This Month Allowed Me to Grow As a Person
Rosário Calado, studentka 5. ročníku Všeobecného lékařství, strávila letní stáž v brazilském městě Campina Grande. Píše esej a posílá fotografie. V angličtině.
When I applied for the IFMSA summer internship, I never expected to have such a wonderful experience as I did. I wanted to do the fourth-year summer internships abroad and the IFMSA internships were the perfect opportunity to do so. When the time came to apply to the countries where I would like to spend one month of my summer, I knew I would like to spend it somewhere where I would be exposed to new experiences, where I could have an active role during the four weeks of internship and also where I could travel and visit new places. As during our fourth year of studies, we have to take two weeks of Paediatrics and two weeks of Internal Medicine, two very clinical oriented subjects, I thought Brazil would be the perfect combination of everything that I wanted with the added advantage that there would be no language barrier as I'm Portuguese.
When I saw that I got accepted in Brazil I got very excited but at the same time a tiny bit nervous, as it would be one month away from home on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Time flew by and July arrived pretty fast, and there I was in the airport ready to catch the flight to Campina Grande, Brazil.
Campina Grande is located towards the interior of the state of Paraiba and even though it wasn't my first choice, it turned out to be the perfect place to spend one month. As soon as I landed, Paula, one of my host students, was there to pick me up and at the same night, our hosts took us to O Maior São João do Mundo, the biggest party of the city that lasts thirty days, where we met some of the faculty students and had the opportunity to have our first taste of Brazil.
Monday arrived and so did the first day of the internship and to be honest, I was anxious to know how everyone would receive me and how my days in the hospital would be. Everyone was extremely welcoming and made me feel very comfortable and part of the team. I was very surprised by the amount of work and responsibility Brazilian students have since their fourth year and fifth year. In the Paediatric ward as in the Internal Medicine ward, each student had at his care, at least, five patients, which they had to evaluate every morning, book any exam needed and make alterations to the patient prescription as required. The doctor responsible for the ward would arrive later and there would be place for a discussion, where the students presented their patients and the doctor would agree or not with the treatment plan created. During the afternoons, some of the students would stay on the ward, while others would go to the ambulatory, where they would be the ones conducting every appointment (always in the presence of a doctor/teacher).
During the first three days, I had a more passive role, as I was getting used to the ward routine but quickly picked up the pace and got patients of my own. During my four weeks of Paediatrics and Internal Medicine, I was exposed to a series of clinical cases that I would hardly found in Europe, patients from a wide range of social backgrounds and to a very clinical and theory-based type of medicine as many times there wouldn't be the possibility to perform some exams due to lack of means to do so. I also had the chance to spend two afternoons in the small surgeries department, where I was able to give my first stitches on a patient.
Overall, this month allowed me to grow as a person and as a medical student as I learned to trust more on my skills, feel more confident in the hospital environment and had the opportunity to meet wonderful doctors and teachers, who taught me a lot.
The fact that I went to Brazil with a very good friend of mine and also student of our faculty, Rute Castelhano (fifth year), made this all experience even better. During the weekends, we used our free time to travel with our host students and sometimes just the two of us travelled. We visited Joao Pessoa, Maceió, Natal, Pipa, Recife, Porto de Galinhas and Olinda. We saw beautiful places, met amazing people, tasted delicious food and took with us lovely memories.
I am sure this experience wouldn't have been so positive and memorable, if I hadn't meet Paula and Antônia, my two host students who always made me feel at home, all the doctors and hospital staff who took their time to teach and help me, the patients that I had the chance to meet, the new friends that I made and Rute, my adventure partner.