Musings of a Gaijin MD

Life in Japan as a Foreign Doctor

Medical Students September 19, 2011

Filed under: Hospital — GaijinMD @ 1:02 AM

For residency applicants, the 6th year medical students are required to visit/rotate through the hospital for a minimum 3 days’ site visit.  Interested 4th and 5th year students may also visit the hospital.  During the students’ visit, they may rotate through different specialties that interest them, i.e. internal medicine, cardiology, pediatrics, surgery, etc.

A big difference I’ve noticed between these students vs medical students in the US is that in Japan, at least at this hospital, students only observe and shadow.  They do not preround on patients by themselves, write notes, or present their patients during rounds.  While I understand that they are only on “observer” status, I feel that the students can at least speak to patients and do a minimal (as in not-invasive—no central lines) physical exam along with writing notes so that they can present.  It’s all about practicing.

I also meet with the students at least twice during their visit for a medical student teaching session where we practice presenting a case in the standard H&P format, which I have been told is not really “standard” in Japan.  As with everywhere else, some students pick it up faster than others.

There are multiple groups of students who visit throughout several months.  Each group has its own personality: proactive, nice, gentle, quiet, boisterous, etc.  It’s interesting for me to find out each one’s personality and try to adapt my teaching towards each group, sometimes with success and sometimes….. well, let’s just say the crickets start chirping again.

Regardless, I am starting to understand in more detail and appreciate all the work that my previous teachers had put into their lessons…  It can be challenging but very rewarding.


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