Elective Essays

 

Electives at Home: A Vote of Confidence

Alicia Jones

When I was a first‐year medical student, and heard that in our final year we had an elective placement that could be taken ANYWHERE in the world, my imagination ran wild. I had grand ideas about going to a tiny village in a developing country, where medical care was scarce and I could really make a difference to people. Fast‐forward five years, and unfortunately life (and finances) get in the way of even the best laid plans. Read more...

 

A week on a Norwegian labour ward 

Sophie Gascoigne‐Cohen

‘Go in and learn!’ said the midwife in Norwegian as she pushed me through the door. It was my first night on the delivery ward during my Women’s and Children’s health elective in Oslo, Norway. I had read the textbook chapter entitled ‘Normal Labour’ that morning and attended the lectures on the physiology and anatomy underlying the birthing process. Read more...

 

Philosophy in Nepal

Helen Chan

Early last century, philosopher Bertrand Russell advocated a distinction between “knowledge by description”, what we indirectly know through second-hand reports, and “knowledge by acquaintance”, that which is acquired only through direct experience1. I had been aware for some time that Nepal was one of the poorest countries in the world, one of the ‘bottom billion’2. I knew it was a country where the majority of nearly 30 million inhabitants live on less than $2 a day, and are separated from health care by rough terrain3. My desire was to move forward from “knowledge by description” to personal “acquaintance”. Read more...

 

What I learned in Andara

Anny Huang

We hadn’t chosen Africa for our elective because we thought that we could be of any help. We had grown up and become cynical since our freshman days. Realistic – that was what we called our objectives. How could we, five years into our studies without having seen a single case of malaria, expect to be useful? We decided on Andara Catholic Hospital, in the remote Namibian jungle, 200 kilometres from the nearest city, yet only across the river from Angola. Read more...

 

Skincare in Seattle

Ashling McNally

Seattle, in the state of Washington, is a vibrant and lively city built on seven hills, bordered by Puget Sound to the west and the Cascade mountain ranges in the east. Everywhere you look in Seattle, there seems to be either a stretch of waterfront, a steep gradient or a spectacular view of the city skyline. As quoted in the movie ‘Sleepless in Seattle’, it truly does rain nine months of the year there. Read more...

 

“Choices”

Sarah Gelbart

To elect. To vote. To choose.
Medicine in Australia is largely about choice. Patient autonomy sits as one of our highest values. We pride ourselves on ensuring our patients are able to give informed consent, that they have the right to choose what treatment is appropriate for them. In a system that is well resourced, it is easy to become complacent about the choices we have. During my elective, I learnt about the harsh and unforgiving realities of choice in the developing world. Ethiopia is a country of great beauty and diversity. In choosing it for my elective, I hoped to experience what it means to practise medicine in a ‘resource-poor’ setting. Read more...

 

Keeping an Eye on Blindness

George Naveen Thomas

It is estimated that 284 million humans just like us around the world are visually impaired. Of these, 39 million are blind. Shockingly, 90% of those with visual impairment live in the developing world. And perhaps the most striking of these facts is that 80% of visual impairment can be avoided or cured. Gloominess and bewilderment is one response to these numbers; the other, which overcomes me, is hope. Read more...