UPM medical student life~ 10 Reasons to do clinical elective in Melbourne, Austin Health

Finished my clinical elective placement with Austin Health, Liver Transplant unit a month ago and I still miss my time there so much! withdrawal symptoms are coming over into my life when I started my hectic 5th year life. just like a big slap that send me back to reality life T..T
 Some may questioned: is it worth to spend about RM10k to do a month elective in Melbourne? well it depends on how you look at the elective programme as I mentioned before. To me, I think that it is totally worth for everything I spent, I really learned a lot from the team here, which I don usually have the chance to perform in my current learning hospital. 

So, what is the reasons that drives me to go Melbourne, and to encourage my frens to go to Melbourne for clinical elective as well? 

1. Beautiful Hospital Environment
In Austin Health, in order to improve their staffs' productivity, they create a good working environment so the staff would like to work with them. This concept is really good and successful, as all the staff I met in here are so friendly, love and passionate to their jobs. Same goes to students. 
At least, a conducive working environment to the doctors.  

this is the outlook of the main building of Austin Health~ the Austin Tower. 
there is 8 floors in total. it really looks like a maze inside to me during my first day but after that, it is just fine. All rooms are air-conditioned, and the whole hospital is very warm during winter. 

The cancer research centre of Austin health, it look gorgeous isnt it. 

the Repat hospital under Austin Health, not far away from the main building, specifically for aged care service. There is shuttle bus service at frequent interval to ease the staff and students move around. Repat hospital has a beautiful memorial garden, hmm suitable for those elderly to get a good rest here. 

2. Great Facilities to staff and student
This is what amazed me the most. Here, they do not take care of the staff and patients only, but they do provide great care to students as well. In most of the hospitals in Malaysia, students do not have a student room to keep things, have a short break or discussion area, and most of the time, exhausted. There is free wifi provided to students as well in the hospital, just registered ourselves in the library will do.  

The Heidelberg train station just 2 minutes walk away from the Austin Tower, and 5 mins walk away from our hostel~ the medical student quarter. From this station, we can reach city centre within 30 minutes time, with frequent interval as well. If we feel to eat some Asian food, we can just take bus to Box Hill from the train station as well. just nice and convenient. 

The view of Heidelberg from the seminar room in Austin Tower
They have a lot of seminar rooms in the 4th floor educational centre, students can just apply for it for discussion anytime. And often we are allowed to join some department meetings or discussion which we get the exposure of the working schedule in this hospital. 

what make us jealous the most? the student room!!
when I say student room, it is not just a room. This is an area occupied with lockers ( yes just like what we usually see in the movies), toilets with shower, kitchen with cooking utensils and fridge, a bed for those who on call, sofas, ping pong table, snooker table. Students can just come in and relax during break time, of coz, pass card is needed. They treat their students so well while us..... 
can the new hospitals have something like this for students please??
and they have library, cafes, shops available in the hospital area as well. 

3. Comfortable hostel~ Medical Student Quarter
I guess Austin Health is the only hospital which offer accommodation to overseas elective student. The medical student quarter is just 2 minutes walk away from the hospital, 5 minutes walk to Heidelberg train station, 10 minutes walk to the main street of Heidelberg, Burgundy Street. How much is the payment? AUD 150 per week, with refundable AUD 50 deposit. Isnt this consider cheap for a fully equipped room? 

we were staying in single room each~ 
there is a bed in the room with blanket and pillow provided, a study table with table lamp, 2 small tables, a sofa, a sink, a wardrobe with hangers, and heater/air conditioner. Just nice and comfortable. The bed was so comfortable and I had problems to wake up in the morning every day haha. 

A sink in every room so we no need to fight for it in a rushing morning
but we need to prepare all our bathing tools on our own. We can get a clean towel upon request to the staff in the hostel.
Is this hostel safe? We need to enter password before we get into the hostel, and it is near the main street, so we did not face problems throughout the stay ( the best thing is there is no curfew so we can come back as late as we want). All the issues that we met during the stay were settled efficiently within days. 

The kitchen. The stove is located in the second floor and I just forgot to take picture. There is oven, microwave, fridge, toaster, kettle, cooking oil etc. Breakfast is provided everyday in the hostel by Austin Health with breads, milk and raisin, for free!! yeah hehe. 
sometimes we will do some cooking in the hostel together, we made sandwich, wrapping, spaghetti, pizza, and rice with sardin. Not to forget student's all time favorite: Maggie mee hehe. 

The shared bathroom. I just love the shower with hot water here during the cold winter. 
Here I would like to thank to the security so much for helping us to carry our huge and bulky luggage to the hostel during our day of arrival. 

4. Helpful and Friendly Staff all the time
I would deny if someone said Melbourne has one of the most friendly community in the world. I feel it on my own and I love it so much. Everyone are so friendly, patience and helpful, no matter who you are. During my first day, we were welcomed by the staff, who showed and guided us to our respective department. Honestly, I was so nervous and excited at the same time. When I reached Liver Transplant Unit team, I received warm welcome from Jane, the secretary. She just brought me all around to the hospital, lead me to clinic and introduced me to the staff. I got the chance to join their staff lunch meeting as well. 
Not to forgot, my supervisor, Professor Jones, the liver transplant surgeon, is a super nice and friendly professor. Well I thought professor is always someone stern and fierce, but he just like a father to me. I really learn a lot from Prof throughout my 4 weeks posting there. He really taught me with patience, although most of the time I appeared to be someone stupid and forgot all the anatomy knowledge in the clinic or theatre. 

