|4 Oct 2023|
Two students from Germany ventured over to Guernsey this summer to complete medical electives organised by the MSG at the island's hospital. Andreas Wirtz, a fifth-year student studying in Hamburg, and Magdalena Rattunde, a fifth-year student studying in Berlin, were both unaware of the island’s existence before discovering it on an elective-rating website. After considering several other locations, both settled on Guernsey as the destination for their first elective abroad.
The Medical Specialist Group has hosted 14 elective students so far this year, supporting different wards and specialists within the hospital and the MSG itself. All medical students need to do elective placements to see how their learning is applied in real situations.
Magdalena completed her two-week elective on the gynaecology and obstetrics ward, while Andreas spent four weeks working with urology and anaesthesiology.
“I have already completed all my mandatory electives in Germany, but I wanted to explore a different place and health care system. So I chose to do an additional elective in Guernsey.” said Magdalena.
Magdalena and Andreas both discovered Guernsey through famulatur-ranking.de, an elective experience rating website. While Guernsey only had two reviews when they were both choosing their elective, they said the experiences sounded so positive that it was an easy decision to make.
“Initially I was looking into doing one in Nepal,” said Andreas. “Here I could do a four-week elective, but Nepal would have been much shorter. I hadn’t heard of Guernsey, so I wasn’t sure if it was a country or a region of somewhere, but the positive reviews from the two previous elective students really stood out.”
During their time at the PEH, Magdalena attended C-Sections, clinics, theatre and observed a hysterectomy. Andreas also helped with clinics and theatre, also supporting doctors on intensive care. Both have completed various clinic studies back in Germany in relation to their speciality.
Both said that Guernsey’s hospital was a completely change of pace to hospitals they had worked in at home.
“In Berlin, they rely on medical students for certain things, like taking blood, but in Guernsey they don’t,” said Magdalena.
“Doctors don’t depend on students for anything, so there is more variety in what we can get involved with on the wards. I’m used to everyone being stressed and overworked in hospitals at home, but there is more time for answering questions and teaching here, you don’t feel like you’re bothering anyone by asking questions.”
Andreas said that, in other hospitals, you can sense the issues with understaffing and underfunding, but that was not felt in Guernsey.
“Sometimes in hospitals you can ask a simple question and doctors can get a bit snappy because they are already so busy, but here they really take the time to support you. One thing that is great here is that you are given a schedule, so you know what your day is going to look like.”
He said the island itself was beautiful, with friendly people inside and out of the hospital.
When asked if they would recommend Guernsey as a place to do an elective, Magdalena and Andreas said the willingness to teach of medical staff was a huge selling point.
“Everyone is so friendly and keen to teach. When we see each other back at our accommodation we always talk about how friendly the staff are,” said Magdalena.
Andreas compared it to previous educational hospitals he had done electives at.
“At university hospitals you see special cases, patients with rare or unusual symptoms and diagnoses, but here it is more limited, as many patients with severe or complex care needs would be sent to Southampton,’ he said. ‘Here I get to deal with a lot of day-to-day care for more common issues, which is just as valuable as knowing how to manage the more challenging cases.”
“It gives you hope that not all hospitals are under intense pressure. Everything seems to function well, which is a massive benefit when it comes to doctors and surgeons having the time and patience to educate students on the job.”
MSG chair Dr Steve Evans, said: “We are keen to support the learning of the next generation of doctors and offer the unique experience of an elective in Guernsey.
“We can only take a limited number of students at a time, but we do our best to support them. We hope that some will love the island want to return to work here in the future when they are fully qualified.”