Aussie Trails

So. Two weeks down of psychiatry! And as I am already over this rotation, I’ve started to look ahead to my last rotation of the year (before my final summer holidays of all time! T.T) 

What is this final rotation? Well I’m glad you asked!

In 5th year, students have the opportunity to carry out a 6 week selective in any speciality they desire. I suppose it’s a way to try one of the subjects you don’t necessarily get taught very well in med school. Or it’s a chance to try something you’re really passionate about to see if that is your calling! Anyway, some students get to do this overseas, some in Australia, and some in NZ. I decided to go “across the ditch”, as they say, to Australia! 

And my goodness was it a fiasco to organise. 

First it was finding a good place to go in Australia. So I emailed all the cities I could think of. Melbourne being on top of the list because I have friends there who adore the city and doctors I know who had a lot to say about the hospitals. But I had also emailed Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast and Brisbane. 

That’s when I found out how useless universities are at replying. I mean, my own university is extremely useless in responding to students about their own screw-ups but the universities in Australia took it to a new level. I had emailed all of these places midway last year and some still haven’t replied. Some replied initially, but then wouldn’t respond when I asked further questions, and one university completely lost my application and the deposit I had paid for it! Not gonna mention who ahemcanberraahem, but it was a pretty tiring process. In the end it was okay because I wasn’t super keen on any other places ‘cept Melbourne and there was a point where I became completely apathetic about this whole selective organising process. Lack of replies can really kill enthusiasm. 

So. There were two places in Melbourne that I was interested in going to. One was the royal hospital of Melbourne who replied ages later to tell me that they aren’t accepting applications from my university “as they are unable to fulfil the assessment requirements” which is completely crazy because the “assessment requirements” is literally a one-page checklist to grade me on things like “clinical knowledge” please tick one of the boxes: “major deficiencies, some reservations, satisfactory, excellent” or something to that effect. Come on RMH. The other place was Alfred health through Monash university. Now these people were pretty okay. Replied fairly promptly given the fact that I only contacted them early this year. But they had a tonne of paperwork to do for the application. 

I had to request my 3 top speciality choices. I had no particular inclination to any speciality I wanted to do for sure. No “passion”. So I thought I would do the the smart thing and try to improve my knowledge in an area I am beyond useless in. That being radiology. Honestly I can’t tell a CXR from an AXR. I’m the kind of person that would look at a normal chest X-ray and point out consolidation, cysts and a bronchial tumour. Sooo I figured radiology would be a pretty safe bet for me to improve my skills and it would be pretty chill. Besides we get next to no teaching on radiology in med school. Win win. My next option was gastroenterology. This is the only subject I seem to have excelled in since highschool. I think I might be good at it and so maybe it’s something I’ll specialise in. So I thought I’d put it down. Lastly, cardiology. Because I can’t read an ecg to save my life and because some med students raved about how interesting it is. 

Funnily enough, I got accepted for gastroenterology. Must have been fate. Apparently their radiology department doesn’t have any room for a student. There were a lot of issues around this but mostly a lot of forms and taking passport size photos (there was no place that could do it decently for under $40 for 10 copies, so I had to do it myself using my canon. Actually turned out pretty well), getting a police background check, sending all of it hard copy to Australia depending only on NZpost (who were hugely unhelpful about my previous missing application, which made me anxious) and doing and online course for a certificate in hand hygiene. Eugh. 

Thankfully everything ended well. My documents were delivered, I am qualified in hand hygiene, and I just booked my tickets to Melbourne today!

Pretty excited for this! Never been to Melbourne. I shall be staying by myself and doing the adult thing. Hopefully it shall be a good experience!