UK 4-year student Sarah Morwood took a traineeship course at our University. Here you can read her report on the 6-weeks staying in Volgograd.
For all students at UK universities, a period of elective study is compulsory. For students of Warwick medical school, this is a 6 week period that may be spent anywhere in the world. Many students travel to African countries, some to South America, some choose to stay at home in the UK. I decided that I would like to visit Russia. As my university is in the city of Coventry, the twin city of Volgograd, the twinning society helped to introduce me to a representative from Volgograd Medical University. For me, this was an exciting opportunity. I have always been intrigued by Russian culture. Reading information on the internet, I discovered how well trained Russian doctors are, how thorough the teaching at Russian medical schools, and I wanted to experience the teaching that makes these doctors so competent. I was also excited to encounter some pathologies that are not common in the UK, particularly in the field of infectious diseases.
Thanks to the staff of the foreign office of Volgograd State medical school I had the opportunity to spend 2 weeks in the hospital for infectious diseases, 2 weeks in surgery and 2 weeks in therapy. During each of these placements I was able to take histories from and examine patients, attend teaching and participate in some practical procedures. Due to my limits in Russian language I was very lucky to have teachers in each placement who were so competent in English! I also had access to the university library, whose staff were incredibly friendly and helpful.
The teaching sessions I attended were a mixture of theoretical and clinical teaching. I was also fortunate enough to have 1 to 1 teaching sessions in the hospital for infectious diseases, giving me an opportunity to learn about a variety of pathogens that are not endemic in the UK, such as West Nile Virus, Crimean-Congo fever and Tick-Bourne Encephalitis. In surgery I was able to observe operations in general surgery, vascular surgery and urology, and was even given the chance to scrub-in to some operations. During my time in therapy I saw patients with a variety of conditions, particularly within the rheumatology department. I was also able to attend master-classes given by Professor Alexandr B. Zborovsky, academician of the Russian Academy of Medical Science.
There is no doubt that the medical practice in Russia is different to that in the UK. Many of the patients I encountered had symptoms that were far more advanced than those we see in the UK, mainly due to late presentation to the doctor. As a result Russian doctors often have to deal with much more complicated cases. I feel incredibly privileged to have had an opportunity to learn from such competent and innovative doctors.
Sarah Morwood, Warwick Medical School, UK