Tips and Tricks: Planning Your Elective [Part 1]

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 14.17.59Since I’ve kind of started paying more attention to the blog again, my friend Caroline asked me to share some tips on electives. (Hi, Caroline!) You may remember the elective series I ran a few years ago. I haven’t exactly stopped the series, I just am not really in the position to seek out medical students for interviews anymore. (Guest posts welcome, hint-hint, nudge-nudge.)

I’ll give as much advice as I could gather from myself and friends, over a few days. Today, I’ll start off with the process of choosing your elective.

Disclaimer: This will be written with South African medical students in mind. For international students, note that some things might not apply to your program.

First: Start. Early.

If you think you’ve got plenty time, you’re wrong! I have a colleague who went to Oxford for her elective, and she booked her space for the program more than a year in advance. If you have a holiday between exams and rotations, use that time. Do not rely on the hope that things will just fall into place. (I speak from experience.) Continue reading “Tips and Tricks: Planning Your Elective [Part 1]”

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Elective Extravaganza! Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine, Cape Town

It’s alive! (This feature, that is.) Today I chat to Inutti McApple (nickname) about her fifth year elective in Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine, which I know next to nothing about. Inutti is now a final year student at Stellenbosch University and set to start internship in January! I’ll give the rest over to her.

elective diving Continue reading “Elective Extravaganza! Hyperbaric and Diving Medicine, Cape Town”

Elective Extravaganza: Internal and ED in Malaysia

Here is a little something different for Elective Extravaganza: what happens when you realise you chose the “wrong” thing for your elective? Aziza Aini (a fellow blogger, click on over) is a third year medical student in Malaysia who, during her second year, did an elective in Internal Medicine. Although she enjoyed it, she realised that she much preferred Emergency Medicine. So she innovatively did both.

Aziza’s story is also interesting because she attends a twinning program – essentially, her first two years of medical school is at one institution, and the last years are completed at a different institution. They do an elective in second year to assist with clinical skills development. I enjoyed her views because they remind me of the experiences our second years have when they get their first introduction to clinical medicine – the things they notice, and the things that make an impact on them. It is part of the reason I will always value introducing a student to hospital as early as possible.

Now, I’ll leave Aziza to tell her story:

elective second yr malaysia Continue reading “Elective Extravaganza: Internal and ED in Malaysia”

Elective Extravaganza: Radiology in Cape Town

Finally I’ve found another victim amazing participant for Elective Extravaganza. Today I talk to Mari Gildenhuys, a fifth year medical student at Stellenbosch University. She did her fourth year elective in Radiology and had a fabulous time. Radiology has always been daunting to me, as you might have noticed in some of my previous posts. Here’s her take!

elective extravaganza radiology Continue reading “Elective Extravaganza: Radiology in Cape Town”

How I did Semester at Sea while at Medical School

I have alluded to this before, but medical students rarely do Semester at Sea, and when they do, they are usually there for a short while. For example, the few medical students from the University of Virginia who spend a few weeks on the tropical leg of a Spring voyage; or inter-port students, like the Indian medical student who sailed with us from Myanmar to India.

The reason for this is three-fold: for one, SAS students are mostly undergraduate, and mostly from the USA, where medicine is a postgraduate degree. Secondly, the nature of medicine is such that it is very hard to leave temporarily to another institution – not to mention the difficulty in arranging to “miss” practical rotations. Lastly, I’ve not yet seen any SAS courses that are accepted for medical accreditation.

sas libary Continue reading “How I did Semester at Sea while at Medical School”

[Guest] Elective Extravaganza: Rural Psychiatry in Kimberley and Lobatse

Kopano N. Mokale has just completed his fourth year of medical school at a South African university. He did his fourth year elective in Rural Psychiatry, something I thought was very brave and super interesting. I trust you will enjoy his story. As always, let me know if you’d like to share your Elective story.

Stark white straitjackets, padded-cells and distant indistinguishable shouts and yelps…  murmurs and mumbles from deranged minds, far detached from space-time as we understand it…. men in white coats and unrealistically beautiful nurses with little “kappies” on their heads…  sorry  my friends, only in Hollywood.

elective extravaganza psych Continue reading “[Guest] Elective Extravaganza: Rural Psychiatry in Kimberley and Lobatse”

[Guest] Elective Extravaganza: Nuclear Medicine in KZN

The second in my series about medical electives, today I share a post written by Stéphan, a medical student from South Africa who has just completed his fourth year. He writes about what may well be the least-known elective and discipline. Enjoy, and feel free to let me know if you would like to share about your elective.

Good day all of BarefootMedStudent’s avid readers! I’m one of the lucky few who were asked to contribute to her new Electrifyingly Entertaining Elective SeriesTM. The field I’m covering isn’t the standard elective fare (which is, by the way, some sort of cardiac super speciality or rural health…) but rather an under-appreciated and often under-used field: Nuclear Medicine.

elective extravaganza nuclear med Continue reading “[Guest] Elective Extravaganza: Nuclear Medicine in KZN”

Elective Extravaganza: Plastic Surgery in CPT

Electives are an integral part of medical education, but choosing and organising an elective can be a major source of stress for students. For this reason I am doing a series on electives of various specialties and cities. (Technically, this series began more than a year ago with Nabeela’s post). If you are student in healthcare and would like to do a guest post about your elective, feel free to contact me. 

Today I am so excited to talk to Lin, a South African medical student about to enter her sixth year. She did her elective in Plastic Surgery in public and private hospitals in Cape Town. Her school allows a four week elective period at the end of the fourth year and the middle of fifth year, and she has also had an elective in Radiology. Lin is a sparkling personality who is incredibly passionate about every rotation, and I am so honoured that she agreed to this post!

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Semester at Sea: Happies and Crappies

sasfound2Yesterday was a whole month since I have been back in South Africa. That means that my whirlwind circumnavigating-the-world experience has been over for over a month! And I have written painfully little since I’ve been back. (What, I did have good reasons – namely exams and clinical rotations, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am.)

I spent a lot of time on the voyage missing home, but I also spent a lot of time having an incredibly rare experience. Needless to say, there are things I miss and things I was so glad to see the back of. Here are some of the things I miss… and don’t! Continue reading “Semester at Sea: Happies and Crappies”