Clinical Experience in Messina, Italy as an Exchange Student –

Clinical Experience in Messina, Italy as an Exchange Student – post thumbnail image

Kuliah Kerja Nyata or KKN is a program in which the students are doing community service in Indonesia which lasts for 1 month. Students are also given the option to undergo this program abroad by KKN Penyetaraan. This will give the student a chance to have clinical clerkship in a hospital abroad.

This August, we were given the chance to go abroad to Messina, Italy, as a form of KKN by the Center for Indonesian Medical Student Activities (CIMSA). This program was also hosted by the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). This exchange program allowed us to do a clinical clerkship at Messina, Italy. Specifically at The Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Gaetano Martino. This program was held from the 1st of August until 31st of August.

The Italian Republic, Italy is home to approximately 59.11 million residents and spans an area of 301,338 square kilometers. In 2021, Italy achieved a ranking of fourth place in global healthcare standards. This recognition is attributed to the healthcare system’s exceptional quality, equitable accessibility, and its positive impact on the overall health and life expectancy of the population. In 2019, Italy experienced a modest 0.30 percent increase in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The administration of Italy’s healthcare system is overseen by the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN), a national health service with regional branches. This system extends universal healthcare coverage to both residents and citizens, with public healthcare services typically being provided at no cost (DelveInsight, 2022).

Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Gaetano Martino offers patients a lot of services and we were placed in the Anesthesia department which allows me to observe and get a bigger picture on what the Anesthesia  department does. The first day of our clinical clerkship at the hospital, we were introduced to the doctors there. There was a language barrier ,but we can still communicate well. The doctors are able to tell and teach us what they do there. The doctors, residents, and nurses are very kind, friendly, and very excited about having us there and teaching us. We were given the chance to observe a surgery and to observe and learn what to do in the ICU. We were taught on how to monitor the patients, the technologies used in the department to monitor the patients, and the way the drugs are administered to the patient. We observed an abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery which is a potentially life-threatening condition involving the enlargement of the aorta, the main blood vessel. We learned that the anesthesiologist’s role is to maintain the stability of the patient’s condition by continuously monitoring the patient’s vital signs, such as the heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and respiratory rate.

This program is not only giving us a chance for clinical clerkship, but also for cultural exchange, as there are also a lot of exchange students from different countries. The Local Exchange Officer (LEO) organized a National Food and Drink party, an activity where we bring foods and drinks from our own country. This activity introduced me to a lot of foods and drinks from another country that I did now know. Besides that, they also organized several social programs for us so we can know more about each other and know more about Messina.

Some of the social programs we have done are hiking. We went for a hike to a mountain named Etna. It was a very tiring but also a very fun experience. We also went to another city in Sicily called Palermo. Palermo is the biggest city in Sicily which is also known for Quattro Canti, the center of the historic quarters of the city. During our time there at Palermo, we also went to Cefalu, a really beautiful beach near Palermo.

This opportunity is very valuable for us and we are grateful for this experience. This experience allows us to have a clinical clerkship in another country and also learn about other cultures there. We learned about how the health system in Messina differs from Indonesia and how the cultures differ as well. After this program, We have more knowledge and a bigger picture on how the doctors treat the patients and also learn more from other exchange students which allows me to become a better doctor and also a better person in the future.

Source: DelveInsight. (2022). Italy Healthcare Outlook. Retrieved from,expectancy%20of%20the%20Italian%20population.

By: Jeffrey Aldric Afaratu (Student of Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Airlangga)

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