• 1/21/2019

BeLA scholarship holder Eva Meisenzahl

The country doctor

She isn't a doctor yet, but she wants to become a country practitioner. Eva Meisenzahl (22) is a student of Medicine at TUM, and she is taking part in the project "Beste Landpartie Allgemeinmedizin" (BeLA). The aim of the program is to ensure that more doctors will practice in rural areas again – as there is a shortage at the moment. Why does Eva want to leave the city behind?

Eva Meisenzahl wants to become a country doctor. The TUM student is a scholarship holder in the BeLA program. (Photo: Maren Willkomm)
Eva Meisenzahl wants to become a country doctor. The TUM student is a scholarship holder in the BeLA program. (Photo: Maren Willkomm)

Eva, most young people are drawn to the city. Not you. You want to become a country doctor. Why?

Recently, a fellow student said that, as a doctor, you have to be where people need you – and I fully agree. I was inspired by the subject of Medicine right from the beginning, and the aspect of being in contact with the patients is really important to me. Personally, I think that the medical profession is much more fulfilling if you can really give the people attention. In a smaller local practice, this can be achieved better than in a clinic where you always have to rush from one patient to the next.

Apparently, the BeLA program was tailored to your needs.

Absolutely. I am totally convinced by the overall package. I am a person who needs structure and likes to follow a plan – and it has everything: The program has a clear structure, the practical year (Praktisches Jahr, PJ) is funded, and the advanced training is already set out. And, of course, the scholarship of 600 Euros per month is a great thing. I was granted this scholarship by committing myself to complete the specialist training in a rural region – and I'll do that with pleasure.

Why did you decide to study Medicine at TUM?

After completing my Physikum in the spring of 2018, I chose TUM because everything can be managed quite flexibly here. I'm able to manage my studies, a part-time job, and my doctoral degree here. I prefer the system of taking all the exams at the end of the semester instead of having them throughout the year. Also, At the Klinikum rechts der Isar, everything is pretty much in one place.

Are you working on your thesis?

In October, I started a clinical doctoral thesis in Urology in the field of urinary tract carcinoma. I spend about ten hours a week on that.

…and you also have a side job that has to do with seniors.

That's right. I work as an assistant at the "Deutsche Seniorenbetreuung" (German Senior Care Center). We provide nurses for 24-hour care. It's primarily an office job, but I see it as a preparation for my future career. I am in contact with many people – usually elderly people, or people whose relatives need help.

You are a student in Munich and can enjoy the advantages of the big city. Are not you scared of moving to the countryside?

On the contrary. I grew up in a rural area and enjoyed life there very much. Therefore, I would be glad to have my center of life in one of the many beautiful places in the countryside. Ideally, I would like to do the practical year in Mühldorf am Inn.

What advantages does it have to be a country doctor?

I admit that I'm a bit concerned about the working hours. As a general practitioner or family doctor, you are almost always on duty. If a patient dies at night, you have to get up and go, as emergency doctors aren't allowed to issue death certificates – and the range of duties is large, especially where there aren't very many doctors. The infrastructure is different. For example, you simply won't have a lab just around the corner. Anyway: In the countryside, patients come to their doctor with all their concerns. Thus, you have to deal with a broad medical spectrum. That excites me.

Is that different in the big city?

The other day, a fellow student said that a general practitioner in Munich is only responsible for attestations and sick leave. Many people go to a specialist directly, and there are lots of them in the big cities. In addition, there is much less fluctuation of patients in the countryside. Ideally, you can be an almost life-long companion for your patients, and develop a personal bond – which I think is quite desirable.

You are studying, have a job, and are working on your thesis. Is there still time for other things?

I used to play the flute, then the saxophone in a big band. Recently, I discovered playing the piano.  Originally, I had started the part-time job in senior care to buy one, and I sit at the piano almost every day. It's a wonderful pastime, ideal to wind down. So as not to disturb the neighbors, I had a Silent System installed.

(Interview: Verena Meinecke)

The BeLA project – initiated by TUM and the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) – involves the southern Bavarian districts of Mühldorf am Inn and Eichstätt/Kösching, the northern Bavarian districts of Forchheim/Ebermannstadt, Kulmbach/Stadtsteinach, Weißenburg/Gunzenhausen, and Scheßlitz/Burgebrach, as well as the training concept "AKADemie Dillingen", which is funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Health, in Dillingen.

More information:
"Placing medical students in small-town practices" (press release)


Technical University of Munich

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