July 5, 2016, by studentcontributor

Elective in Thailand

Having originally decided to spend my elective in the UK due to family and other reasons, I came across the option of going to Thailand through some friends.  I did some research and spoke with a few members of staff and was convinced that the trip would be very worthwhile, in expanding my horizons as a clinician.  I took up the option to work within the General Surgery department, and travelled out to Thailand to link up with two other Nottingham University students.

Upon arrival in Bangkok, Miss Ruangsri, the medical administration officer for Srinakharinwirot University Hospital (SWU) and my two Nottingham University colleagues greeted me at the airport.  The university had kindly arranged a shuttle bus to the campus, which took approximately 90 minutes.  During the journey I was given a thorough briefing of the elective and provided with a timetable.

Located within a lush green oasis known as Ongkharak, the campus itself is wonderfully designed, and comprises, a large lake, with multiple canals and bridges.  We were provided with some very comfortable accommodation free of charge.  There are multiple facilities for students including a swimming pool, indoor badminton courts and tennis courts scattered around.

Dr Narongchai and I

Dr Narongchai and I

On the first day of the placement I was introduced to my supervisor Dr Narongchai, who gave me a tour of the facilities and introduced me to the team.  The hospital is a large modern building and is very easy to navigate around.  It was an absolute pleasure throughout working for Dr Narongchai, as he is one of the kindest and best teachers I have ever had the fortune of meeting.  His team was also excellent and Dr Chadanai would ensure I was able to get involved in all aspects.

I was involved in outpatients, theatre work, general ward work and teaching sessions.  I was able to assist in several operations including a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, gastrectomy and several hernia repairs.  I had the opportunity to close up the surgical wounds and given a lot of teaching on suturing techniques and instrument use.  During the outpatient clinics I cleaned up, debrided and dressed wounds.  Overall from a medical education point of view the experience was brilliant and I thoroughly recommend this institution. Throughout my stay I felt extraordinarily privileged as everybody would go out of their way to help in any way they could.  There are far too many highlights to list here, but I will mention my favourites.

On the second day we were introduced to the Dean of the medical school and asked to attend a gowning ceremony for the 4th year students who received their lab coats for entry to the clinical phases.  We were told about the history of medicine in Thailand and at Ongkharak.


Gowning ceremony

I felt extremely welcome, and it was mentioned that we were the first Nottingham University students to do an elective since the joint programme was founded.  I feel so proud that I made the decision to attend SWU.  Although I was missing my wife and two children throughout the two weeks, the people at SWU made me feel so welcome that it was like being with a second family.

From a clinical point of view, being involved in a 5-hour gastrectomy operation and then being asked to close the final layer of the wound was an absolute privilege. Words just cannot do justice to the overall experience of the elective.

- (From left) Miss Ruangsri, Dr Narkwichean, Medical school sub-dean, Dean of the Medical School, colleagues and myself

From left: Miss Ruangsri, Dr Narkwichean, Medical school sub-dean, Dean of the Medical School, colleagues and myself


Meeting with the Dean and his team

Meeting with the Dean and his team

I cannot speak highly enough of Miss Ruangsri and Dr Amarin Narkwichean.  Miss Ruangsri went out of her way to help with the organizational aspects of the elective.  She was available at all times and ensured we were well orientated and safe.  I would also like to personally thank Dr Amarin Narkwichean in helping with the joint programme and organisation of the elective itself.  He was also kind enough to lend his own motorbike so we could get around campus in the sweltering heat.

Finally I would like to thank Dr Susan Anderson and Dr Vincent Wilson of The University of Nottingham, for enabling and facilitating the elective and maintaining excellent relations between the two institutions.  Having learned more about the joint programme before and during the elective I feel very proud to be linked to both SWU and Nottingham University.  I would thoroughly recommend this elective to any future medical students, and I only hope my words can do justice to an absolutely fabulous experience.

Sunset in beautiful Thailand

Sunset in beautiful Thailand


–This report by Imran is a brief account of his two-week elective visit at SWU in Bangkok, Thailand from 23rd May to 3rd June 2016. 

Posted in MedicineStudy Abroad