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Final Thoughts from Vietnam

Posted by Lisa Ryujin, MD (a third year Ob/Gyn resident from

Kaiser Permanente Oakland serving a global health elective at Benh Vien Hung Vuong Maternity hospital in Vietnam). 

When I was interviewing for residency programs, I always said that I was grateful for having many international experiences in medical school.  Of course, I learned most things in medical school, but I refined my skills and emulated those whom I admired, and most of those mentors, I met while traveling around the world.   I attributed my bedside manner to a midwife that I had worked with in Belize, I attributed my physical exam skills to an intern that I had met in Kenya while on call, and I owe my openness to a Tibetan professor and monk.  We all practice medicine differently, and we all have different cultural norms and expectations that we are expected to meet.  I understand that.  And I have loved my experience here in Vietnam.  But I have to say, that I am glad that I learned the standard of care and how to practice obstetrics and gynecology in the United States.  I understand that this may be due to my expectations as an American.  I know that we have a healthcare system that usually enables a family to stay together during labor and delivery, and to share in the miracle of birth.  I know that these are not the expectations of other people in other parts of the world.  But I am so proud that we are able to offer our patients that shared experience. 

I have had the great privilege of working with some wonderful Vietnamese teachers, who have gone out of their way to help me to understand their system, and the reasons behind their practice.  I am grateful, and I am reminded of the wonderful faculty and staff that I have in my own residency program who go out of their way to ensure that I will be the best, most caring, responsible doctor that I can be.  And I feel honored to be part of that system.

A party for my last day of work with all of the Vietnamese doctors in the call room

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