Testimonials – Portugal

Rembrant Aarts. 31 March – April 25th 2014

EFPT internship. Porto Sao Jao Hospital. Dep. Eatings disorders

Via the European Federation of Psychiatry trainees I followed stated internship in the city of O Porto in Portugal. It was the last 4 weeks of my psychiatry specialization and it was a month that I still had not filled in with other internships. Some of the factors that made me choose Portugal were: the fact that I speak the Portuguese language, the fact that I might consider working a part of my professional career in Portugal in the future. The raisons that I choose O Porto (eating disorders program) were: easy to arrange housing, city I didn’t know very well yet, my absent experience with the field of eating disorders and my affinity working with adolescents. I followed the Dutch Specialization Registration Committee (RGS) internship registration route in order to fulfill also local (Dutch) requirements for the internship. Apparently that was a novelty. Arranging the internship was easy and the process of being selected went without any problems. On the day of arrival I was pro-actively welcomed and a program was made. There were 4 (including me) interns for the department of eating disorders which resulted in some logistic challenges. All interns were from outside hospitals in Portugal who came specifically to this hospital to learn about eating disorders.

The weekly schedule consisted globally of:

Monday: clinic in the morning, day hospital in the afternoon

Tuesday: outpatient department with head of department

Wednesday: Team meeting with case discussion and journal club, weekly psychiatry department lecture in the morning. Family treatment with one way screen in the afternoon.

Thursday: Family treatment in the morning, outpatient department in the afternoon.

Friday: clinic in the morning, day hospital in the afternoon.

Each intern had his/her own schedule. Sometimes were there was little to do we studied, discussed or left early to enjoy the city.

The team was open to my visit, collaborative and interested in my opinion and experience. During the weeks I built a good relationship with my fellow Portuguese interns that allowed us to extensive reflections on professional and personal issues. I was impressed by the colleague intern’s factual knowledge and dedication to patient care. On numerous occasions I felt uneasy because in many aspects the position of Dutch interns is better than that of the Portuguese. I my 3rd week I presented my lecture in the general department of psychiatry weekly meeting. Apparently I was the first EFPT intern (before me there were 3 I think) to present to that public and the presentation was received well. I approached topics on Dutch psychiatry residency psychiatry program, Psychiatry in the Netherlands, a Dutch article about burn out among residents and approaching sexuality by interns in patient care and supervision. I also presented about my special interest in PTSD.

Psychiatry interns from other hospitals, involved in EFPT, were in contact with me and we set up a social life. They were friendly, honest and curious with exemption. The head of the psychiatry department had set up a movie cycle about “movie and illness” in a local cinema in which the screening was followed by discussion. I went to visit the cycle during my stay.

In 4 weeks I got a good impression about the way eating disorders present clinically and are treated. I was linked to a fixed patient in the clinic who I visited daily. The experience fulfilled my expectations and helped to reflect on my work and other professional and personal issues. I could recommend this internship to any European colleague.

Rembrant Aarts