Royal Inland Hospital provides the best of both worlds for UK med student

UK medical student, Tiffany Vracas

In completing the final component of her UK medical degree, Tiffany Vracas selected two international elective placements to explore different medical professions and cultures. Her first stop was Hong Kong working in a private practice for four weeks. Her next stop was Kamloops for a four-week, General Surgery elective placement at Royal Inland Hospital.

Based on the advice of a UK colleague and having previously vacationed in Canada, Vracas believed she could gain valuable experience by training at a full-teaching hospital situated in a smaller, more rural setting. “After reviewing all of my available options, Royal Inland Hospital seemed to provide me with the best of both worlds,” said Vracas.  

Vracas was teamed up with Dr. Anise Barton, General Surgeon at Royal Inland Hospital and Co-Site Clerkship Education Lead in Kamloops for the Southern Medical Program (SMP). Together with Dr. Barton, she was able to easily map out her learning objectives and immediately start working with preceptors and patients. Starting in 2013, Royal Inland Hospital will be one of the primary sites for Year 3 SMP students completing their Traditional Clerkships rotations.

“Royal Inland Hospital provided some great advantages for my medical training,” said Vracas. “There was excellent exposure to both patients and preceptors and I was able to easily follow patients through their entire cycle of care. I was virtually able to learn more in four weeks than I could in half a year at a larger teaching-facility in the UK.  All of the preceptors were enthusiastic about teaching students and really accommodating to my training needs.”

Vracas, an avid outdoor recreationalist, captured a small glimpse of what Kamloops and the region has to offer during her stay. Having arrived just after Sun Peaks closed for the ski season, she was able to take several hiking trips in the area  including a trek to the world-renowned Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray Provincial Park.

As for Canadian culture, Vracas arrived on the first day of the Stanley Cup playoffs and quickly caught a case of Canucks fever. After a quick course in Hockey 101, Vracas embraced the Canucks as her team, even spending the remainder of her student budget on authentic Canucks jersey. Returning to the UK, she has faced the challenge of catching the remainder of the playoff-run in a country that is not so hockey-centric.

Vracas now enters her two years of pre-specialty training as a Foundation Doctor (FY). As for her desired speciality, she is currently learning towards Intensive Care, Anesthesology, or Pre-hospital Care.  She is also examining the possibility of completing her FY training as an expedition doctor accompanying grade schools students on research expeditions in South America or the Antarctic. A possible return to practice in Canada is a future consideration.