GoAbroad Interview

Andrea Plavcanikova - Program Assistant

Andrea Plavcanikova - Program Assistant

Coming to the CHP Program Team with plenty of travel adventures under her belt, Andrea understands students on a deeper level and knows just how to settle their worries. In her role as program assistant, she not only assists incoming students, she also manages CHP Program’s social media channels and contributes to various content strategies. Andrea always enjoys sharing her inspiration with students as well as with her colleagues. Outside of the office, her favorite things include art, music, cats, running, and being around her friends.

What is your role at the Czech Hospital Placements Program like?

I love to be in daily contact with young people from all over the world who are doing their best to reach their career goals. Every single student who joins Czech Hospital Placements Program to shadow their assigned mentors has a different story, and it is motivating to see their determination to become a healthcare professional.

As I personally had been living in the UK for a while, I know how important that experience was for me. One doesn’t know how independent you can become until living on your own abroad. Working with students from around the globe creates a kind of international atmosphere, so you are halfway in your home country and halfway abroad, which is cool.

I am also currently studying marketing and media, so I appreciate the possibility to apply my theoretical knowledge even in work when preparing creative materials for CHP Program.

How did you decide to join the CHP Program team?

I decided to join the CHP Program when Barbora, the program manager, offered me the job. I used to work with her in different projects, and I knew that her own study program was something very special, and I was not wrong. Students love her, as she is a friendly, motivating, hardworking, and a trustful person, always making her best to meet preferences of future healthcare professionals. Afterall, a friendly atmosphere is one of the key factors for feeling satisfied in your job!

What are your main responsibilities?

I am here to put together enjoyable content for social media and arrange leisure time activities outside of the hospital to make sure that students make the most of Prague – a beautiful medieval city and the heart of Europe. My colleagues and I always do our best to make students feel at home during their stay in Prague, so when there are any issues, I am ready to help with fixing them.

I am also one of the travel coordinators, so I am sometimes the first CHP team member students meet in the airport hall. I tell students, come explore Prague with me, I will take you around the city and show you my favorite places you might love too. Talking to students also gives me inspiration for creating social media content – what can be a better source than real students’ stories?

What is one of the most important things students should know about the CHP Program before applying?

Our program is conceived as a professional service to doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, and paramedics-to-be. We put an emphasis on deep clinical insight into the future jobs of students as healthcare professions. Therefore, lots of our students are applying or already studying on the most prestigious world universities.

What makes the CHP Program unique among other shadowing opportunities in your opinion?

With CHP Program, the students are choosing the department themselves on the basis of very detailed information about each of them. That is a great advantage, and also the perfect choice for students who are not sure about their desired specialty yet. We realize that the specialties differ a lot from each other, and someone who is interested in neurosurgery would maybe not appreciate a placement is ER and vice versa.

The Czech Republic is also often ranked among the most safe countries is Europe, which also plays a role when students are choosing a destination for international shadowing experience.

Why do students choose the CHP Program? What do alumni appreciate most?

One reason students choose us is the possibility to see their mentoring teams in advance on our website. That is the way they can identify themselves with mentors, and it can help with choosing the right placement. We think that preparation is a key to success, that is why we have put together the exclusive study materials related to each specialty. Because of that advantage, students are able to come to their placement with a solid knowledge base and understand the cases they are observing. These materials have been created in the cooperation with our mentors, so we are preparing students for the working experience according to the required level, and so they are able to gain the maximum amount of experience from it.

What I have heard from our alumni students, is that they were happy with the level of detailed information they received even before they applied as well as during their application process. You can feel it from the way we communicate the CHP Program, our mentors and specialties, and share stories of the mentors, videos, Instagram posts, etc.

If you were a CHP Student, what specialty would you choose?

I would love to go on a gynecology and obstetrics placement with the CHP Program to be the witness of the moment when a new life is born. I think it is so intimate and magical that I am always grateful that our students can be the part of the medical and midwifery teams in this specialized center. As I spoke with our mentors who are obstetricians, also for them this moment will always be the most beautiful one of all in medicine.

What advice do you have for anyone considering a placement with CHP Program?

Don't wait for a better moment, just try it yourself now. The sooner you find out which field or specialty suits you the best, the faster you can improve yourself in it. From the point of view of a young person, I also see the benefit in the traveling experience, as Prague is a wonderful city. Maybe you will make friends who will later study at the same university or work in the same hospital as you; take that chance!

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

As our students are usually placed in different departments every week, each Monday we hear a lot of stories students share. Even though I am more into marketing than medicine, it is always exciting to hear about the specific patient cases students have observed that day.

For me it is also nice to be in contact with our mentors; these people are incredible professionals who guide our students through their day to day job tasks. I have also visited the departments where our students are placed – it was an unforgettable experience to witness the real neurosurgery and to meet the patients.

Another amazing thing is to compare a student who joins us, and the same person who leaves, to see the progress he or she did just in couple of weeks and how he or she thinks about the healthcare field later on.

Do you have any favorite memories from your time with the CHP Program?

My favourite moments are when it is someone's birthday – we celebrate it all together with other CHP students. For some of our students, it can be a bit emotional that they are not spending their birthday with family and friends, so we try to make them feel at home as possible. It is impressive to watch the CHP students who didn’t know each other couple of days ago, because of how familiar they get in a short while. I remember the birthday of one boy, we had secretly learned to sing his favorite song with other students, made a cake for him, and then we surprised him by playing guitar, dancing, and singing karaoke. It was one of the best parties I have ever been to!

The most heartwarming part of it all is when we receive thank you note from a student about how thankful he or she is to have found the CHP Program and that medicine/nursing/midwifery/physical therapy/paramedicine is something they really want to do in their life.

Last, but not least, my colleagues are also great open minded people and I enjoy learning from them.