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Elective at RMH. Which departement?


Hi there
I'm a French medical student currently trying to organise my elective for july/august 2013 at the royal melbourne hospital.
I'm not too sure of which department to choose... i'd be interested by most of them (but surgery) maybe more by cardiology/neurology/endocrinology/infectious disease/emergency/dermatology

But i guess some departement are better than others in terms of learning and involvement of the student into patient care? (well, it's the case in france). Do you have any recommandations? Somewhere where you really had a blast?
I'm pretty clueless right now.

Also i was wondering how electives were organized... is it just observation or do you actually "touch the patient"; do physical examination, and eventually do some "gestures" (puncture, blood taking...).

Thank you for any help you can offer me!

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Regular Member
Hi there,

I think you'll find that you get a fair bit of what we call "hands on experience" in your placement, which means you will take histories, do physical examinations and probably also some small procedures like taking blood or putting in IV cannula. This applies to all departments but there will be some variation. For instance in the emergency department you will get a lot of experience taking histories and doing physical examinations, but you won't learn about specialist treatment of conditions because that is done by the relevant team on the ward. RMH has a very busy and interesting emergency and is one of the two trauma centres in Melbourne.

I think it's very difficult to say which area will be best as it depends a lot on the doctors working within that area, and while the senior doctors may stay the same for some time, a lot of your teaching will depend on the registrars who rotate fairly frequently. So an area that is good now may not be as good next year.

I would recommend picking something you are interested in, if you want a lot of practice taking histories and doing physical examination then emergency will definitely give you a lot of opportunity. But if you have a special interest in learning about neurology or cardiology then I would choose one of those areas.

I'm sure whichever department you choose, that you will have a great time. I have spent some time at RMH and have found that it was a very good hospital for teaching and everyone I came across was really helpful and interested in helping me learn.

I hope that helps

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