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Seminar "Notfallmedizin" 2018

Thursday

On January 18th 2018 we began our little journey to the Albanian capital of Tirana. We, the students Eleni, Franz, Luca and Philine, studying medicine in the first, second and fifth semester, started the trip early in the morning in Witten. Soon we were being joined by Dr. Hubertus Bergermann and his wife Mariele in Düsseldorf Airport and were able to take off right before the storm ‘Friederike’ raged over whole Nordrheinwestfalia that day. After a short layover in Vienna, we landed in Tirana in the early afternoon to a breath taking scenery of sun illuminated mountains.
As Franz has already been part of the Emergency Medicine seminar the previous year, finding our way to the Hotel Alen, near the University Hospital, was fast and easy. Just to be welcomed warmly by the owner, who, later that day, also led our way to an excellent organic restaurant nearby. Communication here, as well as in the hotel, worked perfectly fine – even without sharing a mutual language.
In the evening, we met with a group of Albanian students, all being members of our partner organisation LMA, to get to know the new tutors and to fresh up long held ties with the elder students like Kea and Sabina. Most importantly, we planned to have a conversation about the future of our organisations. After a long discourse about sustainability of our work back in Witten within FDN, and already having developed a concept paper, we were excited to now share our ideas with our partners in Tirana. This conversation ought to be in the most respectful way, valuing the thoughts and visions of the Albanian students and developing this reform together in order to overcome cultural hierarchies.

It has been a fruitful conversation in which we as FDN members were able to make clear how urgent a change towards a more sustainable program is. However, we were not able to make any decisions about the concrete implementation of the modifications at this point.

 

One should also take account of the fact that right now there is a generation shift within the organisation of LMA happening. Kea, Sabina and others will be finishing med school this summer and therefore no longer be the main persons in charge. But younger students like Raela, Marjola and Matteo are highly motivated and committed to the organisation.

On this first evening we were able to create a basis of mutual understanding and a productive, amicable cooperation the following days.

 

Friday

The Seminar started at 1 pm on Friday, that gave us some time to go a little sightseeing, visit some museums or check our presentation one last time. We arrived at the university a bit before the seminar was going to start. At the beginning we had some IT-problems, but we managed them quickly and could start the seminar with only a few minutes delay.

 

Dr. Hubertus Bergermann gave the introduction and started with some basics about examination and behavior towards patients. The plan was to get through with the themes of the upper body on this day, which means the spine, the shoulder, the elbow and the hand. Therefore Dr. Bergermann gave a theoretic introduction about the current joint, which contained the inspection, palpation, range of motion and special tests of the joint as well as a few tips. After the theoretical part we made smaller groups to teach the practical skills. The smaller groups consisted of a German and an Albanian tutor as well as seven Albanian students. We repeated this method for every joint. At 7 pm we finished the seminar for this day, because the students were not receptive anymore. They have had classes before that day. As we saw how exhausted they were, we decided to postpone the hand to the next day. We went to the Hotel to get fresh and went to eat something. Afterwards we fell tired into bed.

 

Saturday

The day bade us welcome with a continuous rainfall and stormy clouds. After a quick breakfast we started the seminar at 9.00 am. The first topic of examination was the hand and elbow. The repetition of the complicated anatomy took some time, so we started the examinations at 10.00 am. All participants were allowed to try specific tests in suspicion of carpal tunnel syndrom, epicondylitis and other nerve lesions. The teaching with a tandem system between german and albanian tutors were pretty useful. The restraint in the beginning, which we sometimes noticed at the seminars before was almost over. With much effort the students were trying out, how much pressure they needed to fix and irritate the joints correctly.

 

We and the albanian tutors spent our lunch break with some coffee and sandwiches. The second part of the seminar included hip, knee and foot. Hubertus started to explaining some disorders of the hip joint and differentiating these with problems of the lumbal spine. The practical part afterwards was dominated by examining important tests like Lasegue, Braguard and Menell.

 

Small fictional cases with examples of orthopaedic disorders enhanced the experience of examining. The seminar ended at 5.00 pm with a photo of the whole group.

 

After the long day we had to organise and prepare the OSCE for the next day but the sun was back and lifted our mood. For the night we had time to go out for the traditional dinner and meet with the albanian tutors. It was a pleasure to eat a classic albanian meal in a restaurant near to our hotel. We enjoyed the opportunity for interesting conversations about the personal expectations, goals and dreams of our albanian tutors. Finally the day was completed with a walk through the lighted streets of Tirana in a wonderful nippy night.

 

Sunday

On our last day in Tirana we had to get up early to prepare our practical test. We had six stations where the Albanian students could show what they have learned in the seminar during the last two days. The students were really nervous, but they did very well. After they had finished they all got a certificate and filled in an evaluation paper. Our three Albanian co-tutors also got a tutors certificate and we took a final photo with all of them. Fortunately, we had time for a short breakfast with the Albanian co-tutors before we had to go to the airport. It was an enjoyable completion of our seminar. We had a pleasant flight back to Germany and arrived there in the evening. 

 

All in all it was a very successful seminar. According to the evaluation papers the students were satisfied with the arrangement and learned some new practical examination methods in orthopaedics. The cooperation with the Albanian partner organization LMA worked very well and we all had a great time there.