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My name is Soma Karakai. I successfully applied for a summer internship in Internal Medicine at North-Western State Medical University Named after I. I. Mechnikov (SZGMU) in Saint Petersburg.
It was an amazing exchange! Very memorable experience. It was over the top. I am very thankful, that I could spend my exchange in Saint Petersburg.
I am quite satisfied with the practice. Everyone at the hospital was so kind to us especially doctor Anastasia Kuzmina-Krutetskaya and LEO Julia. In general, I really enjoyed being in the operating theater. Few people speak English at the hospital and we had some problems communicating with some residents with whom we cooperated some times, but I know you can't do anything about it.
Thank you also for everything you did for us, you are so kind too.
I am definitely coming back, I love Saint-Petersburg!
"Why Russia and St. Petersburg? And why anesthesiology?" were some of the most frequently asked questions in our surroundings. The answer is both simple and still worth mentioning. We are both related to that country by the background of our family, by speaking Russian as (a second) mother tongue and by having relatives in "Saint Pete" and Moscow. Nevertheless none of us has ever been there yet. The choice of interning at the institute of anesthesiology has roots in straight field interest as well as prior experience in emergency service.
Unfortunately, our university (LMU Munich) does not cooperate with the SZGMU. That is the reason why we had to organize the internship in St. Petersburg by ourselves by contacting the international office of the SZGMU, which turned out to be some paper work, but absolutely manageable. Due to the international office (which was the first highlight of our trip) and particularly Alyona Kubina and Kseniya Krylova, every fear of complex administration was baseless.
The excellent organization furthermore continued with Prof. Konstantin Lebedinsky, head of the anesthesiological department, who ensured that we could rotate between different clinics where we always had a local contact person navigating us directly every single day.
What did a typical day look like? It consisted of joining several operations and observing anesthesiological processes, for instance anamnesis and patient information, induction, maintenance and termination of anesthesia, as well as surveillance of vital parameters. As a positive side effect we also got a fascinating insight into different surgical techniques.
During one month we've spotted remarkable matters:
More than once we have been made aware of the usage of several German monitoring and medication devices. Doctors and medical staff had a few sets of their own colorful surgery scrubs, caps and in some cases even masks, all of this being washed privately. Partially, there was no change between surgical scrubs and normal ward scrubs, and in one clinic no wearing of masks in the operation room (OR) in absence of patients. In some OR more than one operation at once were performed. To welcome each other, men shook hands with men, but not with women or women with each other. We could observe ambulance with flashing blue light waiting in red traffic light queues. And these are only examples of a bunch of noteworthy observations.
Our feedback turns out to be very positive, as all anesthesiologists, ordinators and interns were caring and sympathetic. Continuously, every doctor we met was keen on explaining us a lot and answering all of our questions. We are truly impressed by their technical and didactical expertise in spite of partial deficiency of clinical resources. However, opportunities to improve and learn practical skills by delegated tasks were, unfortunately, quite rare (but of high quality tutoring).
Apart from gaining an insight into the Russian health care system and the internship itself, we enjoyed the unique opportunity to witness an excerpt of modern Russian culture, warm-hearted people and a gorgeous and affecting city of intellectuals, literates, musicians and artists.
To conclude, we would like to express our deep gratitude to the international office, to Prof. Lebedinsky and to all of the anesthesiologists. We will do our best to initiate a link between the LMU (University in Munich) and the SZGMU, so that more students might benefit from our experiences.
My name is Yuri Paumen and I did a one month internship in St. Petersburg, Russia in September 2016.
I was always fascinated by Russian culture, its unique traditions and its beautiful language, but most importantly Russian people themselves.
As I also love the specialty of Anesthesiology and Intensive care, I thought it would be a great idea to combine the two and travel to St. Petersburg to experience Russia and its medical system.
The department of international affairs with its helpful and friendly assistants of International Department did a tremendous job in organizing my stay.
Whether it was a place in the university dorm, handling issues with the authorities or offering me trips to famous sights in St. Petersburg, they always took great care of me for which I am most grateful for.
On the first day I met with the chief of anesthesiology, Prof. Lebedinsky who was so kind to organize my clinical rotations at various hospitals throughout the city.
I am very thankful that Prof. Lebedinsky referred me to his knowledgeable colleagues and making sure I saw and learned as much as possible.
During my internship I rotated through 4 different hospitals, each having their own interesting profile and challenging cases.
Prof. Lebedinsky made sure that I was always paired up with a very competent mentor who was eager to teach me and with whom I could discuss various forms of anaesthesiological and intensive therapeutic management.
There was a heavy emphasis on practical procedures as well and during my stay I was able to further develop my skill set and knowledge.
For instance, under the guidance of one of the chiefs and his specialist I was allowed to place my first epidural catheter which was an awesome experience.
Under supervision I was often allowed to induce and manage the anesthesia and through this gain valuable insights which will be useful for my residency.
