Navigating Clinical Clerkship in the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Unit –Navigating Clinical Clerkship in the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Unit –
In the morning of October 28, 2023, I embarked on a journey from Juanda Airport, Surabaya, to Paris. The anticipation was palpable as my friends and I, assigned to the CHU Lille student outbound program, meticulously prepared for this transformative experience. Among the hurdles we faced, obtaining a French visa proved to be the most challenging. Despite my success, my friends encountered setbacks, with two receiving visa rejections. Fortune smiled upon us when we discovered that one of them held a residual Schengen visa, allowing me and Gabriel Damarwibawa to represent our trio in France.
Touching down at Charles de Gaulle Airport on October 29, 2023, we embarked on a scenic two-hour Flixbus journey to Lille. The first week unfolded with the commencement of clinical clerkship on October 30, where I chose rotations in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, while Gabriel opted for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Navigating the medical landscape of Lille presented multifaceted challenges. Language barriers prompted interactions in a blend of English and French, often with the assistance of Google Translate. As we delved into the intricacies of the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery unit, the operating room became a classroom, and surgeries like the “lobectomy of the upper right lobe” unveiled the sophistication of surgical techniques.
Days were spent observing an array of surgeries conducted by various doctors, ranging from Prof. Venissac, Dr. Akkad, Dr. De Wolf, Dr. Surmei, Dr. Plaisant, Dr. Sion, to dr. Jeremie. Procedures varied from video-assisted thoracoscopic surgeries (VATS) lobectomies to diagnostic explorations like “supra clavicular nodule biopsy” Lunch breaks in the hospital’s café not only offered a respite but also provided opportunities to foster connections with residents, including a chance encounter with a new arrival, dr. Duygia from Vietnam and other residents such as dr. Arnaud, dr. Nyankoye, dr. Marion, dr. Abdul, and dr. Arthur.
The first week saw us exploring the charming streets of Lille during the national holiday on November 1, visiting iconic landmarks such as Grand Place, Rihour, Place de la République, and La Vieille Bourse. Weekends offered a different pace, with visits to Zoo de Lille and Citadelle, adding a touch of leisure to our cultural immersion.
The second week continued the clinical journey, featuring surgeries conducted with the Da Vinci robot. The third week delved into even more intricate procedures such as a clinical trial called IMPALA to treat mesothelioma and discussions on interpreting radiographs and electrocardiogram (EKG) results to practicing suture techniques.
The final week marked the culmination of our clinical clerkship, witnessing surgeries such as “mediastinoscopy” and participating in more discussions on interpreting radiographs and EKG results. On October 27, 2023, I bid farewell in Charles de Gaulle Airport, concluding a transformative medical odyssey.
Returning to Surabaya on October 28, 2023, via Changi Airport, Singapore, I carried with me a treasure trove of experiences, cultural encounters, and a profound understanding of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery practices. Beyond expanding my medical knowledge, this journey left an indelible mark on my global perspective and professional growth, signifying a chapter of personal and intellectual enrichment.