“Have you ever been to the United States?” people ask. I am proud to say, “Yes I have!” I am amazed by the knowledge I attained during these six months at Danbury and Waterbury Hospitals, the friends I made from around the world, and what a cozy feeling I had. The excitement has outlasted my return to Vietnam.
The day I found out I would be coming to the United States for a medical education observer program is still fresh in my mind. It is hard to express the feeling I had. My childhood dream, a chance to visit the United States, had come true. This was not only a normal trip, but also a tremendous opportunity to advance my medical background and enhance my abilities. I did have some worries about how I would adapt to a new culture, language, living condition, and environment, but everything worked out beautifully.
The day of my departure felt surreal. After an incredibly long 25-hour flight, I arrived in the United States. Despite being quite tired, my first impression of was that of a vast and amazing country. It is a country of modern cities, beautiful places, and natural countrysides. Everyone was friendly and willing to support even my smallest needs. I quickly made new friends, despite the variety of backgrounds. We supported each other throughout the program.
The beginning of my trip was the most difficult period. After adjusting to our accommodation and daily activities, we began exploring the medical system of the United States, particularly at Danbury Hospital. There are many differences between the American and Vietnamese medical systems. Medical English skill was also a real challenge for me. However, with the support of my new friends, I quickly adapted and my English gradually improved. I found that the facilities and management skills at Danbury Hospital are very good and highly advanced. All patient information is stored and run on a computer system that helps save a lot of humanpower and resources. The system also ensures efficiency and accuracy of the information. Danbury Hospital is so beautiful and modern that I felt like I was living in a five star hotel!
During my time at Danbury, I practiced two specialties: infectious disease and intensive care. I, along with other residents and specialists, went to see and examine inpatients together. I gained a lot of experience, especially in diagnostic approaches and treatments. I also gained research skills that enable me to look up and find relevant information in complex cases and rare diseases. At Waterbury Hospital, I shadowed Dr. Aronin, the chief of infectious diseases who examined inpatients and outpatients, particularly HIV patients in the HIV clinic. I was amazed and excited by the care patients receive there. The majority are treated with antiretroviral therapy and their viral loads are almost undetected. They live a normal life, aside from their dependence on daily medications. Some are married and have healthy children. They feel happy and optimistic about their futures. These were new and precious experiences for me, because HIV treatment is still limited in my country.
Time passed so quickly that the trip was over before I knew it. There were so many more things I wanted to explore. This program is tremendously helpful for young doctors who come from developing countries like Vietnam. I hope this kind of opportunity will be extended to other countries. I look forward to coming back here in the future, better prepared for learning gaining new knowledge. I would like to thank Global Health, Hearts Around The World, Dr. Sadigh, Dr. Bob Jarrett, Mrs. Menoo Jarrett, and Ms. Hong Dang, my Vietnamese friend in the United States, as well as Cho Ray Hospital for creating the opportunity for me to join this great trip. I will never forget the United States. I will apply all my new experiences and knowledge to my work in Vietnam, and hope a five-star Vietnamese hospital will exist not far in the future.