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兵庫医科大学医学会

My Clinical Experience at Hyogo College of Medicine

Michael Caoさん(第3学年次)

My clinical clerkship at Hyogo College of Medicine began when a friend of mine who went to placement the previous year gave me the email of Dr. Kotani. After months of liaising and many paperwork deadlines and stressful exams, I boarded my plane bound for Osaka with my fellow student Tegan. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the professional and hardworking Ms. Kyoko Torii, who was organising the placement on the other end. She went above and beyond for us, as not only did she meet us late in the night (well after regular working hours), she also bought us food and escorted us to our accommodation. We were wary from our travels, but upon arriving at the guest house, our spirits piqued. It was a lovely 3-bedroom apartment, fully furnished with all the kitchen utensils we could need. Additionally, a massive 24/7 supermarket was across the road from us where we would buy all our daily needs.
Kyoko-san then proceeded to inform us of all the rules and regulations, as well as show us what Japanese hospitality really meant. We were provided with two phones to borrow- one for our own social use, and the other a phone for hospital use, so that doctors could contact us. In addition, we were given meal vouchers for the student cafeteria, so we would never have to pay for lunch. Furthermore, in addition to not even having to pay rent, we had a scholarship allowance to spend on other living expenses that were not provided such as dinner and going out. We were absolutely shocked at their cultural hospitality and how much they would invest in just two medical students from another country.
After the initial amazement of the hospitality which they provided us, we began to settle into our weekly schedule. The first item on the agenda was a field trip with Dr. Kotani. He took us to a joint emergency services training course where himself and more than many other important figures of hospitals or departments attended. The demonstration was incredibly thorough and made as realistic as possible. The scenario was that a plane was catching fire or had an emergency landing, and so the training was at an airport. They had hired a 747 passenger plane as part of the demonstration which they caused to smoke with hundreds of volunteers and if that wasn’t impressive enough they had several fire trucks and numerous ambulances and paramedics. I was informed that they had such elaborate training as natural disasters and earthquakes were not uncommon in Japan, whilst in Australia they are very rare.
Our time in Hyogo was very memorable and we had become acquainted with many of the local students. The members of the English club took us out to lunch very often, we also joined the kendo club and the badminton club, really integrating with the community. It was at this point I realised, I wasn’t ‘visiting’ Japan anymore. I was living in it. We were also privy to many of the student run events- such as their student festival where many of our different clubs set up stalls selling different food. It was also here that our student friends taught us how to cook Japanese cuisine to sell to the public who were at the festival.
The festival ended with performances from the dance club, and the decorations handled by the arts club. Students who weren’t part of a particular club but wanted to help out was always welcomed and I really admired this of the Japanese system. The student body was like a well-oiled machine and worked to support and help each other become better. It was very admirable. Unlike Australian universities where a medical program is part of a larger university, the medical school in Hyogo was entirely medical students, with a total of 6 years and about 150 to 200 students per year. These student numbers were similar to those back home, but the sense of welcoming and community these students had was second to none.
Our days in the hospital started off with meeting Prof. Mambo, an emergency doctor who would become our tour guide and much needed translator. In the morning there were conferences which was like a handovers but were very different to the way they are done in Australia. These conferences would be like a meeting about who came in overnight, how our current patients were progressing and the junior doctors would be giving presentations. The difficulty of this was that a lot of it was in Japanese. However, we always had an English speaking doctor who could interpret for us. In instances which we did not, the junior doctors used translation applications to make up for any languages gaps we might have.
We were also treated to an exclusive lunch to meet the director of internal medicine, Prof. Hiroto Miwa. He was an extremely talented gastroenterologist who was also very approachable and welcoming. He made us feel right at home and hoped to establish a connection with our home university JCU.
Our emergency placement also involved travelling to the Senri Critical Care Centre, another hospital. Here in the emergency department, most of the doctors could speak a level of English due to their training in disaster management. We were shown the ropes and how they operated and could see that they were all so efficient. While at Senri, there was a patient who had chronic severe asthma attacks came in and I was told that due to having so many asthma attacks over the years, his airways have become fibrosed, so these attacks had become common. Drawing on the theoretical knowledge, I had acquired from my own studies back home I could put the theory into perspective. Though we were only allowed to observe during intense situations, once the patient was stabilised, we were allowed practice our examinations and check the patient vitals. I believed that this was a good way to learn in the emergency department as a third year medical student would not have nearly enough training to handle the stresses of such high intensity situations.
Being located so close to the Mukogawa train station, travel to and from destinations was incredibly easy. Many of our student friends showed us around and informed us of the best places to eat and sites to see. There were also many excursions scheduled for by the school of medicine. We were taken to the earthquake memorial museum by Prof. Mambo and some of the English club students. It was a very eye-opening and humbling experience. We were also taken under the wing of Prof. Kuboyama and were given a tour and demonstration of the local fire department. This experience just had one of our colleagues mock calling the department and observing the response process of the command centre.
Upon completion of our training, we were presented with our graduation certificates by the President, Koichi Noguchi. It was a small affair with just us two students, Kyoko, and the President himself. It was an honour that he would take time to see us personally.
We then departed Hyogo and traveled around the rest of Japan, going to many exciting places like Mt. Aso, Hakone, Minoo park, Tokyo and Osaka just to name a few.
Overall this has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. The hospitality and immersion in the local community was unlike any I have had before. I must thank the staff at the Hyogo College of medicine from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to do what I did. I really appreciate being able to say I lived in Japan and hope that many more can share in such a grand adventure.

研修中の様子

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兵庫医科大学 〒663-8501 兵庫県西宮市武庫川町1番1号 TEL:0798-45-6111 (代)

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