October 17, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Doing a medical placement anywhere offers you a wide range of benefits, both personally as well as professionally. From the personal point of view, it allows you to gain some hands-on experience in the medical field, which can help you make an informed decision as to whether or not this really is the right choice for you. Professionally, it gives you the competitive edge when you apply to medical school. Most medical schools give preference to applicants who have had some kind of relevant work experience as it shows that they know what they are getting into and are committed to this career path.
Doing a medical placement in a developing country offers a few unexpected benefits that you would never get through any other type of clinical experience. And these benefits will stay with you long after your application has been accepted and you’ve graduated from medical school.
A medical placement in a developing country will change your whole perspective on medicine. You cannot help but realise the differences between the luxurious healthcare facilities back home and the stark facilities available in resource poor countries. During the time you spend at any of the local hospitals during your placement, you will be able to identify areas where there are lapses. As you progress through medical school and in your career, this can act as a basis for you to think outside of mainstream medicine and instead take steps to bridge the gap so people in all parts of the world, however poor, get access to basic healthcare.
Physicians in developed countries have access to some of the most advanced technology to help them arrive at their diagnosis. But what do you do when you are practicing medicine in a setting that does not have access to this technology? All countries cannot afford state of the art equipment and yet healthcare providers do an outstanding job of treating their patients, sometimes despite the lack of even basic supplies. A placement in such an environment offers you a great opportunity to get down to the basics of medicine and learn how to diagnose illnesses without being able to use modern diagnostic equipment.
Besides helping the less fortunate, a medical internship gives you plenty of scope for personal development. You gain a lot from these stints in various areas.