Trauma Surgery in the Netherlands


Trauma surgery is one of the most fast-paced, dynamic and exciting surgical specialties. Nonetheless, as a medical student, we get relatively little insight and training in the management of traumatic injuries. To correct this, I decided to apply to attend the inaugural European Summer School in Emergency & Trauma Surgery, which took place in the picturesque town of Leiden, a 15 minute train journey from Amsterdam. The week was packed to the brim with numerous lectures on the basics of trauma management, delivered by senior staff drawn from some of Europe’s best trauma institutions. This was far from a dry academic exercise though – afternoon practical sessions included mock trauma simulations, screw fixation for the management orthopaedic injuries and advanced trauma life support. All were extremely hands-on and allowed us to play with expensive kit, normally far beyond the reach of a lowly medical student. ESSETS had a strong emphasis on research training as well, and we were taught the basics of protocol design and clinical trial methodology. This culminated in pitching research protocols we had designed over the course of the week to a panel featuring Leiden’s chair of trauma surgery (a razor-sharp surgeon who tore many presentations apart). Complementing the day’s activities was a busy evening social program, featuring boating on Leiden’s canals, barbeques and dinner at a wine bar. Needless to say we were thoroughly spoilt on food and drink; I don’t think I’ve ever lived that well in my life. The social events were also invaluable opportunities to network with our peers – medical students and doctors from across Europe. The chance to learn more about medical systems in other countries and to hear the diverse ideas on advancing trauma surgery was in itself a thoroughly enriching experience. All in all, the week greatly enhanced my interest and understanding of trauma surgery and has put me in touch potential colleagues from some of Europe’s best medical schools. I need to say a big thank you to the Go Abroad Fund for making this experience possible.

Categories: Europe, Go Abroad Fund, Netherlands

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