As a fourth year Bond Medical Program student, Jessica McDonald chose to journey to Vienna, Austria to fulfil her elective placement completing the experience at “SMZ-Ost Donauspital’, Vienna’s second-largest public hospital.
Jessica first experienced Austria as an exchange student four years ago and was excited to re-immerse herself in the country she refers to as her ‘zweite heimatland’, or second home. However, this time she got to experience Austria’s medical community for the first time. The biggest challenge of this adventure was be adapting to a new language in a professional environment.
“The challenge of working in a foreign hospital and having to communicate in German as my second language is daunting and very exciting at the same time.
I think this will only benefit my communication skills as I will have to be clear and careful in what I communicate and demonstrate empathy and care at the same time. Communication is an area of medical training that is particularly emphasised as part of the Bond Medicine Program and I believe this will hold me in good stead” said Jessica.
Her trip spanned four weeks between the months of November and December.
Jessica was provided accommodation on the hospital’s campus, even further engrossing her in the medical community of Vienna. At the end of her stay she also had the opportunity to stay and enjoy a white Austrian Christmas while staying with the exchange family that originally introduced her to the country.
Jessica worked in the paediatric department of the hospital, assisting within the four various wards; neonatal intensive care, cancer ward, general paediatric medicine and the paediatric surgery ward.
“As paediatrics is an area that I am very interested in pursuing as part of my medical career, this will be a fantastic opportunity to extend my skills” said Jessica.