With the registrars and fellows in Austin Health, from hepatobiliary unit and liver transplant unit. There are more doctors but I just missed out the chance to take photos with them ( I ponteng quite a lot during my last week LOL) 
Thank you doctors so much for teaching us in this 4 weeks duration and give us so much of great experience in Austin. Trust me, everyone of them are friendly and easy going. 

with Professor Jones~ some patients told me that he is the saviour of life, and I agree with the statement. 

How about other staff? don worry, they are ready to help anyone anytime. 

5. Lots of Learning Opportunities
not saying that my own learning hospital is not good, but I got more learning opportunities here. Being placed in Liver Transplant Unit is really a bless to me, as I get the chance to witness a kidney transplant and a liver transplant operation. No longer know it theoretically but learn it LIVE. thanks to the registrars for explaining all the procedures during the operation, even the anaesthetists were so kind enough to answer my questions and taught me so much on anaesthesia. Even the scrub nurse, who usually being harsh to students here, the nurses in Austin Health taught me on how to recognise the surgical instruments and different suturing methods. 

this is how I look in operation theatre attire. I din wear white coat at all in this hospital, and most of the time, I wore OT attire in the hospital haha. There is a lounge in the OT for the staff to have their meal, and some simple coffee and snack for refreshment. 
during the 999th liver transplant operation, we had sandwiches as well haha. I felt so proud and thankful for given a chance to witness the 999th liver transplant in Austin Health. 

and what made me excited the most?
I get the chance to scrub and assist surgery here, which I never been offered in HS!! yes, no an observer but assisting in the operation. According to another elective student, he assisted suturing and half of the surgery most of the time in his learning hospital. Neh, I am always a dripstand in the operation theatre room. Maybe this is why my fellow was surprised that this was what I usually practised in the hospital here. 

another great opportunity from my professor~ to run the clinic on my own individually
I will attend the patient on my own, get the history and physical examination, review the lab and imaging result, and report to my Professor. Although it sounds the same like what we did during the clinic session in Malaysia, but it feel totally different!! especially when Im in a community of different socio background, and they are speaking english with Aussie style that took me 2 weeks time to understand the conversation LOL. 

6. Make New Friends 
ya, we can make new frens here instead of stick back with our own gang of friends. We met friends from Germany, United Kingdom and Netherland. It is great to share our learning experience with one another, and listen to their amazing travel stories.

this picture was taken during the Judy's last day in Austin, we had a pizza party together in the common room in the second floor. All the best to you guys!!
should go out for dinner with them a night before at a rooftop bar

7. Get out from comfort zone, be adventurous
Step out from comfort zone requires great courages. This is the first time I travelled for a month in overseas, a place that I never been there. It is different from going out to somewhere for a long term in Malaysia. Here, we need to learn their culture, go along with their practice. 
somehow, I feel proud of myself for staying a month in Melbourne, a place where the socio-cultural background is totally different from mine. this is the first step that gave me great courages that I can do it more next time. 

when I had an evening walk in the Heidelberg Park after class. 
In Melbourne, there is a lot of park around

sat down and had a peace of mind
sounds like the best time to recharge the battery after a year of hard work, just to come for the elective. No one knows how much effort that I had put for these.

The evening of Burgundy Street, the main street in Heidelberg. 
During winter, the sun set around 4.30pm, and it was really dark and cold at night.  

Pampered myself with a slice of new york cheese cake and hot mocha coffee after a day of hard work in Coco Maya cafe, one of the top 100 cafes in Melbourne. I just forgot to try out their Belgium chocolate waffle, which according to my frens, it really taste so good. 

8. Winter, enjoy the cold! 
well, there is no winter in Malaysia and it is as hot as oven throughout the 365 days. So, it is something new to me to experience how the life is in winter! just enjoy the cold days over there, which I miss it so much now huhu

playing with snowball in Lake Mountain during the trip. 
It is really fun and unique to a girl who lives in tropical country, and never experience hailing and playing with snowball before. 

9. Best time to brush up English 
In Malaysia, we speak in our own mother tongue language most of the time during our daily conversation. We only speak English during our presentation, which is not enough. So, why don I grab the chance to 'throw' myself to a place with western background, a totally English community? It really benefit me a lot as I gain more confidence to speak in English during my days in Melbourne.

But if you are too shy and reluctant to improve your english, Australia might not be a choice of yours.

10. Amazing travel experience
Melbourne is really great in travelling and I mean it. We had a lot of fun to travel in Melbourne, from the city to the rural area. Most of the time we just wandering around and be amazed by the buildings in the city. For more travel diary, please refer to my blog label of "Melbourne" ya.
here is some of the pictures that I went in Melbourne:

starry night view from Star Observation Wheel in Dockland

Pat a Koala at Maru Koala and Animal Park in Philip island

the most spectacular view along the Great Ocean Road~ the twelve apostles. 

and I would like to end my post with a chinese phrase from my friend:

enjoy the reading and I hope you have a great day!
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  1. Wah wah....the research center really not like research center.....look stunning!!

    1. ya I was stunned by the beautiful building at my first sight as well. Then I look back to our hospital...... deh......haha

  2. Hi there! My name is Crystal and I am a Malaysian student currently studying in Melbourne. I am part of the Malaysian Medical Students' Association (MAMSA), and we've received an email from you earlier in the year. Sorry we missed you! It is good to know that you had an enjoyable time in Melbourne, perhaps if you do choose to come again in the future we may be able to provide assistance :)

    Take care!

    1. It is okay ^^ i understand that during my time in melbourne you guys are having your winter break =)) will go melbourne again in future, hope to see you there ^^

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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