Paediatrics Elective - AUSTRALIA
Updated: May 22
Nepean Hospital, New South Wales, Australia
Keen in pursuing a career in paediatrics, and particularly eager to experience it rather than waiting till my 5th year placement, I decided to organise my elective in paediatrics and have never regretted it!
I felt choosing a country like Australia would be useful as the medicine learnt there would be easily transferable to my UK paediatric placement (as well as offering some amazing travelling opportunities once my hospital placement was finished!)
I started searching for my placement the summer before my elective, as countries like Australia, Canada and America are notorious for having high demand so wanted to ensure my placement was set in stone. As Australia’s winter is when our summer was, a lot of the hospitals blocked students from working in paeds & A&E during their busy periods from March-July but thankfully Nepean Hospital, just on the outskirts of Sydney still offered it.
In Australia, the electives are linked to actual University medical schools, and therefore I applied to University of Sydney Medical School. The process took about 3 months of completing various applications and paperwork going back and forth between the hospital coordinator and myself before being finalised.
After the stress of fourth year exams I decided to give myself a week of pure holiday before starting my hospital placement and would really recommend this, as the last thing you want after exams is to go back to learning and ward rounds trust me!
I really enjoyed the fact my elective was in general paediatrics as it meant I got to see a broad range of acute and chronic conditions from asthma to ADHD rather than being very sub-specialised which at a Junior level can often be confusing! I found Australian doctors to be so welcoming, encouraging me to note-take on the ward rounds and giving me my own clinic room to take histories and clerk patients before presenting them to the Consultant. I was also allowed to join in with the medical students teaching which was really beneficial.
I chose to do a reflective essay on communication techniques used in paediatrics as this would be beneficial to my learning yet but wasn’t intense as a research study. Everyone’s different, but for myself the focus of elective was learning purely for the enjoyment, immersing myself in the hospitals and just having fun after a very long 4th year! There will always be time to do research, but not necessarily 2 months off to have fun, experience a new place and travel!
After my elective I went travelling up the coast of Australia which involved lots of surfing, living on a sailboat, visiting islands, snorkelling and meeting Koalas! It really was amazing and I found travelling there felt very easy and safe!
One consideration for going to Australia is the cost…It is sadly quite expensive! But if you’re happy to stay in hostels and use the coach system to travel it’s very reasonable! You can also use the hospital accommodation.
I really recommend Australia as it has the perfect balance between hospital learning and fun, exciting things to do on the weekends! It’s technically Autumn/Winter when our elective period is, but as you can tell from the activities listed above, it was boiling and I went in the sea everyday!
With PONGsoc love,
5th year student
If anyone would like to ask any questions, please feel free to email me at AXS1264@student.bham.ac.uk