Medical Training in the USA: What Would I Have Liked to Know?
With a more globalised world each day, there is an increasing number of students who start considering the opportunities to continue their medical training abroad. One of the most appealing destinies are the United States of America, not only because of its excellent investigation opportunities, but also for its great labor conditions.
We have recently organised a conference with Dr. Inés Villarroya, who was a former medical student in Pompeu Fabra University between 2010 and 2017. She also carried investigation duties in McGill University (Montreal), as well as an Erasmus program in Tübingen (Germany) in 2015. Soon after finishing her medical degree in Spain, she went to speacialize to the United States of America.
Dr. Villarroya has therefore explained our students how did she manage to study for the USMLE exams and how to apply for a residency program in America. The session has been really appelaing as she explained in a simple and step-based way all the process from graduation to admision in a hospital.
After her amazing talk, more than twenty questions from the students were answered as well as some advice given by Dr. Villarroya. We are really thankful for her participation and wish her the best in her new life stage.
You can see the whole talk in the attached link. The session was conducted in spanish, but automatic english subtitles can be activated.
International Women's Day #8M
Following the success of the two years ago roundtable in the 8th of March, the International Women's Day, we have held another edition of this event. This year, due to the pandemic situation, we have hosted the occasion virtually. The title of this year's edition was: "Women, Mothers and Medicine, ¿balancing or giving up?"
As the previous roundtable, we have prepared the activity with the Medicine Students Association of Hospital del Mar, inviting several doctors of the hospital.
One of the invited ponents, was Dr. Marta Pascual, head of the Colorrectal Surgical Unit, who explained the toughness of balancingthe time spent with family and time spent working as a surgeon, which is usually very demanding and implies a lot of sacrifice. She also highlited the importance of, as she referred: "closing the hospital door while at home, and closing the home door while at hospital", expressing the need of focusing on what you are doing at the moment. Some of the other doctors invited were Dr. Mar Iglesias, pathologist; Dr. Juana Flores, endocrinologist; and Dr. Laura Masfarré, oncologist. The recording is available in YouTube in the following link:
Publication in ÀGORA - Pompeu Fabra University Magazine
This month, we have had the opportunity to publish in the Pompeu Fabra University Magazine: ÀGORA. We wrote an article in catalan, explaining the activities we do in our association such as the SCALPEL Symposium. We are including the link of the magazine in case you want to read it.
New Realities in Times of COVID-19 - Symposium
Last Saturday, some of the association members participated in the Doctor As A Humanist last symposium: New Realities in Times of COVID-19.
This time, due to the fact that the event has been carried out online, more students could log in to listen to a wide variety of talks related to the currently pandemic and its relationship towards humanism in Medicine.
It was a very profitable afternoon where we learnt plenty of aspects regarding the consequences that COVID-19 has brought to our new way of living.
Finally, we would like to highlight the amazing talk that Dr. David Kopacz gave at the end of the day. This session was focused on soul loss and burnout in health care. Our professor Dr. Manuel Pera, was the moderator of the plenery and asked the ponent to give an advice to medical students regarding this new reality. Dr. Kopacz answered his question by pointing out the importance of a mentor through this sentence: "A teacher shows you how to do something in a protocolazed way, whereas a mentor helps you find yourself".
Erasmus and Clerkships 2021-2022
We have recently held our first online talk in the history of AQG. We have dedicated it to inform 4th year medical students about how to apply for a Clerkship or an Erasmus program in the next year.
The session has been conducted by Núria Casanova, 6th year student and former President of the association during the last academic year 2019-2020.
She explained the steps to take at the time of submiting an application for a surgical clerkship in the summer of 2021 or a request for an Erasmus program in 2022.
For those interested, you can find more information
Asepsis & antisepsis workshop
This month, we have done the asepsis and antisepsis workshop. This activity shapes the first step in order to apply for a minor surgery workshop, a definitely intersting experience in those interested in surgery.
This year, we have doubled the planned capacity in order to fulfill the interest that 1st and 2nd year students had in doing this seminar, reaching a total capacity of more than 70 students!
First of all, a short lecture has been given by 4th and 5th year students and then the students have practised with surgical material.
The students have learnt the importance of sterility in an operation theatre as well as the correct form of antisepsis in order to prevent surgical infections. Not only did they practise on how to put on sterile gloves, but also on how to fit in a surgical coat. We would like to thank them all and hope to see them in the next AQG activities.
