Tuesday, July 21, 2009

something's changed

i've noticed an interesting change in attitude among students in my university.

when we first started out as medical students, we had two hour-long lectures a day and after that we were pretty much left to our own devices. oh sure there were the occasional clinical skills sessions and problem-based learning classes, but most of the time we were expected to spend the day reading the 4-page lecture notes we were assigned and maybe do some research for presentations. the majority of us, however, either hung out at midvalley or went home.

during allocation of topics for the clinical vignettes we discussed during problem-based learning classes, we would scramble for the "easy" topics - epidemiology, anatomy, aetiology - labeled as such due to the brainless copy-and-paste involved in the presentations. there was no need to understand the pathophysiology in order to explain it to the rest of the class. there was no need to talk about investigations and the expected findings. those topics were a quick browse through emedicine and just picking out the salient points to insert into powerpoint slides. easy peasy.

as the years went by, we found ourselves in clinical school. we are now pressed for time and under alot of pressure to perform. we still have clinical skills sessions and task-based learning classes, but gone are the 2-hour lectures and lecture notes. hello case presentations and reports.

despite the heavier workload, we no longer look for short-cuts or scramble for no-brainer topics to present during seminars. in fact, we volunteer to clerk and present cases and hence put ourselves in the frontline for direct firing courtesy of our lecturers. we inch our way to the front of the line in order to examine patients. we hope and pray that we'll be allocated difficult topics so we'd be forced to understand the diseases well enough to explain them to our peers.

something changed along the way.

i'm not completely sure that it's because we have matured as medical students trainee doctors. perhaps this change can be attributed to the fact that if we didn't present the tough topics or take every opportunity to present cases in the wards, we'd be pretty much screwed during our professional exams. or maybe presenting the main diseases saves us study time since we'd be killing two birds with one stone.

whatever the reason is, the fact remains that we're not the same people we used to be. our knowledge may still be regarded as mediocre by our lecturers, but our attitudes are no longer that of first-years, freshies who are more concerned about having free time for dota or movies than learning what is necessary in order to be deemed a safe doctor.

i'm glad that we've evolved. to remain stagnant would be disastrous.

we also dread cancelled classes (unless it's a friday) because it means less exposure and more sien-ness.

for instance, my lecturer did not show up at clinics this morning and the hospital staff were instructed not to teach because it would delay their consultations. simply observing during clinics is pretty much a waste of time. then, the class we're supposed to have tomorrow evening was postponed to thursday. since it's surgery day for the department and i've already gone to the theatre and seen 3 surgeries last week, it means we have an extended 'holiday'. i drove all the way down to seremban at 615am for NOTHING. =(

i came home. might as well spend some time with my niece and sleep in my own bed for the next day and a half. just feel that it was a waste of a good clinic session this morning. sigh.

lishun at 10:48 AM