Thomas Jefferson University Study Report
19th August to 23rd August 2019
The exchange program at the Thomas Jefferson University was great experience for me. I experienced a lot of things I never would have experienced in Japan. Together with my classmates, we observed internal medicine, emergency medicine, gastroenterology, family medicine outpatient department, and pediatrics outpatient department. We also had lectures on cardiology, volunteerism, interprofessional education and program, and the curriculum at the university. We had lunch with American medical students every day, and we participated in a tour of Pennsylvania hospital and watched a baseball game between San Diego and Philadelphia. Also, we had the opportunity to visit the Chinatown Clinic, a volunteer medical care clinic for patients who don’t have medical insurance or don’t want to go to ordinary clinics. In particular, two things stood out to me.
First, at the hospital, I found a lot of difference in medical education between Japan and the US. I followed medical students in the emergency medicine and pediatrics outpatient department, and I could see how medical students in the US are learning to practice medicine. It was more practical than in Japan. The students conducted pre-examination by themselves and to my surprise, they were able to discuss about the cases with doctors. This means the students have enough confidence and knowledge to do so. They were the important members of the team that took care of the patients. Though they were medical students, they carried themselves like doctors. I could learn a lot from them.
Second, I was impressed with the Chinatown Clinic and Dr. Lau, the manager of the clinic and professor of emergency medicine at the university. He believes that doing good things without expecting return can change the world. I was so impressed with the lecture he gave us on Monday and on Wednesday I was fortunate enough to visit his clinic. I’ve never seen such kind of clinic before. The clinic had a calm and warm atmosphere. There were also medical students volunteering at this clinic. I followed a medical student and a patient. The patient was there for a follow up after breast cancer surgery. She had medical insurance, so I wondered why she chose to come to this clinic. I asked Dr. Lau and he told me gently that she didn’t have her insurance when she came there for the first time. Dr. Lau helped her to get her insurance and treatment for breast cancer, so she trusted him and the Chinatown Clinic. I learned the importance of building personal relationship with patients.
Thanks to this program, I had an amazing time in the US this summer. Actually it was my first time to the US, and this program broadened my horizon and will help me prepare for my future career. I had initial difficulty adjusting to American culture, but luckily I was able to have friends in the US and they made my experience even more rewarding. I would like to thank all doctors, staffs and students who took care of me and my classmates.