So far, Gordon and I are settling into the rotation well. There are definitely some cultural differences between Greece and the USA. A big difference is smoking. Here, smoking is something that everybody does. From restaurants to the hospital, everybody is always lighting up another cigarette. In the USA, I feel like smoking has almost a social stigma to it these days. The health hazards and bad effects of tobacco are so well known, that many people are not picking up the habit and those that have are quitting. Institutions in America with tobacco free campuses, definitely ensure that their employes quit and insurance companies driving up the price of health insurance for smokers is another initiative to quit. In Greece, or at least in Crete, everyone is smoking. The restaurants are packed with smokers, people are walking down the street smoking. When we got to the hospital and were being oriented, a resident asked us if we smoke. Neither of us do and we responded negatively. She showed us the doctors smoking rooms (in the hospital) anyways. The patients rooms also each have a terrace attached so the patients and relatives can have a cigarette break as well. That’s all for now!
Until next time!
Today was our first day of the rotation. Gordon and I are staying just outside of the city of Heraklion, about 10 min walk from the city center. To get to the hospital is a 30 minute bus ride. Try as we might, we were unable to find any bus maps in English. We did get directions from the lady who runs international affairs for the University of Crete, but still managed to take two wrong busses before we managed to get on the correct one. The entire journey took us about an hour and a half. Luckily, the medical school is very used to international students getting lost! The hospital is in a beautiful location, about thirty minutes inland from Heraklion. From the windows of the hospital, you can see hills and cottages and green grass and blue skies. The hospital itself is fairly good sized although it’s structured differently. The patient rooms are a little larger than the patient rooms in America and there are six to eight patients per room. We arrived today in time for Medicine rounds. Rounds were performed in Greek (the charts are also mostly in Greek) but the attending gave a presentation of each patient in English, which I suspect is for the sake of Gordon and I. So far, everyone has been extremely nice at the hospital, although I think they find our business casual clothes and short white coats amusing. The medical students here wear jeans and sneakers under their long white coats. Evi, the international affairs lady, told me the best way to tell the different between an attending and a student is just by judging their age. After work today, Gordon and I wandered through the streets of Heraklionand stopped at a local restaurant on the street for gyros. It’s a beautiful day here!
My name is Heather and I am a fourth year medical student at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. I am rotating in Heraklion, Greece for a four week Internal Medicine rotation. With me is my fiancé Gordon, also a fourth year medical student. Together, we’re traveling half way around the world to learn about medicine and Greek culture.