A friend of mine, Dr. C (DOCTOR!!!! ahhhhh, I'm so excited) is working as a Clinical Fellow at AUC this semester. He asked if I could answer a few questions from some of his 5th semester students about my UK clinical experience. This was a super informal discussion but they said it would be ok for me to share the info in case their questions or our answers can help another student decide if the UK may be right for them!
The conversation took place over a group chat...
Dr. C: Hey ParadiseMed, I have a few students that are interested in going to England for Core rotations. I talked to them about my experience at Ealing and I would really appreciate it if you share and/or answer any questions they might have about Romford.
ParadiseMed: I thought doing cores in the U.K. was a great experience. I don't think it took away from learning or opportunities compared to US students. We got lots of hands on experience and going over there has in fact been a welcomed talking point during residency interviews.
Students: The Romford Site is back and will be seeing their first round of AUC students soon. We are current 5ths and are looking to start clinicals in September. There is a little difference with Romford now tho...they have "buddy paired" with a psych hospital in Baltimore (Spring Grove) since they do not have their own psych rotations.
I would like to know what you thought of the Romford rotation (hospital, staff, your schedule/experience) as well as the overall area of Romford for housing and such. I'm married and my spouse will be joining me for a long as possible (most likely 6 months with the current visas)
ParadiseMed: I thought the site was good. Huge hospital. Lots of opportunities to participate in things. U would likely be at Queens (aka "Romford) and King George's hospital (we did Medicine there). They have every department and tons of patients. The Consultants (Attendings) are great. The working environment is great. The junior docs are very nice. And ppl are willing to teach you.
I didn't live in the hospital affiliated housing bc the lady never returned any of my inquiries. I found a house share abt 1 mile or so away from the hospital not too far from Romford town center. I'm using that "town center" term very loosely. I found housing on spareroom.co.uk
The Romford site is abt 30min outside of Central London. Transportation is easy. Life was pretty good over there. One caveat is you really have to be a self starter. No one will really hand you anything or have some of the types of expectations as in the US. But they will work with you when they see you're interested and engaged. You can see/do whatever you're interested in. You wouldn't really be limited by more than ur enthusiasm.
I had a great experience and I recommend it for the right types of ppl.
It can get lonely being away from home and family. But you will also meet lots of ppl and make new friends from everywhere. You also get the experience of living in yet another country. Not sure how the visa thing will work for your spouse...I know some things were changing recently with that so look into it before you commit.
Students: It sounds like being forward and showing initiative is needed for most the rotations in the U.K.. I've had that explained to me from people at other sites too.
What's the cost of living? Rent, bills, food, etc?
It seems like even in the UK, students are rotating within different hospitals, is that right?
Any other "cons" jump out at you, besides the "self starter" aspect?
ParadiseMed: Yes...there are like 6 different sites (maybe more)
Cost of living there is pretty pricey! Almost like SXM prices when it comes to rent for sure. No one usually lives on their own bc it's so expensive. House shares are the norm not the exception. The hospital housing may be a little less expensive. But imagine dorm living...again...dorm furniture, decor, everything. I walked in (while visiting a friend) and thought I was back in my college dorm building.
Food can be found affordably depending on if ur cooking or eating out. It's not as bad. U also have to factor in the exchange rate to see how far your $$$ will get you with ££
If you budget you can survive with no prob. If you don't, u will run out of money lol. If you travel, u will run out of money even faster! But it was all worth it
Students: The spare room site you gave us...did you run into any issues with that? Do people on sites like that make you sign a certain lease? I'm just thinking ahead since we are only there for like 9 months-ish
ParadiseMeD: Some want a 6mo/1yr lease. Others will do month-month. If u explain ur situation they are willing to work with you. I "toured" my place via skype and then paid a deposit.
I'd have to think of other "cons" but none jump out at me right now.
Students: Any other sites popular for housing?
ParadiseMed: That's all I used. They have more than 1 million rooms available. Granted, they are in all different parts of the country so depending on the site u choose, you should be able to find a room if u don't use the hospital/Ealing sponsored housing.
Dr. C: I have told them as well, it was a great experience. You have to show initiative and you will enjoy your rotation. You are part of the team and they will welcome you with open arms. At Ealing, one of the cons was that we have paper charts but you will get enough education. Most of the service was closing at Ealing so I finished the rest of my rotation at Northwick park, which was about 20 min away...and like ParadiseMed said, it is a great topic of discussion when you are on the interview trail. I can say for sure that I have talked about England during all my interviews, like all of them.
ParadiseMed: We had paper charts as well at King George's and Queens.
Students: I'm sold on the U.K., now it's just figuring out our preferred locations. Not sure how it was for you, but for Romford's schedule there are no breaks. You just plow right through all your rotations. I'm completely fine with that since we are September class and our rotation times are "crunched" to say the least lol
Dr C: Even at Ealing, the longest break I had was 2 weeks
ParadiseMed: Yeah, no real breaks.If u want to try to match in 2019??? U will have to be on top of everything. You won't have time to take off to study for comp or Step 2 CK or CS. If ur a person who requires that extra time, think about that before deciding. Entering that years match will also depend on how long you take off to study for Step 1. Just think about all of those things. If u find u can't make the match the year u want, u can extend ur rotations and apply the following year. It's much more important to do well on your exams than to rush to enter the Match.
Seems crazy to have to think abt Step 2 before even taking Step 1 but u have to keep everything on ur radar.
Students: Our COMP is in 29 days.
ParadiseMed: STUDYYYYYYY!! So u can enjoy the last month on the island!!!
Good luck on the Comp everyone!!!
That's it for now....What other questions do you guys have about Clinical Rotations in the UK???