広報
兵庫医科大学医学会

Hyogo College of Medicine Experience

Kara Fitzgeraldさん(第2学年次)

Planning and embarking on the trip

I learned about the exchange program through a University of Washington email notification. I traveled to Hokkaido two times for ski vacations, and with a career in medicine, I had a huge interest in to get hands on experience in Japanese health care system. I applied to the program immediately. There really wasn't a lot of information on the college website about the exchange program nor in the emails, but I had read the ‘testimonial’ from a previous exchange student and had a huge interest in learning about medicine in Japan. The Centers for International Programs’ Ms. Kyoko Torii was very helpful in connecting me with other professors and attending doctors for the many questions I had before set off on the trip. When I arrived, I met Peng Yang, the other US medical student, and we both shared a very warm welcome from the Hyogo 4th and 6th year medical students. They helped us settle into the accommodations and took us for sushi.

EICU/ICU Participation

Each day, I arrived to the EICU, and changed to the scrubs provided for the other residents and attending doctors, which really helped create a sense of being on a team. At 8:30, we would sit in on the morning conference where the new patients were discussed and presentations were made. This was a good experience when we had someone to translate for us, however I felt lost if there was no translation. This was a great way to see how the charting system worked, which I preferred to the systems we use in the hospitals I have worked at in the US.
After the conference, we joined in the rounds on the unit, and the current patients were discussed/presented to the attending doctors by the residents or previous night physician. Again, it was very helpful to have a translator and I would feel lost in translation without. Some of the attendings would help translate at times, and residents would help at times, but this could be distracting for them as well.
Next, the teams would split up and further discuss pathophysiology, pharmacology, and treatment options for their respective patients. This was a great opportunity to ask more questions. I had access to the medical resource ‘Up to Date’ and brought a Sanford Guide to Antibiotics, which were both very helpful for this. During this time, the residents often told us what time certain procedures were going to be (e.g., dressing changes for burn patients) so we could make a schedule for that particular day.
For lunch, we would typically go to the cafeteria, but once or twice a week there were catered lunches in the EICU along with presentations which we attended.
In the afternoon, if there were not tasks to participate in, I would use the time to study different pathophysiology, pharmacology and treatment options of the patients of the day, or other materials. Although it was not often, if there was a medical student that was proficient in English and had free time, I really enjoyed looking at the charts of different patients I had questions about to see what the patient’s treatment course was. I did this the most with Ayaka, a 5th year student, and we both enjoyed it, and learned a lot about the patients.
With Dr. Mambo, we also were able to participate in a day at the fire department and learned about the central communication. Another day, we traveled to Kobe with some other medical students, met Dr. Mambo, and attended the Great Hanshin Earthquake and Disaster Prevention center, learning about the earthquake, relief processes, rebuilding of Kobe, and preventive measures in place for potential disasters.

English Class and English Club Participation

The first week we were at Hyogo, we met some English club members and had a very warm welcome. They shared some of their favorite Japanese items and practiced English with us.
Professor Furuse invited Peng and me to give a presentation to her second year English class about the medical school experience in America. We both prepared presentations but Peng was unfortunately too ill at this point to deliver the presentation. I shared them with two classes and Prof. Furuse kindly helped with some translation. The students asked poignant questions. Through the presentations, I was able to be exposed to many more students and meet many of them. I was a learning experience for me as well, as Prof. Furuse compared and contrasted her knowledge of the Japanese system to the presentations.

Extracurricular Experiences

On the weekends and after working in the EICU, Peng and I would often meet up with students enjoy Japanese culture and cuisine. Prof. Furuse and Ms. Torii prepared some handouts with restaurants and local things to do. I brought my road bike along with from America and enjoyed road riding many days a week. I rode to Kobe, Mt. Rokko, Rokko Island, many times along the Mukogawa River, Osaka, and to Kyoto one weekend. I was able to meet some other cyclists and made some great connections. I have travelled by bicycle before in other countries and have found this to be one of the best ways to see and experience the areas. The medical students and residents also brought to many restaurants and I absolutely loved the food. Some of the students made takoyaki with us at one point, too. Peng and I tried chicken sashimi along with the residents, however we became quite ill afterwards. We had the opportunity to experience the EICU ourselves as patients. The staff was so kind to us. This was one of the more frightening experiences — being very ill, and not having any family around, and not being able to really understand what everyone is saying regarding the care (yes, the staff translated and answered questions, but it was still overwhelming and confusing at times.) Dr. Mambo held my hand at one point, and this was a kindness I will never forget. We both missed some of our EICU clinical rotation due to this, but were the symptoms resolved.
One weekend, we met students in Kyoto. Momoko, a second year student was our tour guide here as she lived in Kyoto. I cycled there on Saturday and Peng arrived on Sunday morning and rented a bike, and the three of us toured around Kyoto on bicycles which was a real treat.
Some of the residents organized taking Peng and me to a Hanshin Tigers baseball game, which was very fun. They treated us very well and I had a great time singing along to the fight songs and watching the fun game.
I was kindly invited to a takoyaki making party by one of the senior nurses and we travelled to her friend’s house who also was a nurse, but at a different hospital. It was great to make some of the local cuisine, and also to chat about their experiences as nurses, as I was a registered nurse before I attended medical school.
One rainy day, I went to Arima onsen and went to a few different onsen and visited the shrine. The mountains were beautiful up there and soaking in the water was such a treat.
For the last week of my trip in Japan, I used the time to travel to Shizuoka prefectures. I hiked Mt. Fuji for sunrise which was a great experience.

Summary

In total, the experience I had in Japan was one of a kind. The course work in the EICU afforded an opportunity to compare and contrast the health care in the US and Japan. I found that the technology (e.g., monitors, medications) was very similar to what we have in the US, and this was very neat to see. The staff — from the crossing guards to the Tully’s coffee staff, the junior and senior nurses, the residents and attending doctors, and the medical students — everyone was absolutely so kind, patient, and generous with their time. The area surrounding Hyogo college of Medicine was very easy to navigate and the convenience of being next to a grocery store was great. The living accommodations were absolutely wonderful — private, clean, convenient, laundry facilities, wifi, AC, two bathrooms — really everything you could want in a shared living space. If I had the chance to attend this again, I absolutely would. I made friendships that I am confident will last a lifetime and I look forward to future collaboration between American and Japanese medical doctors.

研修中の様子

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