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A month’s internship at the IMQ clinic – Reflections of an American medical student

I have just completed a month-long internship at IMQ, and I would like to write a few words on how grateful I am to have been able to have this experience.  My internship was in “Urgencias” (the equivalent of Emergency Medicine in the USA or the Casualty Department in the UK). I was quite nervous for the first few days as I didn’t know anyone and, although I can speak and understand Spanish, my fluency is obviously not at the level of a native. At my orientation course on the first day, any worries I had were quickly dispelled. The IMQ team were very friendly and helped me get kitted out with my uniform like everyone else and find my way around the facilities. The next day, the atmosphere was the same: really pleasant. The doctors, nurses and other staff at IMQ were eager to get to know me and made me feel at home. I appreciated all of their interest in our medical system in the United States, where schooling and training differ in certain regards.

The doctors I worked with were exceptional. Over the month, I was not only able to improve my Spanish substantially, especially with regard to medical terminology, but I believe I also gained more medical knowledge. I had the opportunity of seeing patients with everything from nephrolithiasis to traumatic injuries. Traumatology formed a significant part of what I saw during my time at the clinic and I even say how a spinal fracture can be reduced. Additionally, with the patience and guidance of the IMQ doctors, I experienced the art of using ultrasound to show an expecting mother her baby. Moments like this strengthen my desire to learn and grow in my career as a doctor.

I cannot express enough gratitude to the IMQ team, and especially Dr Fidel Fuentes, for making this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible. Over this month, I extended my medical knowledge and I also discovered people’s capacity to welcome a complete foreigner with no knowledge of their system or local customs.

As a future doctor who will be working with hundreds of individuals, seeing this attitude in a medical team was priceless. I know that what I learned during the month on both a professional and personal level will benefit both me and my patients in the years to come.