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An International Elective in ChinaJuly 24th, 2013
First started in 2012, UCLA residents have the opportunity to travel to Hangzhou, China to rotate at the Second Affiliated Hospital Zhejiang University School of Medicine (SAHZU). Located in a large metropolitan area with over 3 million people, residents spend 4 weeks with the Department of Anesthesiology as an active member of the anesthesia team. Residents participate in a wide range of cases, including general surgery, neurosurgery, cardiac, thoracic, ENT, urologic, and orthopedic surgery. Residents have the chance to engage in new techniques and experience how anesthesia is performed in a foreign country. As the OR schedule can be tailored to the residents' specific interests, SAHZU provides an opportunity to strengthen the residents' experience in any particular subspecialty of his or her choice.
The normal workday typically begins around 7am, as you will arrive and assist in the OR setup. The UCLA resident is typically paired with an English speaking attending on a one on one basis, as well as with an English speaking resident. Depending on the complexity of the case, the role of the UCLA resident can range from being the primary anesthetist with help from a junior resident to provide the necessary translation, to acting as the senior resident in a Team Captain like role in supervising and assisting in a case. Days outside of the operating room will include visits to the hospital's acute and chronic pain center and off-site anesthesia locations. Clinical duties typically finish between 4-5pm, when you will then be in contact with the next day's anesthesia team to discuss an anesthetic plan.
At SAHZU, you will be a part of a large and active anesthesia team comprising an attending, resident, and medical and postgraduate students, providing a large audience for exchange of educational experiences. When acting as the Team Captain, you will have ample opportunity to demonstrate and teach techniques and anesthetic principles to the junior members of the anesthesia team, as well as learn new techniques and principles such as target controlled infusions for total intravenous anesthetics and the placement of occlusive intra-abdominal aortic balloons for large orthopedic pelvic surgeries. There is a morning conference every weekday, with a majority of lectures given in both English and Chinese, discussing a wide array of topics including case reports, anesthetic journal articles, and advanced anesthesia topics. You will actively be a part of morning lectures throughout the month, and will have the opportunity to present multiple topics of your choice.
Housing is provided by the international affairs office and is located immediately adjacent to the hospital. Each resident is provided their own bedroom, with a shared living room and bathroom. Each shared unit includes cabled internet, a refrigerator, microwave, and washer and dryer unit. A monthly stipend (2000RMB~$330) is provided for the resident, as well as lunch in the OR cafeteria during the working days (500RMB~$80). Each meal during lunch typically costs less than 10RMB~$1.50. On arrival, you will be greeted by a member from the hospital who will provide you an identification badge, white coat, and access to scrubs and a locker room.
Hangzhou, China is a sprawling metropolitan city with over 3 million inhabitants. Here, the resident can explore the wonders and classic culture that the city has to offer. Near the hospital is Westlake, a 15 minute walk away, where one can find a bustling scenic area with numerous restaurants, shops, shows, and an active nightlife. Hangzhou is well known for its silk and tea production, where one can explore the vast tea fields and tastes of longjing and dragonwell tea. Shanghai is a mere 45 minute train ride away, where the resident can go on the weekends to explore and experience a different metropolitan city. â€¨
Albert Tran April 2013
"Traveling to China and getting the chance to see how anesthesia is done halfway across the world was a wonderful experience for me. As one of the first residents to experience this international elective at SAHZU in Hangzhou, I had the pleasure of test-driving the elective and was very happy that I did. Though I was not able to speak Chinese, I was still able to be an active member of the anesthesia team, performing a variety of cases and procedures throughout my month there. I placed central lines, arterial lines, double lumen endotracheal tubes, performed peripheral nerve blocks, and got an opportunity to use a different array of medications and delivery techniques that are not typically used in the US. The anesthesia department there really tries to tailor your experience to what you want, as I spent my last week there doing rare cases, including awake craniotomies, tracheal resections, and sacral tumor resections with the placement of an occluding abdominal aortic balloon.
Living in China itself was a fantastic experience. Everyone is very quick to make friends, and I very much enjoyed going all over Hangzhou, experiencing the sights, sounds, and tastes of the city! Westlake is a beautiful place, and I will cherish the experience and new friendships for the rest of my life.
Victor Xia MD and Albert Tran MD
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