Physical examination and asepsis & antisepsis workshop
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, thousands of medical students around the world have seen their skills training diminished over the last months. In our university, fourth year students have expressed their lack of physical examination skills knowledge since they could not learn it in the previous months in the pathophysiology hospital rotation.
As a result of this situation, Gimbernat Surgical Society has created a workshop to teach the basics of physical examination to fourth year students. We have had the participation of Dr. Juan Guzmán, from the surgical emergency department of Hospital del Mar, who taught us the most relevant concepts to assess a patient who comes to the emergency department. He explained us the importance of a correct evaluation in head trauma, acute abdomen, thoracic contusions and general wounds, among others.
After that, we briefly reviewed the importance of asepsis and antisepsis when scrubbing into an operating theatre as well as how to put on sterile gloves.
Many thanks to all assistants and special gratitude to Dr. Guzmán and 5th year medical students, who also contributed to the workshop realization.
Tribute to the 2018-2020 Committee
What many around the world aim and dream about these pandemic times.
Fresh air for a change. Fresh air for doing more. Fresh air for doing better. And in our case, fresh air for our medical family. We have given to the Surgical Association some fresh air by changing the present Committee and giving way to the new generations.
Changes can be hard to handle. However, we are grateful to our veterans for leaving us the path easy to walk through. We would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to all the commitment and enthusiasm that you have passed on us and has made us keen to make this project even bigger and greater.
The 2018-20 Committee has worked hard to promote the openness of the association along with the participation of the ones that were willing to take part of it and make even bigger this humble family. The Committee that we now leave on our backs has not only stick with the past traditions and popularize them, they have moved a step forward. Their relentless ambition took them to devise one of the major projects that a surgical association can come up with: the first surgical Symposium for medical students in Catalonia: SCALPEL - Gimbernat Surgical Symposium. Thank you for putting your hearts and souls to forge ahead this challenging project and, moreover, having shared with us all your experience to take it even further on the next editions.
We hope to inspire the next generations the same way you did, with enthusiasm and willingness to improve the association as a whole and individually.
SCALPEL. I Gimbernat Surgical Symposium 2020
Also, medical students from all of the catalan faculties could do dinamic workshops. They could learn about the management of a politrauma patient using a simulation room, practise plastic surgery techniques such as skin grafts or flaps, sew up a cardiac valve in an animal heart, proceed to use an arthroscopy device with traumatology surgeons, practise ophtalmology surgery skills, attend suture workshops and even do a medical escape room.
On the past 24th of February we held our first Surgical Symposium for medical students.
We had the pleasure to listen to the conferences of Dr. Salvador Navarro (Parc Taulí, Sabadell), who talked about the ATLS management of a polytraumatic patient and its implementation in Spain, and Dr. Julio Mayol (Clínico San Carlos, Madrid) who gave a lecture about the future of surgery.
Between the workshops, we had a brunch organised for students to ask the doctors and residents questions and concerns about their speciality. At the end of the day, we had a closure act in which we thanked all participants and did a special mention to our professor Dr. Manuel Pera for his implication in the organization of the symposium.
We hope it was a rewarding experience for all the assistants. We are looking forward to seeing you again at Scalpel 2021.
Catalan Surgical Society annual congress
A few months ago, the Catalan Society of Surgery invited us to present a clinical case of a Spiegel's hernia at the congress held on October 17 and 18 in Barcelona.
It has been a very good experience, because it has allowed us to know more about this pathology and also to present it in a congress!
Moreover, after that, we were honored to attend to so many interesting conferences and poster presentations. Among them we want to highlight :
- The Salvador Cardenal Session: Conferences of the Virgili and Gimbernat Awards:
Virgili Award conference: Errors in the initial attention of the patients politraumatized. (Dr. Salvador Navarro)
Gimbernat Award: Is It Possible To Cure Straight Cancer Without Surgery? (Dr. Julio Garcia Aguilar)
- Penetrating cervical lesions by Dr. Anna González Castillo
- Open abdomen and damage control in septic patients by Dr. Rodrigo Medrano Caviedes
Finally, we would like to thank the Catalan Surgical Society for the oportunity and also thank Dr. Laia Torrent for the work done by getting involved in tutoring us along this path.
ESCP annual congress
Greetings from Vienna! This time from Austria Center.
Our president and vicepresident, Núria Casanova and Miriam Cazador, went to the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP) congress celebrated from the 25th to the 27th of last September.
ESCP aims to connect experienced surgeons for exchanging knoweledge and provide a network for collaborative research. Furthermore, ESCP encourages the young surgeons and students to fight against colorectal cancer and to ensure a better care for their patients.
