Reporter Ruth Dodwell, University of Liverpool, 5th Year
Contact at Destination Chantal Legaey (Medical School Secretary)
Year of Visit 2009
Institution Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, ANGERS
Departments Neurology (7 weeks) & Oncology (7 weeks)
Work Undertaken Final Year Portfolio Placements (each placement requires 20 clinical cases & write ups & a 2500 word guideline or ethical review.
Service & Department NEUROLOGY General Neurology ward with everything from epilepsy, MND, MS, and strokes. I joined in with the other students roles of taking ECGs, doing Mini-mentals and telephoning for missing results. ONCOLOGY Inpatient care including chemotherapy and palliative care patients. There were no other students on this ward so I had much more of a junior doctor role. I saw patients by myself, wrote in the notes and discussed their management with the doctors.
Description of the Destination Angers is a very beautiful city. The cathedral and castle beside the river Maine make the traditional view. It is also on the Loire Valley so there are lots of castles and other beautiful places to visit nearby. The cycle paths along the Loire are another great way to explore the region.
Locals Friendly Yes, although it depended. I joined the university athletics club which was a great way to meet people. However the students in hospital were less friendly due to exams and always going home at the weekends.
Safety? I felt safe in Angers although it is a city so you still need to be careful.
* Running around St Nicolas Pond not really a pond there is a 5k and an 8k route. It is really popular with runners especially on a Sunday morning.
* Drinking Hot Chocolates in Benoit Chocolat plus a macaroon!
* Cointreau Factory tour and tasting learn all about the history of Cointreau and then taste it in a variety of ways!
* I also visited Tours, Saumur, Nantes and Lyon.
Time of Year / Climate January to April : January was very cold with snow but by March you could eat lunch outside and enjoy the sunshine in the many parks.
Accomodation I rented a one bedroom flat from a medical student who was going to Liverpool as the other half of the exchange. It was 10 mins walk from hospital and just on the edge of town in an area called Saint Serge. (250 Euros/month)
Provided? No; I was lucky to be able to get in contact with previous French students that had been in Liverpool.
Medically useful? The oncology placement was very useful as I got into a good routine of fully examining each patient and thinking carefully about their management. The neurology placement was less useful as there were fwere opportunities to practice things independently.
Improved French? Yes! By the end I could fully understand the nurses handover and was happy to talk to any patient alone.
French Culture? It was a brilliant experience to be there for such a long time. I loved going to the market each Saturday morning and buying fresh bread each day.
How did you get there? Eurostar : can change in Paris (be warned of the many stairs on the metro!) or Lille (takes 1 hour longer). The other option is Liverpool to Nantes with Ryan Air (although baggage allowance is only 15 Kg)
Other Information? Foreign students get a free 3 course lunch at the staff canteen. This is well worth it!