Tokyo Bay Urayasu Ichikawa Medical Center General Internal Medicine Resident
I am honored to report my experience in the externship at the Department of Hospital Medicine in Shands Hospital, UF Health, a program by the International Exchange Program Committee of ACP Japan Chapter.
I applied to this program because I would like to be a resident in the U.S., and to become a specialist in hospital medicine in the future. Since the field is not yet common in Japan, I thought that I would be able to gain a lot of experience that could not be obtained in my country. Consequently, my guess was correct.
I observed two branches of the division; the floor team and the consultation team. The floor team basically takes care of inpatients who have multiple health problems not limited to one organ. In my hospital, I usually work as a general internal medicine doctor, and I noticed that there is not such a big difference in terms of work content and treatment strategy between U.S. and Japan. I was pleased to know that the clinical skills that I have gained in my workplace are as good as the ones residents of one of the best teaching hospitals in the U.S. can learn.
The consultation team consists of a resident and an attending doctor. They accept consultations from other departments and procedures including thoracentesis, paracentesis, lumbar puncture, and so on. The main cases of referrals are co-management of patients in surgery divisions. For example, we get many patients from orthopedics with comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure. The cooperation between each department to treat patients was quite impressive.
Since this unique consultation system is the biggest reason for me to become a hospitalist in the U.S., I was happy to have the chance to observe their work. Though the system is not prevalent in my country, I am convinced that it is beneficial to both patients and doctors in other departments because surgeons do not have to take care of those problems and can concentrate on their specialties, and patients are treated by specialists of internal medicine. In the future, I would like to learn about this culture and bring it back to my country to make the Japanese healthcare system better.
Not only was it an excellent chance to learn about medicine in America, but it was also such a great opportunity for me in terms of my future carrier as a resident. Doctor Kattan, the attending doctor, was so generous that he allowed me to see patients and make presentations on each round. Although it was a short externship, I felt that I made a significant improvement in my clinical skills through this experience. I believe that it was achieved by reflecting on the attending doctor’s evaluation and advice about my assessments, plans, and presentations every day. He also asked me a lot of clinical questions related to patients during rounds, which revealed that I need to be more familiar with a wide variety of diseases, treatments, etc. I also realized that it was vital for me to acquire his ability to educate residents and medical students in the future.
Through this externship, my determination of becoming a hospitalist has only gotten deeper. I strongly recommend this program to those who wish to work in the United States.
Finally, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the attending doctors who gave us the chance to join the externship, doctors in IECP of ACP Japan Chapter including Dr. Maliishi, and Dr. Stein who kindly and wholly helped me before and during my stay in Gainesville, Florida.