Going on Electives and Exchanges

Electives are awesome!

Electives are an important part of our learning. They let us meet new people, be exposed to different environments and do a lot which we normally wouldn't. Electives take place before your last year of the degree and are usually self-organised. Below is information to help you in that process.

The Faculty and LMS

Katherine Edhouse is the Faculty Elective Coordinator. If you have any questions it is best to contact her.

Once in 3rd year, the LMS unit "Clinical Elective information" becomes visible. This includes information about Electives, where you can get more information, how to apply for an elective and where you may seek financial support. The unit also outlines assessment requirements for the elective and the process of getting Faculty approval for your elective.

Some of the information in the LMS Unit is duplicated here.

Choosing and Organising an Elective

An elective can take place in WA, in Australia or overseas. Where you go is up to you. Many students choose to arrange their own, whilst others use corporate services to do so.

Choice of hospital usually boils down to: medical interest or travel interest, or hopefully both.

There are a variety of places to get information on hospitals. Apart from previous students, distributes out a handbook (The medics guide to work and electives around the world) for its members at the WAMSS Electives and Exchange night. MDA National provides all of its members with  free access to The Elective Network. Work the World provides safe, structured clinical placements in developing nations across Africa, Asia and South America and more info can be found at www.worktheworld.com.au. Work the World also have a partnership with MIPS.

If you've opted to self-organise, you will need to make contact with the hospital and arrange your elective. This usually takes place 6-12 months in advance depending on the popularity of the site you wish to visit. You will need to liaise with the faculty to ensure that the place you have chosen is appropriate.

AMSA and the International Federation of Medical Student Associations (IFMSA) also arrange for students to participate in medical exchanges. IFMSA takes on the role of placing you at a hospital of your preference (subject to availability). You do not need to accept a medical student into your home in return for using IFMSA. There is a minor cost to this, and you can learn more by contact the WAMSS Electives and Exchange Officer at [email protected]

Also of use is the Medical Journal of Australia's Guide to working Abroad.

Financing an Elective

An elective can work out to be expensive when you take into account travel costs, accommodation, food and if your elective requires payment. There are many scholarships, grants and loans available from the University (Study Abroad, Sobotka), OS-HELP (Student Loan) and scholarships, grants and low-interest available from our fantastic sponsors.

There is also information on the LMS unit for you to peruse. You're encourage to seek funding from anywhere that you can think of in order to reduce the financial burden of overseas/interstate electives.

Insurance and Vaccines

It's recommended that you get insurance. The university's indemnity cover will protect you for any medical work you do, however it does not provide travel insurance. Also keep in mind that most travel insurance policies do not provide cover in the event of failing an exam. So check!

Each year, a university member, often Ben Clarke, organises vaccinations and other medical assessment pre- and post-elective. You can find out more information from the LMS unit and by contacting the Faculty.

Exchanges

As mentioned, WAMSS, AMSA and IFMSA organise exchanges for students. Outgoing students are not required to host an incoming student. Instead, WAMSS and AMSA seek local volunteers to house incoming students. Host persons/families are paid $500 in compensation. If you're interested in hosting a medical student, please contact the WAMSS Electives and Exchange Officer at [email protected]