Madam, These days, quite a number of students enter medical school with the intention of going abroad to do their residency training. As final year students, this idea becomes even more daunting as the decision to choose the future path becomes inevitable. In order to gain exposure to the practice of medicine abroad, a lot of students go overseas during their breaks for clinical experience such as observer ship, clinical elective or research elective.
We got a similar opportunity. The differences we observed were eye opening. The medical health practitioners and the medical students were extremely professional. A major reason for their professionalism was the fact that they were given many responsibilities, which were similar to those being given to the residents. The protocols and guidelines were followed strictly. The ethics of the patient doctor confidentiality were greatly respected. The reason for this was the strict laws and penalties. Students are accountable for their actions since everything was documented. The knowledge of pharmacology, including drug dosages and sliding scales was commendable in the students abroad. Good patient interaction was an important key factor in the practice. It was essential to ensure that the patient was comfortable and trusted the doctor completely. Procedures such as lumbar puncture and central line insertion were performed with ease. A surprising drawback in the student training abroad, that we observed, was that their diagnosis was heavily influenced by laboratory work up. Although a drawback, this has made the students highly skilled in radiology. The advancement in technology is kept up to date by the recent researches and evidence based data available to the students. This emphasis on research ensures that students strive to conduct researches.
The medical students abroad are also prepared during medical school only, to take exams that make them eligible for their residency training. Looking at the medical training in Pakistan, the students have an advantage of completing their medical school within a shorter span of time as opposed to programmes in Germany and USA, which take much longer. In our medical schools, there is a great deal of stress given to clinical examinations and hence the students taper their differential diagnosis on history and examination. Paper work and most minor procedures are learned during the house job. This causes an enormous increase in responsibility. Minimizing these differences will ensure that Pakistani students can easily adjust to the system abroad, thus providing them a huge advantage.
Syeda Dania Shujaat, Basmah Naser Jilani
5th Year MBBS Students, Ziauddin Medical College, Karachi.
Corresponding Author: Syeda Dania Shujaat.