Clinical Exchange in Japan

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Experience Report

Anthony Rubino from U.S.A.
period: 3/1/15-3/28/15
department:Geriatrics, Radiology

Although my time at Nagoya University Hospital was brief, it was both highly productive and personally rewarding. This was due, in large part, to the outstanding staff, residents, and physicians I worked with. I split my time between the Geriatrics and Radiology departments. Through the enthusiasm of the staff in each department, I was able to gain a more complete picture of the healthcare system in Japan, how it differs from the U.S., and what daily life is like for physicians in Japan. Moreover, their dedication to their specialities was contagious and I found myself genuinely looking forward to arriving at the hospital each day.

My goal upon entering the Geriatrics department, and one of my main objectives in working in Japan, was to understand how Japanese healthcare, and society in general, approaches end of life care. There are undeniable differences between Japanese and American cultural norms and values and I was curious to find out whether these social differences translated to differences in approaches to end of life care. The Geriatrics department was extremely supportive in helping me begin to answer this question. The staff took time from their schedules to give lectures on the topic, provided me with journal articles addressing the issue, and of course provided me with first hand experience participating on the inpatient wards.

My time in the Radiology department was equally rewarding. While I initially had expected that Radiology would be more or less the same across cultures, I did find significant differences between the U.S. and Japan in the way radiographic tests are utilized, their prevalence, as well as the protocol for ordering imaging tests; a consequence of the difference in insurance and payment systems between the two countries. This lead to many engaging conversations between myself and Radiology staff and I think we learned much about our respective healthcare systems from each other.

Certainly, all of my time was not spent in the hospital, and my time exploring Nagoya and the surrounding areas was equally enjoyable. My month in Nagoya gave me the opportunity to explore Nagoya and the surrounding areas in depth. While there is plenty in Nagoya and surrounding areas to keep a person occupied for the month, Nagoya is also ideally situated for day trips to most major cities around Japan. The work-life balance was perfect and allowed me to experience and explore all aspects of Japanese culture first hand.

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