Biomedical science students have spoken of their “life-changing” and career defining experience shadowing doctors in Italy.
For me, it was invaluable. When I graduate, I want to progress onto the Physician Associate masters degree which will allow me to practice medicine in hospitals or GP surgeries. This experience cemented my desire for that.
Third year students Nikoleta Bogdan and Cameron Sharp travelled to Rome in June to take part in the Doctors in Italy fellowship programme.
The five-week shadowing placement involved observing physicians in a clinic and at two hospital sites covering a range of specialties including oncology, plastic surgery, and primary care. They also attended a number of lectures and workshops to provide them with practical experience of procedures including injections and suturing.
Nikoleta said: “I applied to the programme because my course required me to complete 105 hours of placement in a lab or clinical setting. I also needed to gain first-hand knowledge of clinical and hospital environments in order to better understand if a career in medicine was right for me and I really wanted to do my placement abroad.
“For me, it was invaluable. When I graduate, I want to progress onto the Physician Associate masters degree which will allow me to practice medicine in hospitals or GP surgeries. This experience cemented my desire for that.”
Despite the long days, waking at 4.30am and returning at 6.30pm, Cameron said he was also very satisfied with his placement. He said he also enjoyed the social aspect of it which included travelling down the Amalfi coast with friends they made.
“I learned a lot about hospital life, how to treat patients and also a lot of practical skills. The best bits of the trip, from a work point of view was either seeing open heart surgery and having some positive interaction with patients.
“I think this trip has confirmed to me what I want my career path to be. I think you can have an idea of what you want to do, but you’re better off experiencing it first-hand to realise if it’s for you or not.”
He also had advice for other students planning to follow in their footsteps: ”I would urge other students to apply early as there is an interview process and you’ll have a lot of paper work to fill out, make full use of funding support opportunities within the university and perhaps learn some Italian phrases.”
Nikoleta added that it was important to make friends with everyone. “By doing so, you will create lifelong memories and networking opportunities. Of course, this programme was not cheap, but I know Cameron will agree with me that going to Italy and taking part in the programme changed our lives and was worth every penny.”
- The Doctors in Italy Fellowship Program was established in 2018, with the purpose of creating relevant international experiences for future healthcare professionals, helping them prepare for their future career in a global community of medical professionals. The Fellowship Program runs in different formats, each one tailored to different health professions, combining intensive clinical rotation at the hospital, with in-depth immersion in Italian culture, discovering Rome, Milan, Bologna, and Genoa. Applications for the Summer 2023 Programs are open. Diversity and merit scholarships are available and the application deadline is February 2023.