Portugal: Hospital Rotations in Lisbon
Submitted by Nina Callahan on the 2020 winter session program in Portugal sponsored by the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences and College of Arts and Sciences…
Welcome to Lisbon! For this Winter 2020 micro session I will be studying in Lisbon, Portugal in a local hospital. The city of Lisbon, capital of Portugal, was founded in the 8th century. A devastating earthquake in 1755 left the city with a hilly terrain, coining Lisbon the “city of seven hills.” Lisbon is a coastal city, known for its seafood dishes, custard pastries, and beautiful architecture. As one of the oldest European cities, Lisbon has a spirited history, filled with influences from various nations.
In the first few days in Lisbon, I was stunned by its beauty and vibrancy. Bright and lively buildings line the streets, with quaint cafes scattered around the city. Within the first few days, I noticed both the friendliness of the locals and the relaxed nature of them. While embarking on this journey, I hope to learn more about the Portuguese healthcare system as well as Portuguese culture.
My time spent in Lisbon will center around shadowing physicians at the Hospital de Santa Maria, the largest hospital in Portugal. Thus far, my day to day routine begins around 6:00 am. Alongside other students, I eat breakfast at a local café and take the metro to the hospital. Each week, I will rotate through different departments within the hospital, shadowing Monday-Friday.
My first rotation at the hospital was in the Neurosurgery Department. My initial reaction to the first day of shadowing was culture shock. I was both overwhelmed by the language barrier and the environment of the hospital. As the week went on, I felt more comfortable with the hospital staff and whereabouts of the hospital. While on this rotation, I had the opportunity to observe surgeries, shadow consultations, as well as engage in conversations with doctors and residents. One resident in this department allowed me to shadow him. He would translate for me what was going on during surgeries as well as during the rounds around the hospital. It was eye-opening to compare the Portuguese and American healthcare systems, both in infrastructure and policy. The surgeries were astonishing, and fast paced. Surgeries involved the removal of brain tumors and skull bones, as well as treatment of aneurysms. While stressful at times, my experience in the hospital has enhanced my desire to pursue a career as a physician assistant.
Aside from shadowing, I have had the opportunity to explore both Lisbon and the surrounding town of Sintra. I enjoy exploring new places and learning about history. I am excited to see where this study abroad experience takes me. Te vejo em breve!
Praça do Comércio: Center city of Lisbon. Taken on the Rua Augusta Arch