My first week back in Guyana began with the third annual Crash Course in Emergency Medicine. A couple of years ago, Vanderbilt began an Emergency Medicine Residency Training program at Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). With every new class of residents, we put on a “Crash Course,” an intensive four-day lecture series, so that all the new residents can get some intensive training on common emergencies, and all the older residents get an intensive review.
This time, we welcomed our third class of residents. First things first, though—tests for the senior residents! The very first day, we got up early to put all of our upper level residents through an entire day of in-service exams. They had a written test all morning, oral exams, and then an individual simulation case. For the simulation scenario, I was the “nurse” assisting the examinee. It’s a fun position to be in because I get to provide helpful hints if they’re going down the wrong path, or make the case more challenging for the more advanced residents who were knocking it out of the park.
The next day we got up bright and early to begin the crash course. For this four-day session, the new class of residents joined us as well. I participated in the crash course last year, and it was great to see how much the upper level residents had grown, both in knowledge and confidence. I got to lecture on some favorite topics of mine and listen to some great lectures by Vanderbilt faculty as well. One of the most encouraging parts of crash course was the return of faculty from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. Dr. Joanne Paul, a Pediatric Emergency Physician, returned again to crash course to lecture, along with Dr. Georgia Baird, an Emergency Physician. They both also lectured for a CME course over the weekend that was open to the community. During their visit, they were also able to network with our residents to discuss the role of Emergency Medicine throughout the Caribbean. Our residents are in uncharted territory in Guyana; in fact, Emergency Medicine is a relatively new field throughout the Caribbean. Dr. Paul and Dr. Baird helped to give the residents some insights about how to make the field more recognized and accepted, and how they might begin and organize specialty groups.
After four days of around 8 hours of lectures daily, we went as a group to tour a local sugar factory (although I think most of the residents were so tired at that point they probably would rather have taken a nap!). It was great to have that time to get to know the new residents I would be working with in the coming weeks, and to see them immediately welcomed as part of the group. Now that we had given them a foundation, it was time to get back to work in the A&E!