Over the past 40 years, not only has St. George’s University drawn students and faculty from 140 countries to the small island of Grenada, it has also provided students with the opportunity to explore course selectives all over the world, including Peru, the Czech Republic, India, Thailand, Kenya, and beyond.
For almost a decade, the University has offered its Clinical Professionalism Selective in Sweden, a one-week intensive selective in June hosted by Dr. Carin Muhr, a neurologist at Uppsala University Hospital in Uppsala, Sweden. In addition to building upon their professional competencies and skills, seven SGU students also learned about conflict resolution, cultural competence, and the Swedish health care system, and practiced specific communication skills to enhance their history taking and professionalism.
“This summer selective helps the students with their professional development and supports the international mission of SGU by giving them a chance to see the world with a broader lens and to appreciate the differences between health care systems in Sweden, the UK, the US, and Grenada,” said Dr. Cheryl Cox Macpherson, Professor and Chair of SGU’s Department of Bioethics.
The students were able to interact with patients, doctors, and other medical students in clinical and classroom settings. They were assessed through team projects on the topics of their choice and presented conference style on their last day. Outside the classroom, students were encouraged to explore Uppsala and nearby Stockholm, enjoying their culture, museums, and music, including through special student-oriented activities.
“It was a great opportunity to get an international perspective on health care from the European view,” said Cameron Parent, a Term 3 medical student and one of this year’s participants. “This also facilitated a discussion about ethics in health care and equality in health care distribution. I would definitely recommend other students taking the Sweden selective because it is an excellent resume point and it will help me match and succeed in my medical career.”
Along with the close-knit nature of the mentoring experience, at the completion of this course the students will also have defined aspects of professionalism in medicine pertaining to self care and patient care, discussed how socioeconomics, culture, gender, and geography affect health and health care, and described and contrasted the Swedish health care system with that of other nations.
“As a selective, the students are getting an opportunity to elevate their transcripts and resumes,” said Dr. Cox Macpherson. “In the past, students have credited the Sweden selective with making it possible for them to match on their first choice; it allows them to stand out to interviewers by articulating this unique field experience.”
Term 3 medical student Daniel Wolbrom added, “The Sweden selective was not only helpful on my resume but also in the many different skills that we learned. I found the communications skills to be the most valuable through the use of role-playing scenarios, which can later be applied to the way we do interviews with patients. I especially recommend it to students who haven’t been in a hospital setting or had patient interactions before medical school. It’s particularly beneficial to develop their patient history-taking skills and to see what its like to apply medical knowledge to a real-life setting.”
By Ray-Donna Peters