Resident Experience by Jon Bailey:
I’ve always been interested in cross cultural work, so it was a foregone conclusion that I would volunteer with CASIEF once I entered the anesthesiology program. From previous experiences, I’ve become convinced that education and advocacy have the greatest potential impact in global health settings. CASIEF’s model of a long term commitment through repeated short term visits to provide teaching and mentorship seemed ideal. It provides continuity, ongoing personal relationships and capacity building, while remaining feasible for the average full-time Canadian anesthesiologist. I wanted to experience the program first hand to see how this kind of work could fit in with my career plans.
My second major goal of this trip was to hone my teaching skills, across language and cultural boundaries. Thankfully Dr Jennifer Szerb has a solid working relationship with many of the Rwandan staff so we were able to prepare teaching sessions ahead of time based on their requests. Over a four week period, we were able to deliver an ATLS style trauma course for 25 participants from anesthesia, surgery, and nursing, hosted in the beautiful Simulation and Skills Centre at CHUK. This provided me with the opportunity to develop lectures, simulation sessions and skills sessions, working in conjunction with Dr Egide (general surgeon), Dr Albert (orthopedic surgeon) and Dr Paulin (anesthesia program director).
In Butare, Dr Gaston (anesthesiologist) planned and moderated an acute pain teaching day for 55 nurses, surgeons, anesthetists, pharmacists and physiotherapists. Jennifer, Kristen Bailey (psychologist who also happens to be my wife) and I were invited to speak. I was able to collaborate on an interactive pharmacology lecture with Albert, the Head of the Pharmacy department at CHUB. Then, to make the teaching as practical as possible, Kristen, Gaston and I lead volunteers through simulated pain assessment and treatment cases. Portions of the pain day were repeated for physiotherapists and nurses at CHUK to bolster the newly formed acute pain committee. This kind of multidisciplinary, cross-cultural education is a rare experience for a resident, and a huge opportunity provided by the CASIEF program and, specifically, the Dalhousie Global Health Office of Anesthesia.
Dalhousie is unique among Canadian programs both because of the number of staff anesthesiologists involved with CASIEF and due to the ongoing support of bidirectional resident education. By sponsoring Rwandan residents to come to Canada and our residents to travel there, the Dalhousie program is demonstrating in a real way the value of exchanging ideas on a global scale. Dr Paulin Banguti, once a CASIEF sponsored resident, is now the program director of the University of Rwanda Anesthesia program. We were lucky enough to attend the graduation celebrate for 5 of their residents (the biggest graduating class yet). Paulin repeatedly cited CASIEF’s role in changing the face of anesthesiology education in Rwanda; while exhorting the newly minted staff to continue to revolutionize anesthesia provision, clinically and through education, research and advocacy. Paulin announced that he recently gave up a lucrative private practice to focus on the residency program in the severely under-resourced CHUK, highlighting the ‘sacrifices’ made by CASIEF volunteers as part of his motivation.