Electives, hospitals, medical schools, NGOs, recruitment agencies, nursing, flights, hotels, elective, voluntary work, UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, The Medics Guide to Work and Electives Around the World, Mark Wilson


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Medic's Guide to Work and Electives Around the World - Electives, hospitals, medical schools, medicine, nursing, travel, work,  NGOs, voluntary work, UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Mark Wilson
The Medic's Guide Book


Medicine is your passport to travel the world and your elective is a time when you can immerse (no pun intended!) yourself in another culture like you have probably never been able to before. But it is even more than that. You can get involved in any speciality or aspect of medicine no matter how obscure. Some might consider this article to be the guide to the ultimate diving holiday, but it is actually designed to help provide contacts for those that really are interested in the medical aspects of diving. When thinking about applying to a particular institution, consider which components of diving medicine interest you. Do you want diving research (mainly physiology), training (medic diver qualifications), performing “fitness to dive” medicals or do you want to be involved in treating diving related injuries. Remember he actual provision of medical care will only occur if there is a problem so basing yourself at a decompression chamber (which does nothing else) may provide weeks of inactivity. Ideally you should be somewhere that has a number of aspects of diving medicine or somewhere with an affiliated hospital enabling you to see other patients as well.  Being in the Navy obviously opens another avenue.

Arranging your elective is all about knowing the right people or doing the research to find them…here are some useful tips on where to look:

General Diving Medical Sites:

·         Diving Medicine Online - http://www.scuba-doc.com  This is an excellent (though difficult to navigate) site that has information on everything from diving with asthma to diving with a coronary stent. It also lists all the decompression chambers and dive medicine centres country by country

·         Divers’ Alert Networkwww.diversalertnetwork.org - This is really the official website for diver safety giving advice to civilian divers. It also has information on training and research.

·         The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Societywww.uhms.org - The UHMS is an international, non-profit organisation whose members are mostly hyperbaric scientists and physicians.

·         European Underwater and Baromedical Society (EUBS) - http://www.eubs.org/  - this gives links to The European Journal of Underwater and Hyperbaric Medicine.

Diving Medicine in the U.K.:

  • Diving Disease Research Centre, Plymouth (DDRC) http://www.ddrc.org/ The Hyperbaric Medical Centre, Tamar Science Park, Research Way, Plymouth PL6 8BU E-mail enquiries@ddrc.org  – the DDRC is affiliated with the Derriford Hospital in Plymouth and since the 1980s has become a leader in diving physiology research (in areas such as diving with diabetes, diving with disabilities and diving with asthma). It runs extensive training programmes as well as treating decompression illness, carbon monoxide poisoning, smoke inhalation, cyanide poisoning and soft tissue infections such as necrotising faciitis.
  • The National Hyperbaric Centre - http://www.demon.co.uk/hyperbar  The National Hyperbaric Centre Ltd., 123 Ashgrove Road West, Aberdeen AB16 5FA, Scotland, UK Tel: 01224-698 895 Fax: 01224-692 222 nhc@hyperbar.demon.co.uk - located in Aberdeen, the NHC is a leading hyperbaric testing, training and research centre. It provides cover for a large part of northeast Scotland including the commercial divers of the oil and gas industry.
  • Hyperbaric Medicine Unit of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. The HMU serves as the emergency recompression facility for recreational SCUBA divers and also provides medical support for the commercial divers within the NHC. They also act as the co-ordinating centre for all National Health Service chambers in the country and are the emergency contact point for diving emergency enquiries (e.g. from Coastguard or individual divers). The website includes information on gas laws, diving principles, decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, wounds and infections. There is also a 3D virtual tour of the chamber.
  • Scottish Diving Medicine http://www.sams.ac.uk/sdm/. This is the homepage of the recompression chambers in Scotland that provide care for National Health Service patients suffering from diving related illness.

Red Sea:

·         The Sharm El Sheikh Hyperbaric Medical Centre (Tel: +20 (69) 660 922/-3, Fax: +20 (69) 661 011) is based in the busiest dive area of the Red Sea and is happy to take elective students and foreign doctors with an interest in diving medicine (for more detailed information see the Elective Report by Kevin Bailey www.studentbmj.com/back_issues/1001/life/385.html)

Saudi Arabia:


There are many academic centres with interests in diving medicine. The Divers Alert Network (itself based at Duke University) is a good place to start. Also look at Diving Medicine Online (see above).

Australia and the South Pacific:

·         The South Pacific Underwater Medicine Societywww.spums.org.au - This is the main site for Oceania with information on dive centres in the region and courses that tend to be run in Australia. It also has a journal section from which you may well be able to find who is doing the type of research your interested in.

·         The Luganville Hospital, Luganville, Espirito Santo Island, Vanuatu is the hyperbaric chamber for the pacific islands (fantastic electives have been had here!)

Other Useful sites:

www.bsac.com  - The British Sub Aqua club’s home site.

·         www.padi.com = PADI’s homesite

All the above links and further information on dive and adventure medicine can be found on www.medicstravel.com

Mark Wilson is author of The Medic’s Guide To Work and Electives Around the World (Arnold Publishers) and runs www.medicstravel.com as well as being a keen diver. 


For more information on the hospitals/organisations above check out
 The Medic's Guide to Work and Electives Around the World

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Medics Travel is for doctors, nurses, medical/nursing students and other health professionals wanting to plan work and electives with hospitals,  NGOs and charities overseas. It also lists government and recruitment agencies and has updates for the ultimate guide - The Medics Guide to Work and Electives Around the World - good luck in your travels...and please update this site when you come back!!!
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