I wouldn’t like this letter to be the typical letter of a resident describing how many intubations or epidurals were made during their three-month ESA Trainee Exchange Programme.
I am a fifth year resident from Greece, who was selected for the 2017 Trainee Exchange Programme to attend Centro Hospitalar do Porto, Portugal, under the mentoring of Dr Antonio Costa. Before going to Porto, I wanted to include in my training anaesthesia for liver transplantations, Paediatric and Obstetric anaesthesia. What I really enjoyed the most was that the programme was flexible and I could modify my daily training according to the interesting cases of each special department. Before joining the programme, I was still indecisive about my future direction after the end of residency. I am now certain that Paediatric anaesthesia will definitely be the field of anaesthesia that interests me the most.
For Greece of the crisis, where the dreams of young doctors drown into mediocrity, corruption, and minimum salaries for survival, it is important to meet inspiring people throughout our specialty. In CMIN (Centro Materno Infantil), Porto, Portugal, I was very pleased to see that apart from expertise in anaesthesiology, three words describe the medical and nursing staff: compassion, connection, and commitment to the patient.
The European Society of Anaesthesiology is not another impersonal society; Antonio Costa, Maria Joao, Pedro Pina, Luisa Castelo, and Chief Prof. Humberto Machado – I would like to thank all of you for this wonderful and educational experience in Porto. Special thanks to Maria Joao for teaching me that in Paediatric Anaesthesia, what matters most is not only to be open-minded but also open-hearted.
Last but not least, as a young mother of two children 1.5 and 3 years old, I would like to encourage more trainees to travel with their children abroad to promote their career; the people of ESA engaged in the Programme in Portugal were again there for me, to make me feel safe, although alone with the children, in a country whose language I don’t speak.
The ESA Trainee Exchange Programme was for me a lot more than international, multi-faceted learning and anaesthetic knowledge. In Portugal of 2017, I saw the future projection of a better Greece that emerges from the Crisis. The skilled and dedicated anaesthesiologists involved in the program in Portugal, above all, inspired hope to succeed in Greece through challenging times.