Thomas Jefferson University Study Report
19th August to 23rd August 2019
First of all, I appreciate the all agents, doctors and host students from Thomas Jefferson University and Osaka City University, which gave me the great opportunity to experience a wonderful internship.
The main reason I decided to go to the US and observe the hospital was that I really wanted to find out the difference of clinical environment and education system between two countries.
At first, the number of people involved in medical field is much more than that of Japan. Some departments have the specific medical assistants who are in charge of making records on the electronic data base next to doctors asking patients questions. Some have the assistants who decide which rooms patients have to wait in, etc. They effectively separate what they do.
What made me surprised the most was the doctors’ attitude and the relationship between patients and doctors. While the majority of doctors in Japan wear suits or specific formal white clothes, which we generally call “Casey” as well as white coats, not only doctors but also students wear informal clothes, which are actually not too casual. In addition, I was amazed by how closely doctors deal with patients. They treat their patients without unnecessary or indirect consideration. They often cross their foots even in front of patients just like when they talk to their friends although they never forget to show respects through facial and verbal expression. They sometimes ask direct questions even if the patients are under 18, such as “Are you sexual active?” “Do you always use condoms?” They also hi-touch with patients especially when the results of blood tests turn out to be better than before, and so on. These things might come from cultural gap, and they seem to enjoy working conditions, such as chatting with nurses and assistants with snacks between exams.
When it comes to the education system, which was introduced a few years ago, students learn the specific medicine day by day, for example, anatomy-1st period, pathology-2nd period, and clinical medicine-3rd period. In Japan, we separately learn medicine year by year, for example, anatomy-2nd year, pathology-3rd year, clinical medicine- 4th year.
What is fundamentally different is they learn medicine for 4 years instead of 6 years in Japan. Nevertheless, especially 4th year students have already mastered how to smoothly examine patients and ask questions. Their skills are obviously the same as Japanese resident doctors or senior ones. They also regularly read research papers and actively attend the research conducted by senior doctors.
Besides, they have morning conferences. The atmosphere is far from awkward, and they talk about the diseases they mustn’t overlook judging from chief complaints and physical symptoms. It is amazing for residents to have such lectures and inspired by senior doctors whose ages are pretty close.
I’m not sure if I have an chance to work abroad in the future, but I definitely believe this experience will help me. Thank you so much.