A Good Umbrella Was Essential

Roxane Isabel Riemer, a fifth-year student of General Medicine, visited the Great North Children Hospital in Newcastle, United Kingdom. She sends an essay and pictures.

Dr Michal Malina and Roxane Riemer,
under the eyes of Queen Victoria.
Photographs on this page: Archive of the author.

I did a medical elective at the Great North Children Hospital (GNCH) in Newcastle Upon Tyne (Northumbria, UK).

The GNCH is one of the largest paediatric hospitals in the UK and one of the tenpaediatric kidney transplant centres. It has a strong link with Newcastle University and promotes clinical and translational research and teaching. It also shares site with the National Renal Complement Therapeutics Centre that provides nationwide clinical guidance for atypical HUS. It was a month full of interesting and enriching experiences.

My supervisor was Dr Michal Malina – who was by coincidence also an alumnus of our faculty. Currently, he is a consultant paediatric nephrologist for the GNCH and aHUS services. Dr Malina was so kind (maybe also thanks to our shared alma mater) and agreed to be my supervisor. He was extremely helpful in the organisation of my elective.

I arranged the application, insurance, stay etc. by myself, and Dr Malina linked me to consultants from the clinical departments I wished to attend. I was able to see a wide spectrum of different departments and patients thanks to this. It ranged from paediatric nephrology, endocrinology over neonatology to general paediatrics.

I joined ward rounds, outpatient clinics, consultations and the operation theatre.

The teaching program was excellent. In most of the departments, the morning started with a small presentation, followed by a ward round or consultations. On the second day I took my first patient history alone, which I had to present directly afterwards to a consultant. It might seem like being thrown into the cold water, but it was a really good way to strengthen already learned skills from the third and fourth year, while gathering more experiences.

I was able to follow and examine patients diagnosed with a broad range of diseases, ranging from (atypical) HUS, endocrine complications following chemotherapy o r radiotherapy to congenital diseases (e.g. diaphragmatic hernia). 

The staff and the people in Newcastle in general were really nice and friendly, which was a pleasant surprise because I didn´t know what to expect.

Northumberland does not only provide medical expertise but also a beautiful landscape, dramatic coast and charming historic cities – e.g. York, Bamburgh and Durham. Scotland is only a stone throw away (Edinburgh ca. 180km).

It is a place full of history. The most famous frontier of the Roman Empire – the Hadrian´s Wall, traces of Vikings and last but not least the atmosphere of the “classical” English history.

To keep it short, the medical elective at the Great North Children Hospital was simply a great experience.

P.S. Even though the weather in the pictures attached is sunny, a good umbrella was essential.

Hadrian's Wall
Bamburgh Castle



Published: 3. 12. 2019 / Last update: 3. 12. 2019 / Responsible person: Mgr. Petr Andreas, Ph.D.