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Elective Competition Winner 2017

By Laura Dunn

Elective Competition Winner 2017


I have learned so many things during this elective, and this week was no different. I again spent it in level 3 NICU.


On Tuesday I also had a brief break from NICU to attend a paediatric surgery list, I saw a variety of standard operations, including the hernia repair of one of the babies from NICU.

He'd been born at 23 weeks gestation exactly, which is generally considered the absolute limit for resuscitation, after a long, challenging stay in hospital he had now passed his due date and after his hernia repair was beginning the road to discharge over the next few weeks.

There was another baby in the unit also born at 23+0, who was sadly not doing so well and at a month old was the sickest baby in the unit. Over the course of my last week another baby was born in the 23 weeks bracket, but she was born at 23 weeks and four days.

She was under 500g when she was born and if you had a large hand she would probably fit in it. As an extreme preterm baby she has a long road ahead, I couldn't help but look at the other two ex 23 weekers and wonder which way she would go. So far she'd had a good start, I hope her four extra days prove their worth and that a few months from now when her due date comes around she'll be heading home soon after.

My last day in Calgary was spent wandering along the river to one of the parks downtown, admiring the beautiful day, the tall buildings, and the spectacular mountains just an hour's drive away.

The people here have been some of the kindest I've met, the scenery some of the most striking I've seen, Canada is very much on my "to be revisited" list.
A lot of people don't want to do neonatology because of the emotional challenges of NICU.

It definitely isn't for everyone, and I understand their point, this month I have felt those challenges. There have been days that have hit me hard and there are babies that will stay with me for a long time, but there are also the babies who were discharged, the smile on the parents faces as they were told their baby could go home would always be a highlight of the day, it reminded me how meaningful this specialty really is to so many people.

I've felt no greater tension in medicine than when waiting for that first newborn cry, but also no greater relief than when it comes. I know NICU is a very specialised elective choice, but I loved it.

Watch out for more updates from Jordan on his elective adventures! 

Are you going on an elective?  Head off on your travels safe in the knowledge that we've got you covered for problems such as cancellations for exam re-sit cancellations, HIV needle-stick injuries or unforeseen medical expenses with elective insurance from Wesleyan.  

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