Name: Michelle Collins
Faculty and Year: 1st faculty, 6th year.
Country and organisation: Brasil, DENEM
Rio de Janeiro
Hospital and ward: Hospital Universitario Sul Fluminense, internal medicine and intensive care
The main part of my stay was in the general medicine ward and intensive care departments. Alejandro, another exchange student from Spain, and I were placed with a different doctor each day of the weak each of whom had different specializations, mainly cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, infectious diseases. Each morning from 8.30 until 12.30 we were on the wards and in the afternoons we had the option to go into surgery – both plastics and paediatrics. We could also visit both the paediatrics and obstetric wards and assist in any surgeries/deliveries.
The teaching was quite different to here in
Prague, as we had no lectures; it was purely practice on the wards. We had to attend case report presentations and also had to present a case report of our own. And also occasionally there were guest speakers to do a lecture but as these were in Portuguese only they were optional.
The hospital was very similar to both
England, although going on the home visits was quite an eye-opener. We visited some of the favelas and the standard of living was much lower than in the cities, but I found it an amazing experience to see both the well off and the poverty-stricken and the different problems they face. I also attended weekend sessions in the hospitals further out from the cities where they are desperate for doctors so the students get to do many things from suturing to assisting emergency surgeries. Some of the diseases we encountered were very different to what we see in
Czech Republic. I saw 3 or 4 children with rheumatic fever and Dengue fever and Chagas disease were seen too. Neither of which I had encountered before other than in textbooks.
As for the accommodation, I stayed with one of the medical students, Brunna, and her sister in their flat and they could not have been nicer. They arranged a great range of social events for me, from parties to visiting neighbouring cities and samba lessons. I also visited their family in
Sao Paulo and
Santos and got shown around these two cities, which was great, much more than I would have seen had I just been travelling there, alone! I made many friends there all of whom I will definitely keep in touch with and even the ones who couldn’t speak English were as helpful as they could be!
Altogether I had an amazing experience in
Brazil and will definitely try to go back at some point and work in a hospital out there again.
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