One personal highlight for me was to see my first xenon anesthesia which to my surprise was being conducted by a special and interesting Russian machine I had never seen before.
All the staff of the hospitals I worked at was always very welcoming and I got to feel the warm, Russian hospitality.
Often I was invited by the doctors to drink tea with them while being offered delicious sweets, cakes and tasty Russian dishes.
It made me feel that I was part of the team and I really appreciated these kind gestures which I am sure I will miss once I leave Russia.
The staff at the clinics were always very easy going, friendly and funny and made a lot of jokes during the day which was a pleasant surprise for me.
During my internship, I wish I had known more Russian as the morning meetings always seemed to be quite funny and I could have interacted with more of the wonderful people at the hospitals.
I noticed that the doctors always greeted each other each morning by shaking each others hands and that the hierarchy wasn't as strict and formal as I experienced in Germany.
This felt to me as if I was meeting my friends for a game of football and made the atmosphere more relaxed.
The chiefs of the departments always reminded me of strong and powerful Russian bears who could get furious and inpatient rather quickly but who also had very kind and caring hearts.
They always took their time for me which I appreciated very much and it was truly an honor to have worked with each and every one of them.
I wish I could have stayed for another month but unfortunately all good things eventually come to an end.
For me, this was by far the most memorable and best internship I ever had and I will highly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in having a little adventure in Mother Russia.
A big thank you to all the people who made stay a truly wonderful experience !!! Goodbye and good luck to all the future students !!!
The month of July was both successful for me as a medical student and also on the field of experiencing new things. I am very glad that I got the medical clerkship on your University, because it offered me a good chance to learn new things. Also, it is in the most beautiful city in the world, so I saw historical places, fascinating churches and a lots of sightseeing.
As for the medical practice, I really cannot say a bad word. I am very thankful to Dr. Marina S. Barilko, she was very kind and friendly with us. We saw patients with various diseases, some of which are very rare and I did not have a chance to see previously.
The skill that I improved the most is auscultation and this is the most essential skill to a doctor's knowledge, because it can lead to fast and easy orientation of a patient disease and further diagnosis.
Another thing that I had a chance to do is giving injections and veinpunction, which are more practically things.
I learned about some medical interventions in your country, as we were in the invasive cardiology department, dialysis and radiology department.
In the free time, we had so much things to do. We were going in different places, cafes and wandering in the center of the city. I met people from many countries of Europe and that is very positive from social aspect.
The only thing that was not so good is that the accommodation was far away from the University and we had to travel a lot, but on the other hand with this we could see the different parts of the city.
All in all, it was an excellent experience for me, which I will remember and hopefully will repeat again in the future.
Since the first time I heard about how many opportunities are available for exchange students including the summer practices, I couldn’t wait to get involved in such an adventure. Fortunately, after a successful scholarship me and one fellow student flew to the great city of Saint Petersburg – or North’s Venice, as it is called sometimes. All in all, it was super!
We considered ourselves very lucky, firstly because of our contact person, Polina Sheshneva. She was a kind and very helpful company to us. She showed us several famous and beautiful places in the city center, not to mention the seashore or the suburbs of Peterhof, where we spent almost a whole day. We could reach her almost every day, so we spent around half of our afternoons together. On the first day, we met Timur, too. He was the older, experienced CP – he drove us from the airport to the dormitory, helped us in changing money and buying the most important things. Both of them speak English very well, so we had no difficulties in communication.
Secondly, we couldn’t have imagined any better place than the Department of Neurology, 99 percently due to our supervisors – Dr. Ingа Victorovna and Dr. Ivan Mihailovich. During the two weeks when we were there, they were our “foreign family”. They were not only unbelievably kind from the beginning, but taught us conscientiously. Ingа Victorovna organized many cultural programs for us as well. Breath-taking choir concerts in Saint Isaac’s Cathedral and the Church of the Savior on Blood, a boat trip on the Neva, a classical and a modern ballet in both Mariinsky Theatres. All of them for free, in two weeks. We were astonished every day thanks to her hospitality. To continue, Ivan was responsible for more surprises. He took us to a natural lake near the city for a whole day picnic on the first weekend, for example. And he took his whole family, too. We made a fire, cooked “plof”, swam in the cold lake, played with the children.. It was far beyond our expectations. :)
During the second two weeks we had the chance to be part of the Department of Family Medicine. Here we met some friendly doctors with different specialties. We spent our time mainly with Professor Dr. Elena Frolova – we examined patients, analyzed ECGs or discussed her previous interesting cases. With the other doctors (and students) we practiced our internal medical skills.
To summarize I am very grateful for the opportunity and I would also thank for the time and kindness of all our supervisors and contact persons. I will absolutely recommend Saint Petersburg for the third year students. Hopefully, we may meet again. :)
Yours sincerely, Gergely Csaba
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