2019年05月09日

Doctor’s Profile: Florian Urach

Today we would like to start a new section on our website to discuss topics important to professionals who use medical English or would like to use medical English in their careers.  Our first column is a short interview to introduce our columnist, Dr. Florian Urach.  Dr. Urach is a graduate of the Medical University of Vienna and is a board certified doctor of Internal Medicine in Europe.  He is currently living and working in Tokyo and a member of our team.  He will write regular posts about medicine, language and new discoveries. 

Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I am from Vienna, Austria.

Q: What first made you want to become a doctor?

A: For me there were three main points that led me to study medicine:

  1. I always loved helping and supporting other people. Giving advice and reminding people to play more sports and eat healthily were some of my specialties.
  2. Medicine itself is a very interesting and fascinating field to me. 
  3. I liked the aspect of freedom of choice of what to do after graduation. Medicine has such a wide spectrum. It goes from being a scientist; working in the pharmacy; then over to all the various specializations in the hospital.

Q: When and why did you come to Japan?

A: I moved to Japan in June 2017, to get my medical license.  I had visited Japan once before in 2015 and did a 9-month internship. During that time I came to like the country and its culture and decided to come back and take the national medical license test.

Q: What has been your experience with the medical system here in Japan?

A: I was at Kyourin University Hospital for 8 months and Saiseikai Central Hospital for another month. I rotated through different departments like orthopedics, emergency care and cardiology. I am also currently employed at a private clinic. This gives me some insight to both the private as well as public medical institutions and their workings in Japan.

Q: What are the main differences between the way medicine is practiced here and how it is practiced in your home country?

A: As the medical system in Japan was built on the German system, the basics are still pretty much the same. While there are still a few German words used nowadays like カルテ; many other words were changed into English over the time. The medicine, treatments, diagnostics and operations are very similar only with a few slight differences here and there. 

Q: What are the recommendations for studying medical English?

A: One of the fundamentals of medicine is a good doctor patient relationship. We need to be able to talk with the patient and understand their problems and needs. Therefore, medical English should be based on a solid English language foundation. From there, we need to get used to a lot of specific medical vocabulary. As always for vocabulary, repeating it until memorized is important. Then using the learned vocabulary through conversation practice, such as clinical English role plays, is recommended.

Q: What is a good routine to follow?

A: A good routine for studying languages in general and medical English in particular is to always surround yourself in the target language. For example, from now on when you learn about a new disease, or new drug, search for it in English. Read scientific reports in English, and seek to work with English patients.

Studying vocabulary and set phrases at home in addition to practicing what is learned in class is another good way. Classes give you a guidance as to what best to learn and practice at home.  They also ensure that while progressing, you study the correct usage and don`t fall into bad habits (wrong pronunciation or mistaking the meaning of words) which in the end leads to more confidence.

Q: What do you see for the future of medical practice in Japan and the world?

A: I think “tele-diagnosis” will be a big part of medical practice in the future.  This will mean examination and diagnosis over the internet, or through a phone app.   More and more patients will want to avoid the challenges of going to a hospital and waiting around for a long time.  These apps are a way to avoid those hassles.

With this trend in mind, clinical English ability becomes even more important as patients might contact you from anywhere around the world.