February 2014

Students Reflect on Boston Elective

Sat, 1 February 14 10:00

Paediatric Electives at Massachusetts General Hospital

For 6 weeks in August–October 2013, two Stage 5 Medicine students - Gordon Haire and Dearbhla Doherty - undertook their paediatrics rotation at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), one of Harvard Medical School’s three main teaching hospitals.

After winning their places through a highly competitive process, Dearbhla and Gordon got to experience life in the working with Dr Bernard Kinane (UCD Medicine 1983) in the paediatrics department of one of the world’s foremost teaching hospitals, with time spent in inpatient (“hospitalist”) service, ICU and specialist services.

As Dearbhla explains:

“As all patients in MGH are admitted under the hospitalist service, my time on inpatients and in the PICU allowed me to be exposed to patients from many specialities, including Respiratory, Cardiology, Infectious Diseases and Haematology/Oncology. Each student was assigned up to three patients a day to admit and follow throughout the course of their hospital stay. This was a great experience, as it gave me the chance to develop a relationship with children and their parents, following their course from admission to discharge.”

The time in Boston gave Dearbhla a rare opportunity to gain in-depth exposure to a different medical system and experience different teaching methodologies and technologies:

“One of the best teaching experiences was attending weekly “Sims”, which were tutorials of mock emergencies, complete with baby mannequins that breathed, cried and seized. These tutorials mimicked real cases of patients with conditions like coarctation, diabetic ketoacidosis and croup that had presented to the ED, and our challenge was to stabilise, diagnose and treat the patient!”

After getting the time to reflect on the US health system and medical education at Harvard, Gordon was justifiably proud that he and Dearbhla did a great job of representing UCD:

“This added up to an amazing first-hand experience of the delivery of medical care at this great institution. Ultimately the whole experience has demonstrated to me the quality of the education system here in Ireland. Time and time again doctors of all levels were impressed with my clinical examination skills, reasoning, judgement and ability to convey pertinent information without excessive deviation from the point at hand. It is clear that UCD produces students and graduates that are more than able to compete against the best and brightest the world has to offer.”

UCD School of Medicine and Medical Sciences would like to thank Dr Kinane and his team at Massachusetts General Hospital (especially Ms Teresa Ureña) for giving our students this tremendous opportunity and making them feel so welcome in Boston.

For more information about international student elective opportunities, contact Mr Gareth Shaw, International Manager (gareth.shaw@ucd.ie).