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Making an impact on healthcare: doctors across borders

Here we follow the journeys of two recent graduates from our GKT School of Medical Education, who spent eight weeks around the globe as part of their elective placements earlier this year, before entering the workforce as newly graduated medical doctors. 

Catherine’s story

Catherine Ward travelled to Israel to work in the oldest hospital in the Middle East – the EMMS Nazareth Hospital. She was based in the 24-hour emergency room where most of her patients were women suffering from hyperventilation syndrome (HVS). 

HVS is a nonadaptive response to anxiety, with a higher prevalence in females and sometimes referred to as ’Nazareth disease’. Catherine reported that patients exhibited a bizarre, dramatic and wide-ranging set of symptoms. The syndrome is managed with breathing techniques and a series of medications. Catherine explored the mental and physical consequences of cultural trauma in the region and emphasised the importance of considering how historical events affect the health and well-being of patients.

Mao’s story

Mao Lim undertook his elective at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. Clinically, he was attached to the outpatient team where he covered cases spanning general haematology, thalassemia, sickle cell, haemophilia and oncology.  

Mao gained a more “nuanced perspective” of the US health system during his placement. He explained that unlike the NHS, US practitioners spend more time dealing with insurance policies, political influences and the entrepreneurial side of medicine, rather than solely focusing on providing care.

Because of [American] healthcare being a competitive marketplace, you do get some outstanding hospitals and health systems, but this does result in a lot of duplication and deepens health inequalities for those who can't access healthcare for financial reasons.– Mao Lim, King's medical graduate

Mao also had some advice for future students embarking on their electives:

“You may not be able to experience everything that would make for an ideal experience, but that's ok! Take advantage of the place you're in, get in touch with interesting people or places you may want to visit while you're there.”  

Want to know more about our elective placements?

Electives give students the chance to develop on a professional level and see different parts of the world. They help diagnose advanced conditions, observe rare tropical diseases and come to understand the many challenges faced by low-resource clinical institutions. 

For further information about the GKT School of Medical Education and the elective placements click here.


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