconic Opera House to the Blue Mountains to the stunning Palm Beach – savvy readers might recognise this as the film set for that unmistakably Aussie export, “Home and Away”! I’ve even managed to tag a week up in Cairns onto the end of my trip, where I’ll be diving off the Great Barrier Reef and hiking in the ancient Daintree Rainforest! This is quite literally “a world away” from the long days of lectures you might think of when talking about medical school.

As for me, the lessons and experiences I’ve had in Australia will definitely shape my practice for the better at home. With the rich multiculturalism of the UK growing ever greater, a worldly doctor is a good doctor!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to cuddle a koala!



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