A lifetime opportunity to develop my skills and gain a new perspective
July 20, 2022 | Elena Manthopoulou
Elena Manthopoulou is a specialty registrar in the gastroenterology department of Saint Savvas Oncology Hospital of Athens (Greece). As a UEG Clinical Visiting Fellow, she visited the University of Verona in Italy in March 2022 for 2 weeks and reports from her experience.
It has been some time since my clinical visiting fellowship in Verona and my mind and heart are still there. My trip was not just about working, but it was a life-changing experience that opened my horizons and helped me gain a lot of new assets and knowledge for my career.
On the first day of my visit, I was welcomed by Professor Luca Frulloni with kindness and cordiality. From the very beginning, I participated in the morning visit he made with the whole team to the patients. The gastroenterology department of Borgo Roma Hospital, as part of the Pancreas Institute, manages various complex and interesting cases with benign or malignant pancreatic diseases; cases of pancreatic or biliary cancer, IPMNs, pancreatic NETs, autoimmune pancreatitis, difficult cases of gallstones, pseudocysts of the pancreas are just a few of them., Due to my interest in advanced endoscopy I attended the advanced endoscopic daily procedures in the endoscopic unit for two weeks.
During my stay in the endoscopy department, I attended ERCPs and EUS procedures. Endoscopy staff welcomed me very warmly, not as a visitor, but they treated me from the very first moment as a member of their team and as their friend. While I do not speak Italian, they were by my side to translate every detail of the patient’s history as well as every procedure in their daily practice.
Professor Gabbrielli, the Director of the endoscopy unit has always been not only explanatory in the endoscopic procedures but really a new mentor for me. I observed a lot of ERCPs and cholangioscopies performed by him and his team. In all the procedures, his goal was not just to explain the technique to me, but to help me understand the reason for the treatment he chose. He not only gave me tips, tricks and pitfalls that I could have in ERCP, but he explained to me his strategic thinking so that I could learn how to face any difficult situations in the future.
In addition to ERCP, I also observed EUS performed by Dr Stefano Crinò and Dr Laura Bernardoni who were excellent instructors. During these 2 weeks, I attended not only diagnostic EUS but also therapeutic, such as pseudocyst drainage and fiducial marker placement in pancreatic cancer.
Every Thursday, I participated with the whole team in the pancreatology meeting, where gastroenterologists, surgeons, radiologists and physicians discussed the hospital’s complex cases. During these meetings, but also throughout my stay, the residents of the clinic explained every detail in English. Martina Budel, Enrico Palmeri and Enrico Gasparini were always by my side. We talked not only about the endoscopic procedures, but also about the Italian health system, the resident training system and the daily life of an Italian physician. This helped me a lot because, as the current president of the young gastroenterologists of Greece, I wanted to bring innovative facts about the international medical systems and give valuable information to the young doctors of my country this year. UEG's faculty member Giovanni Marchegiani, as a surgeon at the Pancreas Institute and YOUPPIE Representative, also helped me a lot in this area. He gave me many helpful tips on how to rebuild, expand and manage a young GI team. We also discussed pancreatology as a subspecialty and research in this area.
This report cannot describe the gratitude I have for UEG for giving me not just the opportunity for a clinical visiting fellowship in a remarkable pancreatic centre but a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop my skills and gain a new perspective of the pancreatology.