Shadowing a DoctorOctober 17, 2014
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.
Take a look at some of the benefits of doing a placement in a developing country:
You get a global perspective of medicine
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.
They enhance your diagnostic capabilities
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.
They offer an abundance of personal development opportunities
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.
- It acts as a base for other opportunities: As someone who has had the experience of working under these circumstances, most international organisations would give you preference when looking for professionals to work on certain projects in developing countries.
- You get to interact with other professionals in the field: During a placement, you will meet well-known doctors from all over the world who take part in these programmes as well as other students and local health care professionals. Interacting with these people will give you a better understanding and awareness of different cultures as well as different healthcare systems.
- Self-awareness: During a placement in such settings you will mature a lot and learn about your strengths and weaknesses. It could help you decide whether or not this is really the right path for you or you may even discover that you are skilled in a certain specialty that you had not thought about before. These internships teach you a lot about yourself and your abilities.
- Efficiency: It is necessary to be very efficient when you are attending to so many people and taking care of so many illnesses. These internships will help you become more efficient, manage your time better and excel at your work.