Faculty of Medicine, Airlangga University
My name is Muhammad Fariz, a fourth-year medical student from Airlangga University in Surabaya, Indonesia. I'm currently on my seventh semester now. In this semester, there is one obligatory module in my curriculum called Elective module, which requires students to visit and observe a hospital / health care service outside of our university's hospital. As a part of an International Class, I was advised to apply to foreign countries for my Elective module, which then led me to choose Osaka City University (OCU) in Osaka, Japan. I have always been fascinated with Japanese culture and technology, which makes OCU a right choice for me to study. My study in OCU lasted a whole month, started in December 2nd until December 27th 2013.
OCU let me choose whichever department I am interested in, so I chose Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. This Elective Module is some kind of an observational study. My assignment was to see and observe the doctors. Considering that I'm still a student, so examining the patients is still off-limits for me. But even though I wasn't allowed to examine, I still learned a lot and had amazing experiences here. I spent most of my schedule learning from the doctors at the clinic which located in the first floor of OCU Hospital (which located right next to the university). The patients were, of course, speaking in Japanese, but the doctors always explained to me about the patients' conditions after they finished examining. Most of the patients in this department were suffering from Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), one of the most common degeneration diseases that damages the retina. Other cases include diabetic retinopathy as manifestation of diabetes mellitus, central serous choroidopathy, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease, glaucoma, cataract and a few others.
One of the things that I noticed here is that there weren't many infection cases, at least that I knew of. A bit different than my country, where infection sections of the eye clinic was swarmed with patients. There were one or two cases of uveitis, but comparing to other diseases, it was relatively low. I also noticed that Japan has a slightly different ophthalmoscope (a tool that allows doctors to see patient's fundus) from what doctors in Indonesia are using. In Indonesia, we use direct ophthalmoscope, where Japanese doctors use the indirect ones. Even though they're different, I think the principle of both ophthalmoscope are the same. The doctors let me practice to use that ophthalmoscope in an 'eye model' and sometimes also I got to practice to use the slit-lamp.
Aside from observing patients' anamnesis, I had the pleasure to watch some of the eye examinations; whether using ultrasound devices; using OCT (optical coherence tomography); and also angiography using fluorescent and indocyanine green (ICG) to see the vessel circulation of the retina. My doctors also took me to the ward and see the daily check-ups for the in-patients. I also watched some laser treatments using SRT (selective retinal therapy) laser and even observe some operations where the doctors performed cataract surgery, vitrectomy and some eye injections. These were all new and exciting for me because I haven't gone through clerkship / internship periode yet. So I hope that this experience will prepare me when I reach that phase in my study later this year.
I didn't have much problems when it came to communicating. I could understand the doctors just fine. Even when the doctors and I had a little problem at communicating, they surely made an effort to make me understand what they're aiming for. That's one of the biggest things that I love about my experience. The doctors at OCU Hospital, especially in this department, are really nice and humble. They always made sure that I was taken care of and gave me a lot of chances to observe as many as I could. I really enjoyed my time learning from them. Not only I learned about medical stuff, but also I had the pleasure to be welcomed with their generosity and hospitality for those 4 weeks.
My experience as a guest student here is something I will cherish forever. I learned a lot of new stuff, able to observe a lot of great things and meet these extremely nice doctors and students. I have to thank Professor Kunihiko Shiraki as the head of Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences for letting me observe there. Dr Yoshida, dr. Ueno, dr. Tsuboi, as my supervisors; and all the doctors that I couldn't mention one by one for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I feel extremely grateful and honored to be in this department. Thank you also for Professor Ishimura, Professor Ohata and all the doctors and staff in Osaka City University for allowing me to stay and study at your university and hospital with such great kindness. I really enjoyed my stay there and I really hope we can meet again in the future :