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Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

Christchurch, New...
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Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

Kia Orana everyone.

I'm coming out to Aitutaki from New Zealand for my medical elective this year between mid Aug through to early Nov (12 weeks!).

I've got the accommodation sorted. But I was just wondering if anyone had any tips for me, especially if you've already been there for elective? I'm also trying figuyre out what I'm going to need to take with me given my vast lack of travelling experiences! Is there anything you would recommend that I bring from NZ (like things hard to come by in Aitutaki)?

Many thanks!

Euna

Aitutaki, Cook...
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1. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

Kia Orana Euna, I live on Aitutaki rather than having been here for an elective. If you have any favorite toiletries such as shampoo, lotions, etc., you probably won't find them here. Any special needs such as medications, vitamins, etc, would also need to be brought with you.

Things are pretty basic as far as stocks in the stores go on Aitutaki. So if there is anything that you feel you can't absolutely do without you should count on bringing it with you if possible. I tell people that if you are going to live here after moving from some other country you need to learn to do without.

Load up your MP3 player with your favorite music.

The best advice is to adjust and blend in with the locals and make yourself at home. Be ready to adjust your diet since a lot of what you may be used to having available in N.Z. probably won't be available here.

Aitutaki is a wonderful place and the people are extraordinarily friendly. Be prepared to have an experience to remember.

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2. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

You might also ask students from your school if any of them have been to Aitutaki and have any advice for you. Good Luck. Chuck...

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3. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

Kia Orana Euna,

No doubt you have sorted through your text books to assist with studies, so take as many recent editions as you can. Also, there is no public library on the island, and decent reading material is in very short supply on Aitutaki.

One thing Ive noticed at Rarotonga hospital, so it's likely to be the same on Aitutaki, is the lack of an up to date MIMS guide. If you can carry similar useful medical resources, I'm sure the staff would appreciate your contributions to assist/update their practice.

Also if you have any fav snacks pack some of these because the food stocks on that island are limited by comparison with Rarotonga even! You can take foodstuffs from NZ to the Cook Islands, just not fresh fruits and veg. And you dont need an export clearance or import permit either.

The climate on Aitutaki is generally warmer year round than Rarotonga, Pack light summery clothing, plus a light cardy or jacket for cooler nights etc . One consideration, the shopping is very limited on the small island compared to Raro. This includes having ready access to clothing and footwear outlets. I assume you will spend a little time at first on Rarotonga to meet with MOH personnel before flying over to Aitutaki? If so this will be your best opportunity to purchase last minute items before reaching your placement. CITC main store in Avarua, including the pharmacy is a wonderful local mecca for browsing and buying, including a good range of comfortable footwear.

I'm sure you'll enjoy your elective and experiences on Aitutaki immensely! All the best with your finals too. Kia manuia.

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4. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

Many thanks on the tips! My understanding was that I am flying straight through to Aitutaki with a short stop over Raro waiting for my next flight. I may have to see if I can get a flight with a long waiting time so I can have a last minute shopping spree in Raro - although I suspect I'll do a trip some time anyway. I'll just have to hunt for summer clothing in winter months here! (oops!)

I vaguely recall someone telling me that girls are expected to wear skirts at the hospital? Not sure if anyone is in the health field but does that sound right? I have to admit my wardrobe lacks skirts in general!

What I do have is 2010 Jul-Dec MIMS which if considered up to date, I could take with me :)

One more question, which I'm not sure if someone will know the answer to. Is there any internet access at the hospital itself that anyone is aware of? I do realise there is Spider Cafe but was just wondering.

Many thanks!

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5. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

I was just up at the Aitutaki hospital to ask the current visiting student doctor if she would be willing to have you contact her and she said she would be happy to answer your questions. I will be sending you a private message with her name and e-mail address.

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6. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

Many thanks for all your help! Really appreciate it :)

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7. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

The wearing of skirts poses an interesting situation. I can picture the scenario if nurses still had to wear skirts with all the medical interventions and patient care required these days! Not such a good look. The medical personnel in Rarotonga all wear smart new outfits including trousers, much better suited to the prevailing conditons. Hopefully the outer islands has been updated as well.

Hmm 2010 edition of MIMS. Still, if you can carry a little extra bulk then do so. Transfer of knowledge always helps, especially in developing countries. I'm aware that prescription meds are very limited on Aitutaki, but that guide may help someone's learning along the way.

There is highly likely to be broadband at the hospital - since the grounds are host to telecomm's satellite dish. Consultation takes place over the net within the Cook Islands including to NZ, along with video conferencing too I understand - which supports the remote outer islands where there are sole nurse practitioners in place on several islands e.g. Palmerston.

No doubt you'll get an opportunity to hop across to Raro for in-house training or R & R. Will you be on the island during July when the health conference takes place? Last years session on Aitutaki was a great way for local upskilling to occur with a big community turnout for the awards dinner and speeches after. I may be back there for this year's conference even.

Cheers, and go well.

I've just come across a lively blog posted by a previous student doctor. I'll PM you the site.

Norwich, United...
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8. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

Kia Orana Euna and All,

I'm Emma and I'm visiting Aitutaki Hospital as an elective student in June 2012. I'm really looking forward to it!!

Thank you for all your helpful posts I have taken note of all your hints and tips.

If anyone has any further advice please PM me if you don't want to divulge it on the site.

Kind regards,

Emma

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9. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

Kia Orana Emma, welcome to the Cook Islands forum.

Firstly, congratulations on receiving a placement at Aitutaki hospital. You are going to enjoy the experiences of working in a small community hospital. I'm sure that you will learn much in your time there, and living on the island as well.

No doubt you have researched the adventures of the Shipwreck reality TV show already. A trip to the motu located in the SE corner where the series was set may interest you.

I'll also PM you the blog from a previous elective student - makes for lively reading but also includes useful info towards your stay.

All the best - kia mania.

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10. Re: Any tips for a student coming for medical elective?

Kia Ora - my husband & I are from NZ & due to visit the beautiful Cook Islands for the first time in November - we will be based working at Aitutaki hospital as MO and would appreciate being included in your blogs/ experiences on return from the medical side - also where accommodated, your transport, the highlights & the expectations etc etc. Also what you wished you had packed from NZ would be appreciated. We too will have a couple of days in Raro before - so will stock up with some cheese & biscuits etc. We have worked in Africa so feel hopeful that it is not as remotely supplied as we have experienced. It was interesting to see that teleconferencing is the norm - broadband connection obviously better than the east coast of NZ!!! "Frangipani" - thank you for your input - your forum responses have been very helpful - I assume you are also in the medical field.

regards

from the BOP