Medical students from around world broaden their horizons at Prague summer school

Over a hundred students from medical schools all over the world are in the Czech capital at the moment; they're here to attend Prague Selective, a broad study programme which is now in its tenth year. The course is organised by Dr. Martin Stransky, who himself studied medicine in the US and runs a health care clinic in Prague.

The Prague Selective course consists of a three week programme and it is intended for first and second-year students of medicine. Its aim is to expose them to a variety of health-care settings and issues and let them explore various medical systems and the thinking process of clinical medicine. During the course they receive a sort of "jump start" on certain aspects of patient care. I asked Martin Stransky why he decided to organize the course here in Prague in the first place.

"About ten years ago I had a few students who I happened to be teaching in the US visit me here in Prague and they shadowed me and then they said it would be a great idea if some more of us could come and see you next vacation and next year about six showed up and then about twenty showed up so I had to do something with it essentially turned it into a course."

To date, over a thousand students from at least twenty-five medical schools have attended the course. Because of the growing number of participants, the faculty hospital in Pilsen has also joined in the programme this year. And how is the regular course day structured?

"In the mornings the students visit different hospitals and different departments within hospitals just to see how much they can and how Czech medicine is practiced in various institutions by various people - and there are differences - and in the afternoon they have afternoon seminars where they discuss the thinking process of a physician because they are still young students and we want to influence them early. And then of course we talk about different health care systems and for this the Czech Republic is perfect."

Given the fact that most of the students find out about the course through word of mouth, it seems they really have a genuine interest in the programme. I met some of those taking part to ask them what they thought about Czech health care system and about their course so far.

"I think it's very excellent and it's very interesting to see how much money we spend in the US versus the Czech Republic. I think that we get the same level of care. I thought it was very interesting."

"It is a very good experience and I am very thankful to the Czech Republic to opening their doors and their time as well with respect to the doctors and explaining to us how the health care system works and having us assist in some of the medical procedures that they perform in the hospitals."