Gender equality and #womeninsurgery were also important highlights of the congress.
We enjoyed the experience and now we are very motivated and looking forward to participate in new collaborative research and projects, such as the new EuroSurg study, the COMPASS study.
Meeting with Rotterdam VCMS society
Last July, seizing the stay of four medical students from Erasmus University Rotterdam in different surgical services of our hospital, we were able to meet and exchange ideas and projects between the two surgical societies: VCMS and AQG.
We could know first-hand the VCMS, an organization of medical students from the Netherlands who have a keen interest on surgery. Annually, they organize conferences, workshops and many other activities such as Summer Clerkships with our hospital.
Moreover, we had the opportunity to present our society, that has much in common with the conferences, workshops and clinical exchanges. Besides that, we explained our minor surgery and major surgery activities, our participation in both international and national congresses and our star project, the I gimbernat surgical symposium in 2020 called SCALPEL.
It was an enriching exchange and we are looking forward to have more projects together. See you soon VCMS!
The Doctor as a Humanist (DASH) online course and international Symposium.
Last April, two members of the Gimbernat Surgical Association, Miranda Rico and Miriam Cazador, attended to the Second International Symposium The Doctor as a Humanist in Moscow, as a participants of the online course The Doctor as a Humanist that some AQG members were doing at the moment.
They had a unique opportunity to meet great doctors and medical students from all over the world and discuss with them about medicine from a different perspective thanks to medical humanities.
Some of the wonderful lectures they attended were: Human senses and Poetry by Dr. Ourania Varsou (University of Glasgow), Patient Memoirs by Prof. Jacek Mostwin, (Johns Hopkins University), Doctors and Patients in Opera by Dr. Joan B. Soriano (Autonomous University, Madrid), from Marcus Welby, M.D. to The resident: fifty years of portraying physicians in TV medical dramas by Prof. Josep Baños and Dr. Irene Canbra-Badii (University of Vic- Central University of Catalonia) or Bulgakov: Doctor and Writer by Dr. Artur Sharluyan (Son Espases University Hospital, Mallorca).
In addition, as members of the The Doctor as a Humanist International School, they presented the results from a study about the vision of both students and teachers about the implementation of medical humanities in UPF.
One of the best thing about the symposium was the chance to speak with Professors and to exchange opinions about what Medical Humanities mean, how we can implement them in the teaching of Medicine and how important they are to train our patient and doctor relationship based in empathy, respect and sensibility.
Medicine is not an exact science, and it implies a relationship with people in their most vulnerable moment of life, so it is important to think about the patient and not only about the disease. This is something we should have in mind during all our medical practice.
We would like to thank Mr Jonathan McFarland for this opportunity and we hope the AQG will have some representation next year in the Third International Symposium in Mexico.
We would like to finish with this statement made by Oliver Sacks:
"In examining disease we gain wisdom about anatomy, physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life"
Interactive Days of Surgery in Pamplona
This year we have attended the Jornadas Interactivas de Cirugía para Estudiantes (JOICE), in Pamplona.
They are a few days of surgery organized by students of the University of Navarra aimed at medical students, from third year, with special interest in surgery.
We have been able to attend conferences on Cardiac Surgery, Neurosurgery and Orthopaedic and Traumatology Surgery. We also attended three live surgeries: Breast reconstruction with DIEP flap, autologous LCA plasty with meniscal repair and laparoscopic colectomy. In turn, we could go asking any questions we had about the operation.
In addition, we did different workshops such as orthopaedic and traumatology surgery, ophthalmic microsurgery, cardiac surgery, maxillofacial surgery, laparoscopy and testing a Da Vinci, among others.
Our main objective was to present the project of our association, the AQG, to motivate the formation of new surgical associations in other universities. For this reason, we presented a poster on "The impact of a surgical association in the training of medical students" with which the students showed great interest. In addition, the poster won the second prize.
As you can see, they are very complete! So if next year you are in third or higher courses, you have an interest in learning actively and, in addition, you like to meet new people, we recommend you sign up!
Professor Manuel Pera elected to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
In an award ceremony on Friday 9 November 2018, Professor Manuel Pera, Honorary President of our student’s surgical society, was awarded a Fellowship ad hominem by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEdin).
It was established in 1505, and with a worldwide membership, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is the oldest and one of the largest surgical institutions, dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and advancement in surgical practice through its activities in education, training and examinations.
The Ceremony was presided over by President Professor Michael Griffin with Miss Anna Paisley, member of Council RCSEdin, presenting Professor Manuel Pera to the audience.
