Having the opportunity to visit the USA, especially doing clinical practices in USC’s hospitals was a very special and precious experience for me as a 6th-year medical student.
I spent 4 weeks in the nephrology department. There were 2 hospitals in the campus, LA County (LAC) hospital and Keck hospital. Their systems were different but all the doctors worked in both hospitals. For the first 3 weeks, I was in LA county hospital for pure nephrology, during these 3 weeks, I learned how to take primary care of the patient, usually, they assigned me with 1 to 2 patients each day and I had to report them to the attending doctors on the bedside every morning during the morning round. It was hard for me for the first time, however, fellow and resident doctors were all so nice and kind enough to teach me. On my last day, I had to present a case to the head of the department in front of everyone, it was like an oral exam, although the head asked a lot of questions, at the same time, he taught you and taught you how to think like a nephrologist too, so it was actually very helpful for my medical studies and future career.
The last week I was in Keck hospital, since Keck hospital is a transplant center, here we mainly took care of kidney transplant-related patients, in other words, patients are either going to get a new kidney soon or patients with transplanted kidneys have kidney disease that needed to be hospitalized. This was very different from pure nephrology, the workups were completely different, for example, before the transplantation, we had to check for lots of immunological/possible rejection markers, which was another complex field of knowledge.
The majority of the patients here were Hispanic and they didn’t really speak English, so it’d be good if you speak Spanish, however, we could always ask for a translator. (They had this language translation service)
Both hospitals were modern and nice, one surprising thing was that there are gloves and all the hygienic stuffs inside each ward, which was very handy for any healthcare worker.
The cafeteria of the hospital was also quite nice, there was a variety of food to choose from, even sushi!
Overall, I harvested a lot during these 4 weeks and had a good time here in LAC & Keck!
Over the weekends, I also got the chances to explore LA itself, I visited a lot of places in LA with my friends, including Griffith Observatory, Universal Studio, Santa Monica, Malibu, Hollywood sign, Urban light and etc. They were all amazing and worth visiting! Another good thing to live in LA was that I got to have food from all over the world, ranging from Asian to Western, not only they were tasty but authentic! Actually, I’d say one of the best things in LA was the food!! >< however, the transportation in LA wasn’t that convenient and good, so better be prepared to spend a lot of money on Uber.
I'm very grateful that I had this one-month unique experience in LA, I enjoyed the hospital's work a lot and I’ve learned so much too!! Meanwhile, I got a taste of American life and culture! This was surely an unforgettable memory for me and I hope to return one day ;)