Czech-ing it out.

Last Sunday I was informed that my first rotation was going to be in the paramedics department, and was handed the red uniform. Wearing the uniform made me feel very official and as a result of being super excited about this, I took a picture of it before I left! The paramedics placement was not however at Liberec Regional Hospital (also locally known as KNL which stands for Krajská nemocnice Liberec). It was at Turnov Hospital which is about 15 minutes south.

I found out that the process of becoming a paramedic in Czech Republic is very different from becoming a paramedic in the United States. Paramedics in the US go through emergency medical training where as paramedics in the Czech Republic are all doctors of medicine (MD). After graduating medical school “paramedics” is a speciality some of the graduates choose and begin what is equivalent to a residency in the paramedics department. 

My mentor, the doctor I shadowed for some time, told me this was probably because there are fewer hospitals in some of the smaller towns , and ambulatory services are not always as efficient as they should be in getting the patients to a hospital. This means that paramedics often need to be able to tend to patients on the spot during a call as driving the patient back to hospital is not always the best option. 

I got to go on quite a few calls, but also found that paramedics have a lot of down time. Which is probably for the best because it means people aren’t getting sick or hurt too often! I learned a lot, including the fact that paramedics are crazy drivers (which is probably needed). The entire time I felt that if it wasn’t for the seatbelt, I would’ve flown out the window. Tomorrow I am being switched to clinical microbiology back at Liberec Regional, which means that I will not be with my fellow Turnov interns anymore. The bottom picture could be considered a going away picture! 

The house I am staying at is only a short 5 minute walk away from the center of town. Coincidently there was a street festival in session which was a great way to start my stay! Performers of all ages participated in displaying a wide array of talents. There was a local band, a group of young acrobats, dancers dressed in traditional Czech outfits, a puppet show, sword fighters, and even a man stilts! I got some great clips towards the beginning of the show, but due to an unfortunate “running low on battery life” I resorted to pictures towards the end.

I got to try some great food too! Bramboraky, a fried potato pancakes type things, is a common street snack food. Grilled sausages seemed to be a fan favorite as well. I can’t imagine my heart being happy after all that, but my taste buds sure were! A lot of local vendors had really neat crafts and jewelry for sale as well. Overall, it was a great time and fantastic way to be welcomed into Liberec! 

Destination Reached.

After almost 20 hours of traveling due delayed flights, missed transfers, and crazy traffic, I finally made it to Liberec! Liberec is a small town in the Czech Republic, and lies just north of Prague. Although I’ve only gotten a glimpse of the surroundings so far, I love it. It has a very cozy feel. While coming in I noticed that almost all the houses have small balconies. The balcony seems to be where families chat after dinner on Friday evenings. While the buildings at first seem randomly scattered and mismatched, everything fits together in a way of its own. 

I will be starting my hospital internship at Liberec Regional Hospital on Monday, which means I have the weekend to explore and make myself at home! While driving in, I was planning on doing some exploring today, but seeing a bed seems to have made my body register how exhausted I am. I guess we’ll see what tomorrow has in store!