Professor Manuel Pera was invited to address to the new diplomates and fellows at the end of the ceremony.
European Society of Coloproctology
Hello! My name is Miranda, president of the Gimbernat Surgical Society and member of EuroSurg. This September, I had the opportunity to attend the 13th scientific and annual meeting of the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP), which took place in Nice (France).
It has been a wonderful experience, since I have the chance to meet medical students, trainees and attendings from all over the world. I have learnt the differences in medical studies and surgical training in Europe. In addition, I really enjoyed some lectures of outstanding surgeons and learnt a lot in the symposiums and in the trainees round sessions.
On my first day, we had the pleasure to listen to Steven Wexner (USA), who talked about tips and errors during surgery in primary rectal cancer. We also attended the Young ESCP meeting, formed by members of the ESCP below 40 years old. It was a very interesting session and it seemed to me like this was a very organized, innovative and motivated organization, which has different committees (Communication, Education, Research…) with members of many countries.
After lunch, we went to the “International trials results forum” where different completed trials where presented and then commented by experts. At this event, our EuroSurg partner Tim van Elst (Netherlands) presented the preliminary results of Imagine study. Some people at the audience congratulated us for the amazing work we do as medical students, since we have collected data from 25 countries and put it together with a common aim. Then, we attend the lecture “Microbiomic and metagenomic influences on colorectal patients”, where Dr John Alverdy (USA) did a wonderful talk about how the characteristics of the patients’s microbiota (which depends on diet, smoking habits, genome) can be related to the time of recovery, the probability of leak anastomosis etc. Finally, we attended the event “Coloproctology 3.0: the cutting edge if online innovation”. What I liked the most was the participation of Michael Seres (UK) who suffers from Crohn’s disease and in 2011 was the 11th person to undergo a small bowel transplant in the UK. He has been explaining all of his journey through the internet and social media, developing different online platforms and apps in order to help patients.
On Thursday, we attended the “Trainee round session”, where they discussed different clinical cases, asking about anamnesis, physical examination, supplementary tests and treatments. First, Dr Anandi Schiphorst (Netherlands) presented cases about pruritus ani, and then Dr Guillaume Meurette (France) about obstructed defecation. Then, we attended the workshop “How to write a paper” where they gave us some interesting tips. Eventually, we went to the EuroSurg Student session, where our partner Steve Chapman (UK) exposed the preliminary results of Imagine. It seems that it will be possible to write up to 4 papers from this project. At this session, our partner and member of the EuroSurg committee Ruth Blanco, made a wonderful speech about the future perspectives in the EuroSurg group. In addition, we had the chance to know other research collaborative groups, such as INCISION (a student group for global surgery) or GlobalSurg collaborative. At the end of the session, possible new projects for EuroSurg 2019-2020 were defended.
On Friday, our last day, we attended the symposium “Watch and wait for rectal cancer”, where different surgeons such as Nuno Figueiredo (Portugal) discussed surgery strategies and actions in the course of colorectal cancer. Finally, we attended the lectures “Strategies to reduce superficial surgical site infection” by Dr Samson Tou (UK) and “Back to the future: Standard haemorrhoidectomy or newer techniques?” by Steven Brown (UK).
This has been the first Medical Congress that I attended and it has been a very enlightening experience. I met people from England, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Netherlands… who share the willing of achieving excellence in their studies and in their professional careers. Very implicated and motivated medical students and trainees who make you realized that is very important to work hard and to be part of collaborative organizations such as EuroSurg, where you can share knowledge and together achieve great things. We hope, as a Student Surgical Society, to continue collaborating with organizations such as EuroSurg, and we are sure that we will establish new and exciting links with other groups.
How to get involved in research as medical student?
The last 21st of november we had the pleasure to welcome Ruth Blanco, graduated in medicine for UAB, committee member of the Eurosurg management group and our contact with the EuroSurg study.
She presented to the members of our association the Eurosurg project. The Eurosurg collaborative is an international research group led by students and surgical trainees. It was founded at the European Society of Coloproctology (ESCP) meeting in 2015 and has evolved quickly with active members in over 10 European and International countries. Its main purpose is to achieve significant multicenter studies in several countries around the world.
Now our association is taking part of the current study called IMAGINE: Ileus MAnaGement IntErnational. We're really excited to get involved in research. From our point of view is an excellent activity to complement our academic formation as medical students. Hopefully it is only the beginning of our collaborations in medical research.
