Dr Z Dana Huq, a former Cardiff University student now working as an F1 at the Heath hospital, gave an informative talk to the second year medical students about his experience with planning an elective.
He originally planned to go to Sharm el Sheikh for a 5 week elective at the Hyperbaric Medical Centre as he is a keen scuba diver. However, due to the unsettled political status of the country at the time, the elective had to be cancelled and reorganised. After enquiring at several different hospitals across the world and hearing little back, he decided on an elective at Fremantle Hospital in Perth, Australia. He spent 5 weeks there, working in the Hyperbaric and A&E departments and enjoyed his elective immensely. He benefited in particular by gaining experience in hyperbaric medicine which he was thinking of specialising in at the time. However, he found the A&E specialty and the clinical experience he gained from working in a fast paced environment to be more appealing to him and his future career decision. He gained experience in suturing, nerve blocks and night shifts in a foreign healthcare system and recommended Australia highly as a place for great clinical experiences as well as leisure opportunities.
Dr Dana Huq advised on the practicalities of organising electives from selecting the country to booking flights. His take home messages were to have back up options if elective plans fall through, investigate hidden costs, especially if travelling to first world countries such as Australia and America and to start planning early.
By Katie Field