Newsletter November 2020: A new report from the Trainee Exchange Program

Dr Fethi and Dr Rakic – dragana.rakic@hotmail.com

Clinic of anaesthesia, intensive therapy and pain therapy,

Clinical center of Voivodina, Serbia


Our profession is very challenging because we need to improve ourselves every day, to extend our experience and knowledge. And I think if we have an opportunity to see different techniques or improve our skills, we should not hesitate.

The ESA Trainee Exchange Program offers all this and more and that was the reason for me to apply. I have been chosen by the ESA committee and my destination was Istanbul. Both of these facts were so exciting for me. I get the opportunity to be the first candidate who visited Marmara University Research and Educational Hospital in the biggest city in Europe. It was very challenging for me and for the host because it was a new experience for us. Also, there was no time to lose because I was pregnant at the time, so I needed to start as soon as possible. As I expected, Prof Umuroglu was full of understanding and we agree about the details of my exchange at my preliminary visit in December 2019. Given the circumstances, we agree to start with an exchange at the beginning of the year.

It is well known that the Turkish people are very warm and hospitable, and I was sure that I will be well accepted. My mentor Dr Ruslan Abdulayev helped me to find an apartment nearby, to get to know the city. I must say thanks all of them for taking care of me, all of anaesthesiologists were so kind and friendly, I truly felt like I was part of the team.

Marmara University Research and Educational Hospital is one of the biggest hospitals in theĀ  Asian part of the city. There is a wide range of anaesthesia specialities, especially cardiovascular, thoracic, neurosurgical and paediatric.



Thoracic anaesthesia is not something that I do every day, only as urgent thoracotomy in case of thoracic injury. My experience in that field was poor, and so I started with that.

The thoracic anaesthesia group is small, so I had a very warm and easy welcome, especially by the Dr Mustafa Kemal Arslantas. During the rotation, I had the opportunity to train in all aspects related to one-lung ventilation and perform several regional techniques, such as thoracic epidural blocks. He is very knowledgeable and skilful in that field. I even have been provided with their study material and their expert guidance in practical handling. My expectations to learn more about thoracic anaesthesia were fulfilled. Now back home, I will use these skills in my everyday practice.

My next rotation was cardiovascular anaesthesia. We all know that haemodynamics is something that we could learn again and again, so I wanted to repeat and improve my knowledge about hemodynamic monitoring. The most useful part for me was learning Transoesophageal echocardiography. Transoesophageal echocardiography is something IĀ consider a necessity for any cardio-anaesthesiologist. Therefore, it was somethingĀ IĀ wanted to practice more, which IĀ was allowed to do. Ā In this hospital they are performing every type of cardiovascular operation in adults and children, so the team is very experienced. A wide range of cardiosurgical procedures took place daily ranging from common coronary artery bypass grafts, which are the daily bread of most cardiosurgical units. Also quite common were cases of valvular surgery. The unit also handles complicated cases such as open pulmonary artery thrombectomy in the state of deep hypothermia. Ā I was able to watch and learn the anaesthetic management of various cardiothoracic procedures including pre- and postoperative management of patients, and the management of postoperative complications.

The next rotation I had in ICU, because at my workplace I have a lot of shifts in the intensive care unit, so I wanted to see similarities and differences between us. The team is composed of doctors of different specialities, such as anaesthesiologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists and surgeons, and they cover every aspect of treatment. I must say that the ICU in this hospital performs at a very high level.

Anaesthesiologists and anaesthesia residents in this hospital are very dedicated to learning, so we had lectures at least twice a week about various topics. Because of me, the lectures were in English so I must say thanks again for that.

In my opinion, the most valuable thing that this program can offer is being able to see how the work is done in other specialised centres and then compare it to work in the hospital at home, and hopefully bring some of the best tips into your daily practice. There are numerous tips and tricks and know-how that cannot be learned simply just from reading literature.

But there are also other benefits that Trainee Exchange ProgramĀ can provide, such as building a professional and private network across the countries,Ā experiencing different working environments and healthcare systems,Ā improving language abilities and so on.

I am immensely grateful for this opportunity and I would like to encourage my colleagues to take part in this programme and choose this hospital. Besides the medical part, you will meet people who are thoroughly warm, kind and caring, also you will see Istanbul, a city like no other in the world. Finally, I would like to thank the ESA team for all the work they did to make this exchange possible and the support they provided throughout my placement.


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1 reply

Great experience. Wonderful possibility for experience exchanging. Is it possible to take part in this program?
3 years ago

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