Department of Medicine and Therapeutics elective, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong

I spent a month in the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics in Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong.

It is a tertiary hospital affiliated to CUHK medical school. I was attached to the local final year student (year 6) and followed their normal curriculums. Accommodation was provided by the medical school.

In this hospital, all internal medicine departments are under the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics. As a result, this rotation covers all subspecialties. Lectures were given whole day on Wednesday.

Other days I was allowed to attend clinics and ward rounds. All staff members were dedicated to teaching. Sometimes during clinics, doctors would use patients as OSCE patients and require students to examine the patient and answer questions.

I have a special interest in Rheumatology and Haematology as I did not get to do these rotations during my third year rotation. Neurology is also a great fun and has always been my interest. Thus I attended multiple clinics of these specialties.

There was also tutorials on Thursday and Friday afternoon. Thursday is for neurological teaching. Doctors would find typical patients for students to either examine or take a history from, and based on the information provided, give a lecture about the relevant topics.

Once a patient with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was diagnosed purely on physical examination, which is very cool.

The teaching in this medical school also has a special focus on not only common disease, but also rare but interesting diseases. For example, students were taught in great details about not only Parkinson’s disease, but also Parkinson plus syndrome and the specific manifestations of them.

Hong Kong, as part of Asia, has a very different disease epidemiology, and thus their teaching required a good understanding of some diseases that are not very common in Australia.

For example, tuberculosis and hepatitis B is extremely common in the region thus students need to know great details about TB diagnosis and treatment and how to interpret hepatitis B serology.

This is very interesting to know. Another interesting thing was the different hospital culture. All doctors wore white coat and they were not familiar with white coat phenomenon. All hospital staff were required to wear mask when they were on duty to prevent the spread of influenza.

Both academic and clinical aspects of teaching were fantastic.

In addition, life in Hong Kong is also very different from Australia. Hong Kong is a metropolitan city with seven million populations and it is the same size as Canberra if not smaller.

It has great public transportation and enormous amount of different delicious food. It also has huge shopping malls and beautiful harbors. There are many skyscrapers and on some of the rooftops of these buildings there were nice bars where you can see the whole view of the city and it was great fun.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend Hong Kong as an elective place for future students.