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My elective experience

Eleanor Gettinby's elective experience

Eleanor embarked on a split elective, dividing her time between King’s College Hospital in London in obstetrics and gynaecology, and Mater Dei Hospital in Malta in dermatology.

The bustling environment of King's provided Eleanor with exposure to complex cases and a taste of city life, shaping her perspective on potential future training in London. In Malta, Eleanor sought to understand healthcare in a different cultural context, delving into dermatology and exploring the unique challenges faced by medical professionals.

Discover how Eleanor's elective not only fueled her enthusiasm for a career in women's health but also opened her eyes to varied training pathways and specific interests within the field.

Eleanor Gettinby

Where did you go for your elective?

I did a split elective, I spent half of my time at King’s College Hospital in London doing obstetrics and gynaecology and the other half in Mater Dei Hospital, Malta doing dermatology.

In London, my focus was to gain a broader experience of obstetrics and gynaecology and get involved in as many branches of it as possible. I wanted to practice my skills, strengthen my knowledge and build connections with experts in this field.

I had previously only experienced this specialty in a district general hospital so I was looking forward to seeing more complex cases at King’s. I also wanted to experience living and working in London an get an accurate picture of what my life might be like, should I choose to apply to London for foundation training.

In Malta, I wanted to experience healthcare in a different culture and learn about the challenges and differences faced there. I had an interest in dermatology so I wanted to explore this specialty further and get more experience in this field. As Malta is a sunny country, I thought there would be a lot of work for the dermatologists there, specifically related to skin cancer which is what I am interested in.

What did you learn from the experience?

What I learnt most from the experience is the breadth of opportunities out there for both of these fields. I learnt a lot about all the different specialties within women’s health and what this meant for my future career, as well as the different pathways into a career in women’s health.

The experience of working and living in London is something that I will never forget and it showed me that I do want to be in a busy city for foundation years, whether that be in London or another city.

What did you enjoy about your elective?

In London, I enjoyed having the freedom over where I wanted to spend my time. Unlike normal placement, I was able to spend my time wherever I enjoyed most and did not have to worry about getting things signed-off.

I was able to pursue interests in fields such as fertility. King’s is a much bigger hospital than what I had been used to which meant there was constantly interesting things going on. I got to see a wider range of presentations and because there is a faster turnover of patients, there were more opportunities to be involved in more cases. I also felt like I was able to practice particular skills that would normally not be my priority when on placement, such as interpreting ultrasounds.

In Malta, more than anything I enjoyed meeting other medical students from different medical schools and being able to explore the island. Experiencing healthcare in another country was incredibly interesting and I enjoyed comparing our healthcare system to the Maltese system. The approach to dermatology in Malta was quite different to the UK and I enjoyed learning about how and why they manage conditions the way they do.

My elective in Malta was something that I will never forget and I really enjoyed the opportunity to live and work in another country for a month. I enjoyed speaking to the local doctors and students there and hearing about the differences between the Maltese and UK healthcare system and their perceptions of the UK system.

How did your experience help shape your career aspirations?

My elective in London made me more enthusiastic about a career in women’s health. I also learnt about different types of training pathways that are available, which I was not previously aware of. This was an incredibly positive experience which helped me make great connections and really helped me to find my specific interests within the field.