Sopheara Koy ’20 — Among human rights, the right to life is regarded as one of the most fundamental rights that every human automatically inherited. Sadly enough, this right is continuously bombarded by various health issues presented within different parts of the world. For decades, Cambodia has been pounded by a copious amount of healthcare crises that have led to terrible consequences such as high mortality rate and low life expectancy to name a few. The health issues concerning this country have channeled my desire to become one of its future healthcare resources.
Within the summer of 2019, I was given a fantastic opportunity of interning at Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) and its microbiology research unit (COMRU). AHC is a children’s hospital located within the center of Siem Reap province in Cambodia. It was first established in 1999 by a renowned Japanese photographer, and since then, this non-profit pediatric facility is running through national and international donations. I was very enthusiastic about having my 2019 summer internship placed within a hospital where I used to be one of its patients back during the early 2000s. I would like to give my greatest thanks to the funding provided by the Dill Fund program for making this opportunity possible.
The internship at AHC had provided me a unique set of healthcare experiences within the realm of medical research and clinical processing. I have received numerous clinical experiences by working closely with doctors stationed in different departments of the hospital. Such experiences include shadowing the doctors in different wards which include Inpatient Department (IPD), Outpatient Department (OPD), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Emergency Room (ER), and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Within each department, I have observed closely the way in which doctors determined diagnoses of diseases through verbal and physical examinations with patients. In addition to observations, I also had a chance to chat with doctors about the underlying principles of the diseases as well as discussing the overall medical and health status of patients through examination over medication history and other relevant recorded vital signs. For instance, we scrutinized over the type of antibiotic used with patients while being critical about the excessive use of an antibiotic like Meropenem.
Meanwhile, the most rewarding experience perhaps came from another type of clinical activity that I participated in along with medical residencies in IPD, ICU/ER, and NICU. This aspect of clinical experience was comprised of critical education that a health practitioner should have regarding clinical and laboratory processes of making the right diagnoses from briefing over medical status to prescribing drugs. These medical board rounds gave me a holistic outlook on how doctors tackle health issues in addition to the psychology of treating patients.
Asides from clinical exposure, I was also involved with the microbiology medical lab unit that performed extensive research such as testing and identifying the key pathogens responsible for causing different health issue cases. As a team, I got a few hands-on experiences in identifying the names of the several bacteria and fungi of different diseases through blood culturing, stools, and so on. Each day, the results were then communicated through afternoon board rounds presented by lab technicians to a group of doctors. The discussion taught me the importance of communication in the science of treating healthcare issues.
From clinical and medical lab involvement, the summer internship with AHC has provided me with countless clinical experiences as a healthcare provider. In a bigger picture, the experiences gave me a deeper view of the healthcare situation in one of the poorest countries in the world. Although these point of views are taken from witnessing the clinical and healthcare status of only a tiny part of the population, they continue to add more inspiration, passion, and give me a chance to truly comprehend the need of a good healthcare service in a place where I hope that one day, I could be one of its effective human resources.