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COVID-19 stole my paediatric elective… but I took it back
  1. Elizabeth Lawson
  1. School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  1. Correspondence to Elizabeth Lawson, School of Medicine, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK; elizabeth.lawson5{at}

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Most doctors recall their elective with warm nostalgia—a brilliant opportunity, often permitting travel to practise medicine within the context of another culture. While medical curricula vary, this compulsory General Medical Council module is a unifying highlight.

During clinical placements, doctors would often ask if I had planned my elective. This popular conversation topic offered a mutually welcomed respite from clinical questioning. Although all the causes of hyponatraemia do not permanently reside on the tip of my tongue, for this question I always knew the answer. I would reply with excitement that I was going to Uganda to study paediatrics, followed by travelling to climb Mount Kenya and watch the wildebeest migration at the Masai Mara game reserve. The consultant, registrar and foundation doctor would then eagerly await their turn to share anecdotes. While I am sure doctors exist who do not recall their elective fondly, unsurprisingly these are not the ones to enquire about mine. So, without fail, every doctor who asked about my elective has emphasised how much I will learn from the medical exposure and life experiences, and advised me to capitalise on …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.