Bartlomiej Kaluzny, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor Department of Ophthalmology, Collegium Medicum UMK, Bydgoszcz, Poland received an SOE Educational grant in 2007. Here he answers questions on how the placement impacted on his career.
Do you believe the experience made possible by the SOE grant has helped in your career progression?
I am sure that SOE grant which enabled me to stay a month as an observer in Moorfields Eye Hospital in London had a great impact on my career. The lessons I learned and the techniques I observed helped me a lot in starting the first corneal transplant clinic in my region. What is of special value for me, are friendships that I made at that time, which not only made our congresses a great social event but also proved beneficial in the field of professional work as a clinician and a scientist.
What advice would you offer new SOE Grant beneficiary in order for them to make the most of their opportunity?
I think the key issue is to be focused not only on patients, procedures and learning but also on your teachers and colleagues.
What was the biggest cultural difference from your national clinic?
I was impressed by the role of a consultant as the head and the leader of an independent clinic. The system based on a number of relatively small clinics run under a name of the consultant provides a patient with a possibility of continuous care – same doctor from the preoperative visit, through the surgery and follow up period. It also makes it easier and highly motivating to build a reputation of the clinic.
What aspect of your career expanded most during your stay (academic, surgical, leadership, networking ect.)
I gained a lot in terms of clinical and surgical knowledge, although I was not allowed to preform surgical procedures myself. Another important aspect, I mentioned before, is expanding one’s professional and social network.
What is your best advice for new applicants due to their selection of clinic?
Although I stayed in a very large eye hospital and I was very satisfied, I think the rule ‘the bigger the better’ is not working here. In a large hospital you are more anonymous, whereas in a smaller one it is easier to have a better contact with your colleagues.
How in your opinion could SOE make these grants more attractive?
I would be great to have an opportunity to learn and practice surgical skills.
What do you think of surgical training of juniors in the Center you visited?
I think training on patients would not be possible from the legal point of view, but as more and more surgical simulators are available, it should be the way to follow in the future.
What has been the greatest learning point for you during your experience?
I stayed in Moorefield’s Eye Hospital in 2007 and at that time lamellar techniques of corneal grafting were gaining popularity. I had a great lesson observing skilled ophthalmologists in an early stage of their learning curve.