Elective in Osaka City University: "Life-changing!"
Ingrid Melinda Prasetyanto
My name is Ingrid Melinda Prasetyanto, a fourth-year medical student from Airlangga University in Surabaya, Indonesia. I'm currently on my seventh semester now. In this semester, as a part of an International Class, I was advised to apply to foreign countries for my Elective module. When I noticed that recently there's a new relationship between my university and Osaka City University (OCU) Medical school, that's led me to go to OCU for my Elective. And for adding my excitement, I can choose any department I want! So I chose Dermatology for my course.
My wonderful journey begins at 27th of November, when me and my 5 friends departed from Surabaya to Osaka. Arriving in Osaka at 28th of November, we are warmly welcomed in OCU and can be added the comfortable dormitory that has been provided for us. These definitely made my day; I'm really excited to start my course in 2nd of December.
Welcomed by Professor Tsuruta, as the head of Dermatology Department in OCU, I'm so pumped to observe more and more about dermatology. He is the most caring professor I've ever met, he always ask me what do I want to see in the next schedule and also he always arrange the best schedule for me every day. Although my schedule is rather tight between my other friends, I really enjoyed every single hour I spent in Dermatology.
Almost every day begins with the observation in the outclinic, but every day I observe different room with different doctor and also different specialties and cases. It's really exciting to see the doctors talk to the patient, taking history, type the medical records and also examine the patient patiently and deftly. In the dermatology department, the doctor often bring camera to take a picture of the skin lesion appearance, they also observe the skin lesion by touching it, seeing it with bare eye or can be helped by dermoscope or magnifying glass. Sometimes they also perform immediate scrapping and directly observe it under the microscope. It's really cool to see how the doctors can provide the early diagnosis and the additional diagnosis method to the skin lesion.
Additional diagnosis usually performed in the same day, usually in the different room, the treatment room, there are some doctors who standby there and do the wound caring procedure, releasing stitches, wound debridement, drug delivery (by intravenous/ intramuscle/ subcutaneous injection), until skin biopsy. The doctor (usually the younger doctor) is really skillful in doing all of those procedures. I even tried to do some subcutaneous injection and thankfully the patient is still okay. In this room, there's also a small room to do some UV treatment, laser treatment and also infrared treatment. The tools are somewhat more sophisticated than Indonesia and I personally amazed by these technologies.
In a week, there's 2 days of operation, first is in Monday and the second is in Thursday. Monday operation usually starts in 1 p.m, but in Thursday the operation start from 9 a.m. in the morning. Thursday operations are more complex than usually done in Monday. Some of the operation even needs some general anesthesia. Usually, there are Kamo sensei and Yanagihara sensei who done the operation. They are very serious when doing the operation; they do the operation carefully and neatly. It's really amazing to see how they done the operation in that detailed and usually in small sizes. Both of them taught me how to do the good surgical suture, and also introduce me to the operation instrument. They also taught me to say "Onegaishimasu", when the operation starts, and "Otsukare-sama deshita" in the end of the operation. One of my unforgettable experiences there is when I assisted them to do some operation. I can washed my hand cleanly, use the operation gown sterilely and stand directly beside the doctor when do the operation. And can be added, Yanagihara sensei also asked me to help him to perform suturing, I'm really surprised and honored! It's my first time to do it in the real patient and I'm glad that the patient's wound is getting better now.
Tuesday is a conference day for Dermatologist. Every Tuesday at 1 p.m., in the professor room in the 13th floor of the hospital, all of the doctors gather around, reporting the ward patient condition, new cases and also discussing the hard cases. Usually started with ward patient condition, the responsible (junior) doctor present the patient recent condition to the discussion; After finishing the presentation, we usually go out and go to each patient that has been presented, seeing and checking their condition again. Not long after that, we go back to the room, and we continue our discussion to the new cases, hard cases and also the biopsy result microscopically. The doctors are very active in discussing the condition of the skin and the microscopic result. Sometimes the microscopic result is not the same as the physical condition. The conference continues with a presentation for next week operation.
The other day, in the afternoon usually I can observe the doctors private outpatient clinic. There's Fukai sensei and Umekoji sensei's clinic for cosmetic specialty, Sugawara sensei in his hair disorder clinic, Tsuruta sensei in his general dermatology clinic, sometimes there's also Osako sensei to do some allergy clinic followed by in the treatment room there's patch test and also prick test performed. I can also choose to observe the patient in the dermatology ward. Usually there are some doctors who perform the wound dressing in the one special room and I can help them to do the wound dressing changing.
All of the doctors in Dermatology have a good skill of speaking English. I know that in my first week they a little bit struggled and scared to speak in English with me. But I'm really glad that in my last week, they can speak English more comfortably with me. I'm really sad that I can't speak Japanese (yet), but I still can understand their English very well although sometimes it's a little bit mixed with Japanese languages.
4 weeks observing in the OCU is a life-changing experience for me. I became more and more confident and keener to be a good dermatologist someday. I also having a good time there, meet so many people, learn more about Japanese culture and explore every corner in Osaka. All of the Japanese students are very friendly to me; they are such a sweetheart and always there to accompany us for knowing Osaka more and more.
I personally want to thank every single of people who make it happen. From the Dermatology itself, there's Professor Tsuruta as the head of the department who always there to help me, Kamo sensei who always helped me in the operation room, Shiratori sensei the one that always be there for me and always supervise me in most of my days there, and all of the doctors that I can't mentioned it one by one. I also want to thank Professor Ishimura and Professor Ohata for making my trip to Japan happen! I'm really grateful to being a part of the OCU even only for 4 weeks. It's such a short time and I really hate to go, but I wish someday I can go back there and probably learning Japanese language more so I can have more experience in OCU. Until we meet again! Arigato gosaimasu, OCU!