06 Dec Aspiring doctor, Luke McCulloch, volunteers at our clinic and shares his experiences
LUKE McCULLOCH is an 18-year old lad from Scotland, who recently finished school with outstanding grades.
Luke wants to become a doctor and is waiting to get into medical university. He came with his father (who volunteers in Tbar training) to Timor-Leste, to get a feel of the medical side and an understanding of different cultures. Barbara Knight (Founder of Hearing First Steps) referred The Order of Malta Clinic to Luke, who volunteered at our clinic from November 13-20, 2018. He shares his experiences:
“I’ve been fortunate enough to have had work experience at the Order of Malta Clinic. It has been an invaluable opportunity that I’ve learned a lot from and will always appreciate. Over my time I’ve experienced the workings of the clinic, from the reception and pharmacy to the vital signs check, to the doctor consultations.
My first impressions of the clinic where that it was an exceptionally clean and well-presented environment with all the staff being both friendly and polite always. Those that clean the clinic work extremely hard throughout the day to ensure there is always a high level of hygiene maintained.
During my time helping at the reception I’ve learned about the clever and efficient computerised patient and drug record system used as well as the vital patient record booklets that detail previous consultations at the clinic. I’ve learned about the importance of having up-to-date patient information to hand as well as always knowing the number of drugs that are being prescribed.
The clinic has its own pharmacy and the reception staff all have a good knowledge of the different types of drugs, what they are used for and
where to find them. Having watched the staff in the pharmacy it has developed my own understanding of the kind of doses that are prescribed as well as an understanding of how some of the drugs act.
I’ve also spent time with the nurses that check each patient’s vital signs before patients have their consultations with one of the doctors. The nurses are both skilled at what they do and communicate excellently to patients. I’ve had the opportunity to practice measuring patient’s blood pressure, heart rate and temperature. I’ve observed how important it is to be kind and caring to each and every patient as well as respecting patient confidentiality at all times. I’ve also been able to spend a great deal of time with a variety of different doctors at the clinic.
Sitting in and observing consultations have been thoroughly enjoyable and I have gained a deeper insight into what being a doctor is really like. Much of my experience with the doctors has been with those that don’t speak Tetun, in the presence of an extremely helpful and considerate translator, Adam.
Something I’ll definitely take away with me is that even though a translator is sometimes needed, the empathy and respect of the patient-doctor relationship is always present and that the doctors always speak to the patients, not at the patients. The doctors still speak to the patients as if no translator is there and always ask for patient consent despite the barrier in communication, which is admirable.
I’ve gained an insight into the kind of questions required about taking a medical history and have been able to observe body examinations by doctors as well as being able to test urine samples myself. The communication and listening skills each doctor has is excellent. During the consultations, some of the doctors introduce humour whilst always being professional, which helps to build a strong relationship with the patients.
During my time at the clinic I’ve learned more about both the techniques behind medicine and the imperative social skills required.
One of the most important things I’ve observed while at the clinic is that from the reception staff to the nurses to the doctors, everyone plays a crucial part in the running of the clinic in an efficient and effective manner. Everyone works together as a team and everyone is vital in the entire process.
Lanie has built up an excellent team at the clinic and runs the clinic seamlessly, and I’d like to thank her for giving me the opportunity to come here. Being at the clinic is an insightful experience I’ve learnt from and enjoyed thoroughly.”