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Diasporian News of Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Source: AGPI Secretariat

Medical Students visit St Patrick’s University Hospital

Two Ghanaian Medical Student’s visit St Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin

Two final year medical students from the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences have completed a month long elective placement in psychiatry at St Patrick’s University Hospital in Dublin, Ireland. The two students; Mr. Andrew Nyantakyi and Nana Kwadwo Kissi Atefah placed first at the 2nd inter-medical school public speaking completion to promote psychiatry as a career option for Ghanaian medical students. The event which was organized by the Association of Ghanaian Professionals in Ireland in collaboration with the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Chief Psychiatrist of the Ghana Health Service and the various Faculties of the four medical schools in Ghana was jointly sponsored by St Patrick’s University Hospital and St John of God Hospital both in Dublin. The runners-up of the competition, two final year medical students from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Development Studies in Tamale undertook a similar elective placement at St John of God Hospital in March 2013. ?The 3rd inter medical school public speaking completion is scheduled to take place at the CCB Auditorium of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology on the 25th of November 2013 from 12 noon. The topic for this year’s competition is; ‘Discuss the strengths and weakness of the current mental health care system in Ghana-Propose an improvement or a new model if the current system is not good enough’.

Below is a report by Mr. Andrew Nyantakyi and Nana Kwadwo Kissi Atefah on their placement.


After coming first in the second edition of the inter-medical school debate organized by Association of Ghanaian Professionals in Ireland (AGPI) in conjunction with St. Patrick’s University Hospital to boost interest in psychiatry among medical students in our part of the world, we arrived in Dublin to begin our elective placement in the field of Psychiatry at the St. Patrick’s University Hospital. This hospital is world-renowned and the biggest mental health institution in the Republic of Ireland.

Due to the late arrival of our visas, we arrived on Saturday evening … This was to ensure we meet the four-week minimum requirement for an elective study by the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences (UCCSMS) where we are being trained. On arrival, we were picked up by Mr. Abraham Tetteh, a member of AGPI, to the hospital where the receptionist warmly welcomed us. We were housed in a two-bedroom apartment owned by the hospital, which is a walking distance from the hospital.

The multidisciplinary management team which comprised of a psychiatrist, nurse, psychologist, occupational therapist, social worker, speech therapist, language therapist, had one purpose: to ensure the speedy recovery of the patient whiles providing a homely environment.

Our study at St. Patrick's involved a rotation through the four main units of the facility; psychiatry of later life, Special care (Dean Swift), Child and adolescent psychiatry and dual diagnosis units. We both started the rotation at the psychiatry of later life where we were split and placed on two teams run by the consultants Prof. McLoughlin and Dr. Lyon. During this period we partook in ward rounds, multidisciplinary team meeting, electro-convulsive therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy. The focus of this aspect of the rotation was on management of the elderly people with psychiatric conditions. One of the intriguing things we realized was the fact that every decision was taken in consultation with the patients. The patient was always given the necessary information on every treatment modality. The efficacy and side effects of every drug were readily explained to the patient who then decided either to reject or continue with it. The patient’s family was not left out in the care process.

Our second and third rotations were at the Special care and Child and adolescent units respectively. Consultants Dr. O'Ceallaigh and Dr. Folusa respectively were in charge. The special care unit is responsible for the care of patients who have psychotic symptoms. Here we underwent a similar rotation similar to that of the previous unit however here there was another programme running dubbed the psychosis programme. This basically entailed behavioral therapies for patients recovering from psychosis. Some topics treated include sleep deprivation, family dynamics and jumping to conclusion. Our stay at the child and adolescent center also known as the Willow Groove was a very pleasant one. Even though it is located in the premises of the hospital it is an independent unit on its own with its own security coding system. It also houses a recreational center and a school. It is solely for in-patient care and here we discovered two new members to the MDT namely the school teacher and the chef. The school teacher as we were informed is responsible for the education of the child or adolescent whiles on admission so he or she does not loose out at school. Whiles the chef comes in to take care of the food needs of the patient including encouraging them to cook in groups hence promoting teamwork.

The last unit we rotated in was the dual diagnosis unit, which is responsible for management of patients with both psychiatric conditions and an addiction disorders. Here we met Dr. Farren and Dr. O'keefe the consultants in-charge of the unit. The unique aspect of this unit is the recovery programme run for the patient.

Apart from the above-mentioned units, we also had the opportunity of sitting in a case presentation by Dr. Farren's team and an ongoing clinical research presentation on ECT by Prof McLoughlin. At the case presentation meeting, a clinical case was presented to all who were present and then a discussion of the case followed. The people present included every discipline at the hospital irrespective of your job definition.

In conclusion, the elective at St Patrick’s University Hospital surpassed our expectation and comes highly recommended to other Ghanaian medical students. We are grateful to AGPI, the organizers of the programme, the management and staff of St. Patrick's University Hospital our host and the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Sciences. A word of appreciation also goes to Mr. Abraham Tetteh, Mrs. Christine Asiedu-Appiah and Ms. Lynda Twum-Ackah who made our stay lovely. May God richly bless them all.

In the attached picture are (from left to right): Mr. Paul Gilligan, CEO of St Patrick’s University Hospital (SPUH), Mr. Tom Maher, Director of Clinical Services of SPUH, Ms. Christine Asiedu-Appiah, Organizing Secretary of AGPI, Nana Kwadwo Kissi Atefah, medical student, Mr. Andrew Nyantakyi, medical student, Ms. Lynda Twum-Ackah, Interim Chairperson of AGPI, Mr. Torsby Attipoe, Interim Secretary of AGPI and Professor James Lucey, Medical Director of SPUH.

For more information, please contact the AGPI secretariat at or visit

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