Mary Freelund Internship

On Monday, July 1…

The past two weeks went by even faster than the first two. I feel like my ability to understand and respond in Spanish has improved a lot through my classes and through time spent listening to conversations in the hospital. It is encouraging to be able to have a more in depth conversation with people in Spanish now than I did in my first two weeks. I am also feeling a lot more comfortable in Córdoba. It is nice to know my way around the city without using Google maps all of the time, and to have relationships with people in my language school, my homestay, my gym, and with doctors in the hospital. I have also been traveling over the past two weekends to both Iguazu Falls and Bariloche. I feel like traveling to different regions of the country has helped me to get a better understanding of Argentinian culture as a whole.

My time in the hospital has also been very informative. I stayed in the Pediatric Hospital for the past two weeks and switched to a few new areas to observe, including ophthalmology and surgery. Although it was very interesting to see surgeries such as a laparoscopic nephrectomy and a tonsillectomy, I really enjoy being able to observe patient-doctor interactions in patient appointments since I feel that I learn the most there. The doctors in ophthalmology have been especially helpful in my time at the hospital, since they spend time explaining each patient’s situation to me so that I understand. They also make me feel like a part of the team by sharing mate, snacks, and conversations with me. I noticed that patient-doctor interactions are very personalized and all conversations are face-to-face; the doctors are actively engaged and listening to each patient’s situation instead of distancing themselves by typing on a computer. Working in a public hospital has also opened my eyes to some of the imperfections of an all-inclusive healthcare system, which are shockingly similar to the non-inclusive healthcare system in the United States for those without insurance. Although medications and hospital visits are available to all people in Argentina, the wait time for scheduling appointments and lack of some important resources reminds me of the free clinic that I worked at last summer. It is hard to watch some children get turned away from necessary eye surgery based on a lack of available space in the recuperation room or to not have enough of certain essential medications to give patients.