Hello and greetings from Canada!

My name is Kristin and I am a medical student in Canada who is in Trondheim, Norway, for a research exchange with the PRC.  The exchange program is organized by the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA) and it facilitates medical students from around the world participating in research or clinical observerships in other countries.  The aim of the program is to increase international collaboration and to expose medical students to various medical systems and different clinical experiences.  Through this program I was assigned to work with the PRC at St. Olav’s Hospital in Trondheim. 

Kristin and Erik in the Cancer Clinic 280814

Visiting the Cancer Clinic together with Erik Løhre, head of the Palliative Unit.

The exchange is one month long so I have been spending the month of August here, working on research related to pain classification and assessment in cancer patients.  My role has been to help one of the post-doctorate fellows (Yulan Lin) with a systematic literature review that aims to summarize the pain classification and assessment systems and methods that are currently being used in cancer pain research around the world.  When I first arrived I helped conduct database searches of MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register, PsychINFO, CINAHL and AMED to identify relevant articles in the literature.  Since the initial search I have been screening the abstracts to flag papers that are relevant to our review.  The next step is to review the full articles and extract information about the types of assessment and classification tools that are used to characterize cancer pain.   

It has been interesting for me to learn about writing a systematic review and to also compare how research is conducted here in Norway to how it is done in Canada (seems very similar to me!).  I also had the opportunity to tour the pain management and cancer care clinics here at St. Olav’s which was a great chance for me to observe similarities and differences from our hospitals in Canada, especially because the pain clinic here is very well established and well regarded in the palliative care field.  Also, chatting with medical students here has really been interesting, and contrasting the medical education system in Norway to the one I am enrolled in has given me some ideas of how to improve our system in Canada!  Overall it has been a fantastic experience and the researchers and staff at the PRC have been wonderful – making me feel welcome and giving me the chance to explore the Norwegian health care system.

Thank you everyone!

Kristin Ambacher

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