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Medical Elective – Christopher Kerrigan

We’ve just had this fantastic update from Christopher Kerrigan, currently completing his medical elective in Jinja, Uganda:

‘I didn’t really know what to expect from a medical elective in Uganda before I got here.  I was rather nervous on my first day as I approached the hospital.  But the second I introduced myself I was made to feel welcome by the nurses and junior doctors that I worked with.  Working with the junior doctors here makes for a wonderful experience, my western education was focused mainly on theory while theirs was focused mainly on practical skills.  Being here I feel like I have a lot to teach, and an infinite amount to learn.  It is also particularly nice to really contribute and have my presence be appreciated by the staff (most western medical students can relate to constantly feeling like a burden in a clinical setting).  The work brings new challenges because getting the right diagnosis is often only half the battle, figuring out the best course for the patients with such limited resources is often the greater challenge.  Without the availability of most tests I am used to relying on, I really get an opportunity to improve my physical examinations and history taking because it is often all I have to get a diagnosis, and doing field work in the villages is particularly challenging and exciting.   Working in Uganda is a wonderful experience that balances many of the skills I felt weak in my final year of medical school.