Electives in Oceania

NICU in Melborne (2018)

Where?

NICU in Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

How did you organise your elective?

Information and application form on the following website: https://medicine.unimelb.edu.au/school-structure/paediatrics/study/clinical-electives
Deadline was very early – April of the year before the elective (i.e. April 2017 for elective in 2018)

Costs

$800 fee if accepting a placement (4 weeks)
~£800 flights
~£1000 accommodation (7 weeks, Airbnb)
~£25 DBS check
Free visa
Travel in Melbourne – free tram zone in the centre of the city, outside of this single journey ~$4

Describe a typical day

8:30am – handover
9:00am – ward round
11:30am – coffee break!
Lunchtime and afternoon – join doctors doing jobs and procedures, take histories from parents, examine babies, join transport team, follow babies to theatre

Team was very friendly and got me involved with tasks and baby checks. Attendance expected depended on the consultant in charge for the week, some weeks I was in all week and other weeks were more flexible. A few teaching sessions a week and joined the medical student teaching once a week.

Best bits?

Aussie accents <3 Being in one of the leading children’s hospitals in the world and seeing super rare and cool things. Exploring Australia, spotting wild koalas and penguins, cool restaurants and cafés, awesome sunrise views from accommodation, nice cool but sunny weather, night markets and food!

Worst bits?

Very long flight! Things are also quite far away in Australia so was difficult to explore outside of Melbourne.

Travelling & Exploring

Museums, markets, restaurants, galleries, parks, hiking, beach, coastal road trip, zoo

Other comments

Australia was very much like the UK, but their doctors were more relaxed! Bear in mind it is their winter as well – I quite enjoyed the cool weather but others may not!

Contact

tanya.li.1295@gmail.com

Return to Top

General Paediatrics in Fiji (2018)

Where?

General paediatrics, including neonates  in Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Suva, Fiji

How did you organise your elective?

I emailed Alisi Batimoko, the electives coordinator for Fiji, at alibi.batimoko@fnu.ac.fj. She sent me an application form that I had to complete. I had a choice of specialities: Medicine/Surgery/Paediatrics/O&G/Community Medicine?Dentistry/Physiotherapy/Emergency Medicine. I applied a year in advance and had a free choice of specialities at the time. If you apply a reasonable amount of time in advance you should have no problem getting paediatrics. I also had to send her my CV, a letter of good standing from the University (the electives letter the clinical school provide was adequate) and a DBS check.

Costs

There was an application fee, which in GBP was equivalent to about £190. Return flights cost approximately £900. I went with two other students and we stayed in a B&B apartment called Island Apartments, which is a 5 minute walk from the hospital, and houses many visiting students and doctors who work at the hospital. It cost approx £60 per night (so £20 each) and we were very comfortable there. You will need to get a business visa within 14 days of arrival – for this you will need a return airline tickets your passport, a support letter from the Fiji National University (given to you on arrival at the placement) and you will need to pay FJD 180 (approx £65).

Describe a typical day

Typically, I went in for handover at 8am. Sometimes this would be accompanied by half an hour of teaching. Then I would attach myself to one of the junior doctors and help them with their work for the day. Often I went to the postnatal ward, where I helped to do baby checks on the babies about to be discharged. I also accompanied junior doctors to C-section calls, where we would receive and resuscitate (if needed) the newborn. Sometimes I went on the ward rounds, where I was mostly shadowing. There was no specific teaching organised for us, and we were not told about any teaching from our supervisor, but we heard about some medical student teaching that was taking place from the Fijian medical students, and they were happy for us to join their teaching. I had the opportunity to take blood from children, if I wanted, but there was no pressure to do this if I did not feel comfortable. It was very much up to us what we did each day. I often finished at lunchtime and I took several days off to explore Fiji on long weekends.

Best bits?

Exploring Fiji – it’s a beautiful country with lovely beaches and very friendly people

Worst bits?

I came down with some sort of bug half way through and was confined to a bed for three days. I probably caught it off a patient – there aren’t really any hand washing facilities in the hospital so it is definitely worth bringing a little bottle of hand sanitiser with you.

Travelling & Exploring

Explored a few of Fiji’s many islands, lay around on beaches, snorkelled and kayaked.

Other comments

If you would like to do an elective in Fiji I definitely recommend Suva. It’s the capital city and still seemed really small! However it did have a shopping centre cinema and restaurants etc. If you were in a smaller city or town you might find yourself lacking in shops and entertainment to get you through the week. On this note, I only spent 4 weeks of my elective in Fiji and I felt this was perfect. Spending the whole 7 weeks here might be a bit long, as aside from island hopping (which, don’t get me wrong, is AMAZING!) there isn’t a lot else here in terms of sightseeing or entertainment facilities. I definitely recommend combining Fiji with another destination so you get to experience two places instead of one! Several of my friends combined a stay in the South Pacific Islands with a trip to Australia or New Zealand.

Contact

mariaseago@hotmail.co.uk

Return to Top

Melborne (& Singapore)

Where? 

I spent 5 weeks at Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne and 2.5 weeks at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Singapore.

What?

In Melbourne, I carried out a research project investigating cerebral autoregulation in preterm infants. The experience gave me real appreciation of neonatal intensive care and translational medicine – I was able to observe cell studies, animal studies and clinical research. The project was an invaluable learning experience and taught me many new skills. In Singapore, I did an attachment with the Department of Child Development, which was an interesting insight into different healthcare structures. I was involved with various clinics at the Department and observed multidisciplinary assessments and interventions. I also had the opportunity to get involved with patient recruitment and data collection for an ongoing research study investigating screen device use and sleep habits in children.

Why go? 

Well-established units, friendly people, abundant opportunities to gain new skills and knowledge, explore your interests and widen perspectives.

Contact 

ihxn2@cam.ac.uk

Return to Top

New Zealand

Where?

I spent 7 weeks of the summer (2015) at the Wellington Hospital in New Zealand.

How?

I emailed some family friends who lived in Wellington to help sort things out, as they knew a few people at the hospital.

What?

I spent the majority of my elective getting involved in the clinical side of things: joining in with ward rounds, helping out with jobs, and going to clinics. The most interesting thing I saw was probably a kid with tummy pain who turned out to have acute rheumatic fever, with severe AV/MV involvement.

Why go? 

New Zealand is incredible – it is my favourite place I have ever visited! Travelling around NZ was the most amazing experience – I got to go skiing, skydiving, bungee jumping, whale watching and loads more. The hospitals aren’t too different to UK hospitals, so it wasn’t too much of a culture shock. And New Zealand people are really really friendly and lovely.

Contact

acd50@cam.ac.uk

New Zealand

Return to Top