By Craig Sheedy
My last night in Guyana arrived sooner than expected. I worked my last shift and then went out to dinner with the A&E residents. It has been an incredible and rewarding experience spending a month in Guyana teaching emergency medicine and learning about the healthcare system in a developing country. I have told the emergency medicine residents and doctors here that their job is much harder than mine - and that they are doing incredible work. The local doctors are learning not only how to practice medicine, but also how to advocate for continued change and improvement in the healthcare system. I only hope that I have made an impact here by sharing my training and experience.
After returning to the United States and getting back to work at Vanderbilt, I ran into a few familiar faces from Guyana. The second year emergency medicine residents from Guyana get to come to Vanderbilt to gain a better experience for the healthcare system and practices of a developed country. These three residents left Guyana shortly after my arrival, and were still in Nashville on my return. Their last week in Nashville we attended a journal club together, which was interesting as I had also attended a journal club hosted for the residents while in Guyana.
One of the residents was amazed at the caliber of discussion about the journal articles and research being done in the United States. He noted that his trip to Vanderbilt highlighted the significant gap still present between healthcare in Guyana and the United States. I responded by asking about how the healthcare system in Guyana has changed over the last 5-10 years. He responded that the advances already made are like night and day. Of course there is still progress to be made, but after seeing the dedication of the local doctors, nurses and staff I know the future of healthcare in Guyana is bright and will one day rival our own.