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A white coat surprise

Japanese medical students learning at Shepparton’s University of Melbourne Rural Health Academic Centre.

JOHN LEWIS July 19, 2014 3:44am

Japanese medical students Chisa Ito, Yoshika Mami, Shinichiro Ishihara and Shogo Goda are on a two-week placement at Shepparton's University of Melbourne Rural Health Academic Centre.


Some things are surprising only through the eyes of a newcomer.

For instance — Australian doctors don’t wear white coats.

For four Japanese medical students visiting Shepparton’s University of Melbourne Rural Health Academic Centre, this can be confusing.

‘‘I can’t tell who is a doctor and who isn’t,’’ first-year intern Dr Shinichiro Ishihara said.

For colleague Yoshika Mami, being taught by senior nurses was also unusual.

‘‘Nurses here teach some medical students. In Japan, doctors would do that,’’ Ms Mami said.

The four students from Shimane University Hospital in Izumo are on a two-week exchange visit to the Rural Health Academic Centre on Graham St.

The centre’s student and programs administrator Stephanie Hosking said up to four students and interns from Shimane University had been hosted for two weeks each year since 2006.

Ms Hosking said the Japanese students observed second-year medical students in tutorials and during clinical training at Goulburn Valley Health.

‘‘The students gain a hands-on experience of Australian health care.

‘‘The Japanese system doesn’t offer this until later on in their training,’’ Ms Hosking said.

She said in exchange, two students from the Rural Health Academic Centre’s Rural Clinical School were invited each year to attend Shimane University for a four-week placement.

Also on the Japanese students’ itinerary is a visit to Kyabram Fauna Park, a visit to Melbourne Zoo and a good steak house.

‘‘Eating a big steak’’ was on Shogo Goda’s Australian bucket list.

‘‘In Japan, steaks are small.

‘‘But here they are big — just like the cars,’’ Mr Goda said.

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