We've opened a new page about research to post some information and opinions about the projects that we're going to get involved.
The symposium: "Can the Humanities transform 21st Century Medicine?"
Last weekend the International Symposium entitled “Can the Humanities transform the 21st Century Medicine?” was celebrated in Palma de Mallorca. It was organized by prestigious universities such as John Hopkins University, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Sechenov University and Queen’s University (Belfast).
Professor Manuel Pera, Honorary President of the Gimbernat Surgical Association and Head of Gastrointestinal Surgery had the honour to give the conference “The human viewpoint as a teaching tool to counterbalance the technological excess in the training of future physicians. A positive experience.”
During his presentation, Dr. Manuel Pera pointed out the importance of the human component in the doctor-patient relationship and emphasized the importance of new medical humanities as the way of introducing it. Moreover, he acknowledged the unique experience of the Gimbernat Surgical Association where medical humanities represent an important part of their activities always under the leadership of the students.
Carlos Ruiz, Vascular Surgeon Resident at the Hospital del Mar and former President of the Gimbernat Surgical Association participated in a specific session within the Symposium together with other students from other universities.
You can listen to Dr. Manuel Pera’s interview on Radio IB3 (Balear Islands) with this link (https://goo.gl/VH6UuV).
You can also check the program of the conference.
Surgery Elective Exchanges with King's College and Erasmus University Surgical Societies
For the first time two students from the Erasmus University Surgical Society and two students from the King´s College Surgical Society spent a clerkship period in surgical services at the Hospital del Mar as an exchanged program between our surgical societies. All four experiences were very successful and may favor future exchanges in the coming years. We are committed to maintain and even improved our links with other surgical societies.
To read their experiences:
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of our association, we organized a conference about Antoni de Gimbernat in order to honor the surgeon who gives his name to our association, but first, we had the honour of giving the Gimbernat award for the best surgery teacher of the bachelor's degree in Medicine UPF-UAB. The candidates were voted by the 4th grade medicine students. This year, the winner for best surgery teacher was Dr. Marta Pascual, colorectal surgeon at the Hospital del Mar and Associate Professor of Surgery, for his ability to weak up motivation to the students.
February 28th 2017
Best surgery teacher award
The Gimbernat Surgical Association at the XXXI Annual Congress of the Spanish Association of Surgeons in Madrid
Idoia Álvarez, President of the Gimbernat Surgical Association (2014-2016), had the honour to represent the association in the XXXI Annual Meeting of the Spanish Association of Surgeons celebrated in Madrid (November, 19-22, 2016). A poster reporting the activities of our surgical association was selected for an oral presentation in one of the best posters sessions. The aim of the study was to determine whether joining a student surgical association has an influence to pursue a surgical specialty.
During the last 2 years we performed a survey using a 10 items questionnaire among members of the association. A total of 71 completed it, which represents 65% of the total number of members. The activities more voted were the sutures workshops along with the conferences and the contact with surgeons. Participating in the activities of the association was perceived as a valuable experience within their medical education. A 71% of the members consider that their experience improves their preparation to undergo a surgical career.
Finally, the most interesting specialty for them was general and digestive surgery.
The Chairman of the session congratulated our President on the results of the association and encouraged us to continue with this interesting and innovative educational project.
Since this January, the association has its very first sponsor: Elsevier editorial. From now on you can find on the page reviews of Elsevier surgical manuals written by our honorary president and honorary members.
Plus, the Elsevier editorial was kind enough to offer us the manual "Cirugía General y del Aparato Digestivo" which counts with a review in our page written by professor Manuel Pera. In February, our president Idoia Álvarez and our honorary president professor Manuel Pera donated the new book to the library of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences of the Pompeu Fabra University.
Feel free to check it out and enjoy it!
To check the new reviews:
The Gimbernat Surgical Association is now sponsored by the prestigious editorial Elsevier!
October 6th 2015
Best surgery teacher award
The academic year 2015-2016 was inaugurated with a conference about clerkship and erasmus experiencies from our members, but first we had the honour of giving the Gimbernat award for the best surgery teacher of the bachelor's degree in Medicine UPF-UAB. The candidates were voted by the 4th grade medicine students. This year, the winner for best surgery teacher was our honorary member, Dr. Juan Sancho, for his hability to weak up motivation to the students.
February 7th 2015
Our honorary President Professor Manuel Pera wins a prize at the annual Farewell Gala.
Like every year, in February 2015 took place the Farewell Gala for the sixth year medical students. During the event, our honorary President had the honor of receiving a prize delivered by the students.