Scholarships for 3rd year medical students from the University of Sydney
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- 2010 3rd year medical students from University of Sydney
- 2009 3rd year medical students from University of Sydney
- 2008 3rd year medical students from University of Sydney
- 2007 3rd year medical students from University of Sydney
Reports to come
Report by Sara Clarke, Tu Du Hospital, Ho chi Minh City, Vietnam
I completed four weeks of my elective term at Tu Du hospital. Tu Du is the largest maternity hospital in Vietnam. It is situated in Ho Chi Minh City and plays a major role in the education of local medical and nursing students as well as midwives from the remote, minority tribe regions. On average 100 newborns are delivered each day at the hospital. In addition to obstetric services the hospital also offers gynaecological, fertility, NICU, genetic testing and pathology services.
The activities that I undertook during my time at Tu Du hospital were based on my learning objectives. As such I spent the majority of my time in the delivery department. This department consisted of a large room separated into six smaller rooms, each containing two lithotomy beds (see photo). The typical process of entry into this room begins when the labouring woman presents to the emergency department at Tu Du. Due to difficulties with transport and the scarcity of ambulance services, she will usually present early in the first stage of labour and remain at the hospital for the entirety of her labour. This ensures that emergency transport to the hospital, due to unexpected complications or fast progression of labour, is not required. The pregnant woman is then admitted to the maternity ward which is a large room containing approximately 40 haphazardly arranged beds, without privacy curtains. When delivery is imminent the woman is moved into the delivery room.
My Học Mãii four week clinical experience in Hanoi promised to be a wonderful opportunity to improve my medical knowledge and skills, as well as to form friendships with Vietnamese health care workers.
The scholarship not only exceeded my expectations in these key areas, but also offered me the opportunity to form relationships with allied health care workers back home and to gain an insight into the Vietnamese culture and way of life.
The four weeks I spent in Bach Mai Hospital - one of the largest in Vietnam - provided me with a chance to complement the last two years of predominantly university based learning with an extended period of clinical exposure. I was able to observe a wide range of medical procedures and clinical care, particularly in the area of surgery. Continued...
As a recipient of a Hoc Mai Foundation scholarship, I was fortunate enough to be able to spend four weeks of my Elective Term at the National Hospital of Paediatrics (NHP) in Hanoi. My time was primarily spent with the surgical department, however I did have the chance to visit other departments around the hospital to gain a deeper insight into medical practice in Viet Nam. This leg of my elective ran from July 20th to August 14th 2009, that is, during the Hanoian summer. Continued...
Hoc Mai Foundation – A Month at Bac Mai Hospital Dec 2009 (Hanoi), by Uma Selvanathan
Between Dec 5-Jan 2, I spent a month in Hanoi, Vietnam with a group of students from Sydney Medical School, 2 Nursing students, 1 speech pathology student and 1 physiotherapy student. Having just completed my second year of medical school as I arrived in Hanoi, my experience with the program was a phenomenal one that permitted me to consolidate my “classroom learning” from the past 2 years and translate it to a clinical, hospital-based context. Additionally, I was able to learn a lot about the Vietnamese culture and the practice of medicine in a developing country.
I spent my 4 weeks at Bac Mai hospital, one of the largest hospitals in Hanoi. The first two weeks were spent in general surgery and ICU, and the last 2 weeks with the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department. Initially, we were unsure as to how much we would be able to see and do as none of us spoke any Vietnamese and most of the patients spoke no English. We soon found out that many aspects of medicine is in fact, universal and we were able to follow surgeries and the ICU rounds and clue in on what was going on. Continued...
Vietnam – a nation of delicious food, amazing people, breathtaking landscapes…and minimal pain relief.
The Học Mãi scholarships provided seven University of Sydney students with the opportunity to experience both the culture and the medical practices of a nation vastly different to Australia. On placements at hospitals in HaNoi, DaNang, and Ho Chi Minh City, we viewed first-hand the horror of motorcycle accidents, the joy of childbirth, and the effects of limited resources.
At Viet Duc Surgical Hospital in HaNoi, we witnessed many families queuing every morning, waiting to visit their loved ones; case after case of mangled hands and severed limbs due to unsafe occupational practices; brain tumors left to grow in patients who cannot afford medical care; and major head and limb injuries due to motorcycle and car accidents.
As one of the Học Mãi scholars described it, “there was a mixture of emotion in the air; a sense of uncertainty in the eyes of family contrasted to one of pragmatic brashness of the doctors trying to help the overwhelming number of patients.”
However, despite their horrific injuries and illnesses, we were constantly amazed at the stoicism and resilience of the Vietnamese people, whose pain appeared to be controlled with the most basic forms of pain relief, such as intra-venous paracetamol ¬– even for major limb injuries, such as amputations.
It was eye-opening to come from a medical system where syringes, sutures, and neck braces are expected as standard care to a country where these are limited.Limited resources notwithstanding, we observed excellent surgical and clinical skills, and felt privileged to be accepted into the Vietnamese medical community. Despite the time constraints, these talented doctors still took the time to share their knowledge – and practice their English!
At Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, we assisted with childbirth, took patient histories, and collected data for public health studies. Everyday we would learn something new, such as the differences in the relationships between patients and doctors, the impact of cultural beliefs on health care, and the difficulties faced in working in a developing country.
Outside of medicine, the Học Mãi scholarship provided us an opportunity to embrace a culture, make new friends, experience the excitement of Tết (Lunar New Year), and refine our palates in relation to the subtleties of regional beers and spring rolls.
We are very grateful to the Học Mãi Foundation for making this opportunity available. It has contributed invaluable experiences and memories, and allowed us to forge bonds with other medical professionals in a country vastly different to our own.
Tamara Rickersey and Paula Conroy
We have just spent four weeks at the Tu Du Maternity Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. It was an inspiring and eye-opening experience and we are grateful to have been given the opportunity from TuDu Hospital, the Hoc Mai Foundation and the Northern Clinical School to be able work in such an incredible environment.
Tu Du Hospital Delivery Suite staff attends to approximately 200 deliveries per day and over 70,000 each year. It was in the engine room of this amazing machine, the delivery department, that we spent our time for this placement. We were overseen by Madame Trinh, the Head Midwife of the department and midwife extraordinaire and were very fortunate to have such a wonderful tutor teach us about the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology in Vietnam. Ms Trinh was a 2007 Hoc Mai Foundation/AusAID Fellowship recipient.
From day 1, we were made to feel extremely welcome and were encouraged to get involved in all aspects of the delivery process. The numerous midwifes, midwifery student, doctors and medical students were happy to teach us the art of delivery at Tu Du as well as immediate post-natal care for both mother and baby.
The overall experience has made us more confident in the practice of obstetrics and gynaecology and has also taught us much about the Vietnamese culture – we are very grateful to the Hoc Mai Foundation for this opportunity.