GEMx Elective Reflections – Student Exchange from Penang Medical College, Malaysia to University of Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
Filed under: GEMx Student Reflections
Post by Thaneswaran Jeyakrishnan, Medical Student at Penang Medical College (Malaysia) who completed a GEMx Elective at Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia)
I have now completed an elective course of 4 weeks in a tertiary hospital named RS Dr. Sardijito in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The course comprises of 2 weeks of being in surgical rotation and 2 weeks in Orthopedics. I have chosen this place via the GEMx School Partnership program that was offered in my home institution (Penang Medical College, Georgetown, Malaysia). After being selected by my institution I was offered a range of options to carry out electives, all of which were listed in the website in terms of the GEMx Partner Schools and the courses they offered. I chose Indonesia mainly because of its expanding expertise in medicine and surgery in the expense of a low-resource setting especially with the burden from the rural areas and the ever growing population. RS Sardijito is a university hospital, attached to a reputable Indonesian public university called University of Gajah Mada. My time was entirely spent in the hospital and I was able to use the university facilities such as the library which was situated in close proximity to the hospital.
Initially before embarking the elective, I was brought on an orientation to visit the facilities in Sardijito Hospital. The students from the university there was very welcoming regarding my visit. On the first day of my rotation, I introduced myself to the supervisor whom was the person-in-charge for me and he gave me a brief outline of the possible activities that I could benefit during the rotation. I was then placed in a group of residents who are doing their postgraduate course and for most of the times I was in this team of doctors whom I have been tagging along. The beautiful aspect of work in this hospital is that everything that is done here was more of team-work whereby the residents would help each other out and together they divide their tasks besides updating each other about their patients’ condition. I find this method very efficacious not only theoretically in preventing overworked atmosphere but it is healthy in many ways in maintaining the best patient care. Moreover, the residents working as a team teach and guide each other at all times. My routine usually starts as early as 6 am when the residents would do their patient-visiting and review their cases. At around 7.30 am in the morning report presentation would take place where the residents would present their cases in PowerPoint slides to the panel of specialists and consultants. There would be exchange of questions and queries which were all beneficial in the point of view of learning. I learned about the importance of a good presentation skill which comes with practice. I understand that only through discussion and reflection that one would be a better doctor. After this, I would usually go to either the operating theater or the outpatient clinic.
The residents here in Indonesia have all been so welcoming, friendly and helpful. Something to be highlighted here is the way they handle patients- besides being friendly and caring, they show enormous amount of empathy towards their patients via body language, verbal and actions all of which are explicitly patient-centered. Perhaps it is the culture of politeness here that has shaped these doctors to be very empathic but I can assure that these values came-forward so often here not only in just the patient-doctor setting but even in my everyday lives in Indonesia. Since my stay here I realize that the locals are very helpful and friendly in which there were many situations when the locals tend to offer helping hands even though if you don’t ask for one. There are lots of ‘sorry’ and ‘thank yous’ going around in their own way of language expressions and sign. I believe that these are something that should be modelled everywhere else too. In terms of the patient care, the social aspects are always taken into serious consideration especially in terms of patient’s access and transport to hospital, finance and support from the family. Whilst this is how it should be anywhere globally, nevertheless there are many circumstances when doctors somehow omit these aspects of care when there is overcrowding and overwhelming stress especially in developing countries with low-resource settings. This is one of my salient learning point during my elective course in Indonesia which is to pay attention on how patient is going to recover in a long-term. During the course here, the senior residents here were very encouraging and they have provided adequate guidance for me.
Penang Medical College, Universitas Gadjah Mada