Healthcare is rapidly changing here in China. I, the Husband of the usual blogger, had the opportunity to go with some of my esteemed colleagues to a local medical college here in our city. They approached our family medicine residency because just last year they were approved to begin postgraduate medical education.
They have announced plans to begin a family medicine residency in two of the hospitals in our city. At their invitation they invited us to their campus to see how we might help each other. We were very happy with this invitation for several reasons, but the opportunity to forge a new relationship with a respected local medical college was very appealing.
We want to encourage family medicine growth in China in general because we see this as a way to effectively care for the wide variety of needs the general public has. We hope that this relationship will also provide more opportunities for our family medicine residents in patient care and exposure to more patient interactions.
My day started of with a 30 minute bicycle ride to the hospital where I volunteer a half day every other week. This particular week I was scheduled to make a nursing home visit with the residents in the afternoon. However, the invitation to the local medical college was in the morning.
Given the importance of this meeting I agreed to miss class this particular morning (an uncommon occurrence), but my Wife attended with the baby in the baby bjorn as usual. Once at the local hospital I met up with 4 of my colleagues and a comfortable van provided by the local medical college transported us to the campus. It was a beautiful day to visit with sunny, blue skies and very little humidity.
We drove onto campus which was surprisingly well landscaped with beautiful flowers, shrubs, trees and ponds. We were welcomed by some dignitaries of the medical college and then ushered into the upper room of a building where was a large brown table prepared with our names on placards.
Business cards and pleasantries were exchanged and then the elegant medical college president arrived. We stood at her arrival to the room until she requested that we be seated. Then she launched into warm welcome which included comments about how we all looked like “movie stars”!
Of course, the dialogue was all in Mandarin so there was some interpretation required for me from our medical director who speaks and understands Mandarin fluently. He was able to clearly communicate to the medical college president and other high officials there our intent on listening to their needs and finding out if there was some way that we could help them.
They graciously listened and by the time the morning was over they had offered us full use of their facilities to the point of even coming to eat in their cafeteria! 🙂 But I am getting ahead of myself.
Next a video presentation of the medical college and all that it offers was shown to us. It was curious in that there were no winter segments shown, but alas the winters are long and cold here so that most likely is not a compelling point to make. This day however the weather was absolutely spectacular, and was we left that upper room and made our way across campus we began to talk with the medical college officials accompanying us.
They were very friendly, courteous and genuinely seemed to be happy that we were there. In fact, a large electronic message board in one of the buildings we visited said in bold chinese characters that the medical college welcomes the American visitors today!
We were led through a series of buildings that basically was a tour I think designed to show us that they are a worthy partner and have a lot to offer. Some of the things we saw were the scanning and transmission electron microscope, polymerase chain reaction machine, much more lab equipment, the anatomy building with its Human Science Exhibition, the multitude of mannequins used to help train medical students and nursing students in ACLS, BLS, ICU care, birthing procedures, megacodes, and intubation of an airway.
There was the exhibit hall where many pictures were in place to show the history of their medical college and the accomplishments of some of their graduates. In each building we visited there was a person or persons who escorted us and gave us a detailed tour of the facilities. In the anatomy building I picked up another piece of Chinese culture that I was unaware of before.
I was carrying a backpack with items for use in the nursing home clinic later in the day and the anatomy professor giving the tour told me to let one of his students who was assisting him carry my backpack. I told him this was not necessary but he persisted so I complied. Even after the tour of the anatomy building was over he had the student find someone else to carry my backpack. My understanding now is that it is always the student’s job and never the teacher’s job to carry the backpack, books or other object. This still made me feel uncomfortable, but I did acquiesce and let someone else carry my backpack the rest of the morning!
After the tour was complete we headed for the school cafeteria, but ended up in a VIP dining room. Wow! We were served 14 different dishes which all ~10 of us shared. We were drinking water, but multiple toasts and clinking of glasses were made. The goal of the morning was to develop a friendship with the officials at the local medical college and it appears that this goal was realized.
Sure, time will tell how this all develops, but there was talk about moving our academic afternoons where medical lectures are given to the residents to this medical college and then including their students in our lecture time. There was discussion of visas, use of facilities, teaching of some of their foreign medical students, but mostly it was just a time to get to know each other.
It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds, but with our eyes on the future and the changing China healthcare landscape this joint venture may be just what the doctor ordered!