Elective in Ireland.

Summer electives are good opportunity for you to expand your exposure to clinical sciences. The majority of your class will resort to organizing an elective overseas. Surgeon Noonan is quite a popular option and a noble one too. But I won’t talk more about that, there is a whole society that tells you how good all of it is.

Another option that one might also consider is the USA, where your clinical experience will quite take a surge as many of my classmates tell me you are responsible for devising a management plan for your patients, which could be quite challenging. This is also something that I will not talk about because I have not done my elective in the USA.

The option that I opted for my summer elective is 2 rotations; 3 weeks in CUH/UCC and 2 weeks doing medicine in SIVUH. The reason I opted for those to options is simple. I knew the hospitals very well and I don’t need time adjusting for changes in systems. Another one was that I knew I will get maximal preparation

Surgical clerkship in Clinical anatomy.

I don’t know about you guys but anatomy was such a long time ago. Anatomy and physiology are two subjects that, no matter what discipline you decide to go into, stay relevant to you as a practicing physician/surgeon.

I decided to go for this elective because of many reasons. I like anatomy, I knew my knowledge was a bit shady in it, and revision of core knowledge won’t happen unless I force myself into a course/ elective that revolves around it.

Applying for this elective was pretty simple. It involved writing a paragraph( a maximum of 200 words.) about my background and why was i interested in taking the course and sending it to Mr.Hinchion, a cardiothoracic surgeon with passion to teach. Based on what I wrote, I was chosen for this elective along with 5 other students .

The elective started the 2nd week in July and lasted for 3 weeks. It was organised in a fashion where we were not overwhelmed with studying/work, but also we were kept busy enough. We had exposure in a number of surgical specialties including general, plastic, cardiothoracic and neurosurgery. Everyone had a chance to scrub in and assist in surgery. Surgical procedures where explained in greater detail to us as well as focused teaching on how to elicit signs related to the disease you are looking at.

There were 2 tutorials with Prof.Maher, where we learnt about reading CXR, PFA, and CT of brain, thorax and abdomen.

Another great benefit was the DR sessions. DR to me was great during first and second year but this was absolutely brilliant. There was only 6 students and 2-3 tutors at any given time, which really meant you were not just looking at the cadavers and trying to figure what you are looking at, then make the oh-so-educated-guess of what you are looking at, but also you were told what you were looking at, and things went at a pace that was very reasonable; no alarms and no rushing between stations. A suturing session of two hours was also included in the curriculum of the elective which was in my opinion the cherry on top of a very good experience.

Elective in SIVUH : medicine with Dr.Creedon

I emailed Dr.Creedon in February asking if I could do an elective with him and he said “no problem come to the hospital at 8:00 am on the second week of August.” I was given an introductory talk and shown around the place first then I was placed with Dr.Philan’s rheumatology team. After a couple of days, I was switched to endocrine; another day switched to cardiology and for 2-3 days was attached to the general surgery team.

It was a great experience because of how focused everything was around final med exam; what to expect, the questions they might ask in your long case, the questions that might rise in your short case exams, how to present your history flawlessly, how to demonstrate your skills in examinations to the examiners.

Again, being the only student there helped greatly as all doctors on-site whether interns, SHOs, registrars and consultants (special thanks to doctors Kathy O’Byrne, Lina Kobayter, Thomas O’Sullivan, Kieran Doherty and Kevin McCarthy for all their help) were very keen on teaching. Everyone was asking me to present to them and help me polish my presenting techniques, discuss cases with me. In short, everyone was brilliant!

Dr.Creedon will get you to present at bed side and will simulate a mock long case examination for you, which is almost never the case when you are on rotations. It is a pretty scary thing to be done to you especially when you don’t expect it. I think I am most happy about this part of the elective because now I kind of know what to expect in a long case exam for medicine.

In summary, electives in Cork are actually a great option which one must not neglect when thinking about summer electives. It is not fancy but it is excellent :)

Best of luck to you all,

Zahraa