Our surgery elective is designed for students interested in surgery. It is an opportunity to get significant hands on experience in both minor and major surgery as well as more specialized surgical areas, depending on the student interest and the type of elective placement. Check out our blogs and testimonials for the different learning experiences by our past students.
Given the integrated management in most hospitals in developing countries and the limited resources and health care staffing constraints, students will have a vast exposure to various surgical disciplines as they rotate through the hospital during their placement.
General Surgery: This offers students a supporting role in patient care including pre-operative evaluation, operative intervention and post-operative care and management.
While under supervision, the student may be involved in pre-operative decision making such as patient assessment and counseling, obtaining informed consent, pre-operative medication e.g. thrombophylaxis, prophylactic antibiotics, blood transfusions, anxiolytics and glyceamic control. Preoperative imaging and radiographic and sonographic interpretation is also an essential part of our program.
The student will also assist intra-operatively in major theatre surgical conditions that require general anaesthesia like resection and anastomosis, explorative laparatomies, partial bilroths gastrectomys and total gastrectomys, appendicectomy, total and subtotal hemicolectomy, fashioning colostomys, peritoneal toilet. Thyroidectomy, Pancreatectomy, splenectomys and cholangietectomy, hernia repairs are also common. Skin grafts and flaps, surgical toilet
The student will also get minor theatre time and assist in procedures under local anaesthetic like
Post operative participatory care will include fluid and electrolyte management in burns and stoma care. Surgical patient analgesia and pain management. Stoma care. Heamatology and pathology lab interpretations, Imaging and nutrition. Reviewing of abdominal drains and management of donor/recipient sites in grafts. In addition to the above, our general surgery experience will expose students to other procedures or enhance skills such as history taking and physical examination. Participation in conferences, case based learning and rounds will be expected.
Orthopedic Surgery: Opportunity to participate in diagnosis and active treatment of patients, including case application, manipulation of simple fractures, closed and open reduction, management of orthopeadic implants like external and internal fixation. Knail insertion, k-wire insertion and plate&screws are all common occurences. The student will also get to participate in POP application, attend surgery and post-op management.
Burn Surgery: Participate in burn related critical care, fluid and electrolyte resuscitation, review of heamatologic indices. Management of surgical wounds and surgical procedures related to burn care like skin harvesting and grafting, escharotomys, counseling, reconstructive surgery. Exposure will include care of both major and minor burns patients. Critically injured techniques will be invasive critical care, Swan-Ganz catheter insertion and monitoring, amongst others.
Trauma & Emergency Surgery: Opportunity to get involved with dealing with acute trauma patients. Students learn how to effectively manage patients during the resuscitative and evaluation phases of care. Application of the ATLS protocols, management of multiple trauma, and the management of shock. They will handle emergency intervention such as chest intubations, tracheostomy, fluid management of shock. Participants will follow patients through treatment and their rehabilitation from acute trauma and help monitor some patients. They will also take responsibility with the attending to develop appropriate treatment and rehabilitation plans for these patients. The students will work under the direct supervision of the attending and will be expected to attend any conferences and case based learning held.
Surgical Critical Care: Offers student opportunity to get involved in managing critically ill surgical patients in both the intensive care units and high dependency unit. This will be done both preoperatively and postoperatively. Students learn how to use invasive monitoring and support systems. They also get opportunity to perform procedures such as insertion of arterial lines, central lines, and intubations, perform history taking, physical examination, daily notes and orders, evaluation and treatment planning. Students will work under surgery department resident and attending and are expected to attend any bedside teachings and conferences.
Surgical oncology: Students get surgical experience focusing on the care of patients with malignant and benign disorders, both inpatient and in the surgical outpatient clinic. Their experience will span preoperative, operative and postoperative management and continued care.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Students participate in the surgical management of oral and head and neck pathology e.g cystic hygromas, thyroid carcinomas, cleft palate&lips and the correction of congenital and traumatic deformities like Le fort fractures and orbital blow-out fractures. Acute trauma care is a major component.
The student will have some responsibility for inpatient care. Students will have the opportunity to perform or assist in minor procedures in the clinic, as well as the emergency room, and operating room, under supervision.
Rural Surgery (This is for our Rural Program Placements): Provide students with diverse and challenging aspects of the practice of rural surgery by participating in clinics as well as outpatient and inpatient surgical cases. Students will participate in evaluating patients presenting with emergency conditions and to perform or assist with invasive monitoring and treatment procedures.
Pediatric Surgery: The student will be an integral part of the surgical team and participate in evaluating and managing pre- and post-operative pediatric surgical conditions including neonatal intussuception, tracheo-esophageal fistulas, posterior urethral valves, spina bifida, umbilical hernias, trauma and will assist in operative care. Related opportunities to learn the essentials of pediatric enteral and parenteral nutritional support, invasive and non-invasive monitoring procedures and techniques, respiratory support techniques, and a variety of pediatric vascular access procedures are available depending on placement facility.
The surgery elective is targeted at medical students, residency doctors and students pursuing surgery as a specialty, and is a fulfilling way to pursuing an away elective or just to volunteer their skills to underserved communities while experiencing healthcare in a different setting.
We also organise for the students safari add ons at the end of the program to parks in either Kenya or Tanzania, including a hike to Mt. Kilimanjaro. See the safari link at http://electiveafrica.com/safari
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