Bilaterally learning medical skills
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Every summer for the past 13 years, the 35th Medical Group has hosted a shadowing program for Japanese medical students from Hirosaki University in Aomori Prefecture.
Four to six Japanese students are selected to participate each summer for the seven to 10 days of on-the-job learning with professional Misawa physicians.
Upon their arrival, students learned about American patient privacy and safety and were given a tour of the base's medical treatment facility. Throughout the program the students rotated between different sections of the clinic to include pediatrics, the operating room and the urgent care clinic.
One Japanese student, Marie Ohara, an aspiring surgeon, received a crash course in American operating room procedures from U.S. Air Force Capt. Christopher Young, 35th Surgical Operations Squadron general surgeon.
"One thing I liked was the use of the physician assistants and nurse practitioners, it allowed the doctor to be more engaged and focused on the patient," said Ohara. "Japanese hospitals don't have PAs or Nurses, the doctors have to do everything themselves and it leaves little time to spend with the patient."
Ohara is in her third year of medical school.
"I learned a lot from the shadow program and I am going to encourage other students to attend next summer," she said. "I would like to thank the 35 MDG personnel for allowing us to participate in the program."
With another successful program down, the captain is already looking forward to the future.
"The students were very well educated and eager to learn," said Young. "It will be nice to do this again next year; they were pleasing to have around."