International Observership at Kansas University Medical Centre

Pete Abel Senior Lecturer at the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences has shared his experiences of an International Observership at Kansas University Medical Centre.

During March I was able to take nine students to the University of Kansas Medical Centre on their International Observership programme. This was a week-long experience during which the students and myself participated in numerous learning opportunities. These included a tour of various facilities such as the biomedical research labs, the clinical pathology labs, the Hageland brain imaging centre, the Ziess simulation lab. Two students were allowed into theatre to observe ‘state of the art’ brain tumour removal through keyhole surgery. They also participated in an autopsy, a dissection and a dissertation defence. The students were able to shadow medical staff in patient consultations and they also participated in a prosthetic limb bioengineering experience. Other activities were a tour of the Library and attendance at an embryology lecture. I also gave a research talk to the KU team and have several potential research collaborations set up.

The whole experience was immensely beneficial for the students and myself. Several students have commented on how their career choices have been decided from the trip. The students were a credit to the university and all of the KU staff commented on how knowledgeable our students were. We have been invited back next year and KU were asking about a permanent link between the universities.

Olivia Green, who was one of the nine students on the trip to Kansas discussed her experiences of the trip: "I was particularly lucky to be able to sit in during an endoscopic neurosurgery procedure, where a brain tumour was being removed. At first we thought we would just watch the operation through a glass window, but no, we actually got to dress up in scrubs and stand elbow to elbow with the surgeon! The surgeons were all so welcoming and explained the entire procedure step by step. The experience was surreal; it was like an episode of scrubs, with music playing in the background and all the surgeons talking about their daily lives, all while saving the patient in front of us life. It was a mind-blowing experience that I doubt I would ever get to experience in the UK and I will never forget."