We are quick to talk about the cultural differences but students always find that there are some surprising similarities too. The question for this week was “Have you noticed any similarities either on placement or locally?”
Lucy in Arusha noticed that “although the hospital is very different in terms of condition and illnesses, I noticed some similar investigations and treatment - similar drugs are used but there is not as great a variety as at home."
Lucy number two confirmed that the "Medical notes are in English” while Alice told us that the “Labour ward uses similar methods and they use oxytocid which I was surprised about. Locally you can get western food like pizza and chips. Plus they have a Barclays bank!"
In Lake Victoria, our medics noticed similarities in the way they study. “The course content and knowledge of medicine and their management or treatment plans are very similar. Plus some of the drugs used and equipment used are the same, for example the antibiotics and we were surprised to see a cardiac monitor, ultrasound scans!”
In Dar es Salaam, Rebecca told us that “Nurses and doctors have different roles in the hospitals. Nurses do all the cannulas while doctors do all the observations” While Sadia added that “there are more similarities than I thought here would be. They have a similar system of taking care of pregnant women plus similar drugs used with a good knowledge of disease and management. Differences include who sees patients. For example, in the gynae clinic we saw general gynae patients but also oncology patients who in the UK would be seen in a separate clinic. Also here in Africa confidentiality is less than in UK. Consent for examinations is not always sought pus some clinics see two patients at once!”
Laura said that “On placement the way doctors present cases and present examination leading is similar. Oh and it rains occasionally!”
In Argentina, Chris noticed quite a few similarities “I didn’t feel there was a culture shock. At the hospital, I found drugs and treatments provided to patients are the same, also the investigations carried out. Outside the hospital, the students and tourists culture in Argentina and England is very alike. People go out to bars and have drinks sitting outside as European people like to do in summer.” Kirren hasn’t started her placement yet, but she also noticed that “Mendoza is very green. I didn’t expect it to be this green since I had read Mendoza was a desert”.
So, a little bit of feedback from our students overseas – more similarities than were expected it seems. It’s been a while since we’ve heard about clinical or even cultural highlights from their week so this will be the next question. We’ll see you back here next week for the answers!