ESP internship stories: Anna in Mexico
HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THIS CLINIC?
I found this clinic in the database and it was a coincidence that I knew the only ESP student who has been there before (Michaela Cosarca). I contacted her and she told me very positively about her internship experience with Recovery so I was very excited to get a placement there.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO SHARE THE EXPERIENCE THERE?
It was hard to imagine what Mexico would be like, from a cultural aspect and from a professional aspect. Mexico works quite differently from what I was used to, the infrastructure, the people, and their habits, their mentality etc.
I had contacted the clinic and my CI before starting my internship there. I was offered to come by the clinic before my first day and be introduced to the team and get a little tour around the clinic. My CI received me and showed me around the clinic, a very nice, modern rehabilitation center with rooms to privately give therapy to the patients, areas for aerobic training, strength training and a general gym area, a separate big room to treat neurological patients and the Snoezelen room for pediatric patients. I was introduced to the team and other health professionals working there.
This was the start of a period of very special 20 weeks were I was integrated into a young, motivated team of physiotherapists. The therapists work in teams: 2 or 3 interns help a more experienced physiotherapist to treat more than one patient at the same time. This creates a unique team spirit amongst all therapists. The patients feel well attended since more than one person is responsible for their treatment and they can benefit from slightly different therapeutic approaches.
Within the team, the interns and the physiotherapist are on the same eye level and would always try to help each other out. Working with this concept and in this environment was new for me in the beginning and not always easy. However, I felt comfortable soon and noticed the vast benefit of learning from everybody around me. Other therapists were very interested in my education and open to hearing about my opinion and my approach.
This interest made me feel valued as a therapist but also the fact that everyone wanted to know about my background, my university, habits in my country and offered me many times to help out with any troubles I would encounter in Mexico
WHAT IS THE MOST PRECIOUS MEMORY OF THIS INTERNSHIP?
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IN WHAT WAY DID YOUR ESP BACKGROUND ALLOW YOU TO ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTE OR BRING SOMETHING TO THE CLINIC?
Recovery works together with IPETH, one of the best universities of physiotherapy in Puebla. Therefore, all interns at the clinic were students from IPETH and I was the only intern from elsewhere. Knowing about international guidelines allowed me to contribute to this environment. My clinical reasoning varied sometimes so we tried to share therapeutic thinking processes as much as possible.
Lastly, we were recommended specific literature or articles to prepare for classes we could attend after working shifts. These articles were mostly in English, however, the English of other interns was not perfect. So I could help them out with an interpretation of certain scientific information. Knowing English and German (my mother tongue) came in handy when patients from elsewhere attended the clinic. In this case, I was able to help out with the communication during the treatment.
Knowing about international guidelines allowed me to contribute to this environment.
APART FROM THE CLINICAL AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE, WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED THERE?
I enjoyed how open Mexicans are to share their language, their culture, their food and vice versa they are so interested in getting to know about another persons’ background. They always wanted to know what this experience is like from my perspective.
Just by living there, one learns so many things about certain habits, different foods, about how different every state in Mexico is from each other. The cliché that Mexicans are warm and happy people is very true, at least that is my opinion (this also accounts for the patients I treated there!).
DO YOU HAVE ANY FATHERLY OR MOTHERLY ADVICE FOR THIS CURRENT GENERATION OF ESP STUDENTS?
Choose a good variety of internship placements having in mind your professional and personal development. Take advantage of the opportunities ESP gives you (most of you do that anyways though) first year.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER (FUN) FACTS TO SHARE?
Iwas by far the tallest therapist in the clinic, ok maybe as tall as 2 other guy therapists, but one of the tallest persons there for sure. Mexican people apparently associate height of a person with strength of a person so they were sometimes intimidated by me throwing balls at them with a lot of enthusiasm or giving massages and mobilizations in a way they hurt a little bit. They would sometimes call me ‘La grandota’ and joke about how I could not control my strength. Of course, I never hurt anybody at all but I am still trying to be a bit more soft and cautious now.
They would sometimes call me ‘La Grandota’ and joke about how I could not control my strength.
DID YOU HAVE ANY CULTURAL DIFFERENCES THAT AFFECTED YOUR INTERNSHIP?
WHAT WAS THE STRANGEST OR AWKWARD MOMENT DURING YOUR TIME THERE?
I was in the ICU for 4 weeks during the internship and I remember that the first day I was a bit scared and anxious about it. When I went in I saw the cleaning time of a patient that was sedated and it was awkward to see all the procedures to clean the bronchi and the trachea. It was so strange that I almost passed out my first day.
|NAME OF THE CLINIC||Clinica Recovery|
|CI||Jorge Luis Bustamante Vazquez|
|TIMEFRAME||from February until June 2017|
|PATIENT CATEGORIES||Neuro, Cardiovascular, Pediatrics and Geriatrics|
|OTHER HEALTH PROFESSIONS||Snoezelen room (dutch invention!): special room to treat pediatric patients with neurological disorders; high stimulation of all senses
additional classes/workshops to internship hours, twice a week (covered topics: lumbopelvic stability, neurodynamics, applied anatomy and palpation skills)