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The Holy Cross Experience

Impressions of a five weeks surgical fellowship at the Department of Urology of the Holy Cross Oncological Center at Kielce/Poland

Going abroad has always been a gain for the curious ones willing to learn. For sure, this experience is not only limited to medicine, yet evident especially in the field of surgery: where one procedure is conducted in a certain way in the hostpital you are coming from, it might be performed differently in another hospital by another surgeon. As a conclusion, going abroad means to enhance ones capabilities, a goal most likely achieved in a practical, hands-on orientated programme. An initiative to that was this fiveweeks surgical fellowship I attended at the Department of Urology of the Holy Cross Oncological Center at Kielcce, Poland - based on the European Board of Urology scholarship programme.
Reception was very warm when I arrived on January 7th at Kielce, picked up by a staff member at the local railway station. Dr. Piotr Chlosta FEBU, head of the department, was waiting for my arrival at the clinic, where we took a whole tour on the departments facilities after having some informal refreshments. Accomodation was already prepared at the nearby administrative building of the clinic.
From the first day on I have been fully integrated in all clinical activities of the department. As the Polish language is hard to learn, all communications were performed in English, although it took me only a few days to learn selected Polish names of surgical instruments for example. Anyway the whole staff was extremely helpful, well organized and straight forward, not letting any language problems even emerge.
The main difference to previous international fellowships wasthe fact, that active participation in surgical procedures was the major goal of this visit. At this point I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Chłosta who arranged all the legal and insurance formalities concerning my visit and with remarkable personal effort pushed this fellowship to a great success.
Not only that I actively took part in every days surgery, I was able to enhance my surgical skills and knowledge by nearly daily performing these procedures by myself guided by the patient assistance of Dr. Chłosta or one of his experienced staffmembers.Coming from a major hospital in Vienna and having seen and done quite a lot of surgery (not only urologic), it though was a rich experience to watch the oncologic surgeons at Kielce, to learn their different techniques and benefit from their tips and tricks. Sofar, there is a whole bunch of new impressions I will take home.
Summarizing this fellowship, it was five weeks of intensive learning, intensive surgery and exchange of experience, starting scientific cooperation and meeting interesting people. Who ever is planning to participate in a clinical fellowship should be encouraged to take part in an international programme based on the European Board of Urology scholarship initiative. Finally I, once again, would like to thank Dr Georg Ludvik, who took the first arrangement sfort his visit already in Austria and Dr Piotr Chlosta FEBU, who, in his unforgettable straight forward way, day by day looked after my surgical benefit as well as my personal comfort.

Martin Marszalek, MD
Resident in Urology
Department of Urology and Andrology (head: prof. dr. M. Rauchenwald)
Vienna Danube Hospital, Vienna, Austria