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Students experience the life of a doctor

WCM-Q faculty with members of the foundation and pre-medical classes who participated in the Observership Program.
WCM-Q faculty with members of the foundation and pre-medical classes who participated in the Observership Program.

Pre-medical and foundation students at WCM-Q have learned about the realities of a career in medicine after shadowing doctors at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).

The annual HMC Observership program allows students of Weil Cornell Medicine – Qatar’s foundation program and pre-medical curriculum the opportunity to spend a week in one of nine departments at HMC, including emergency medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, internal medicine and psychiatry. The students are able to accompany doctors on their patient rounds, participate in morning conferences, and watch surgeons in the operating theater.

Dr. Rachid Bendriss, assistant dean for student recruitment, outreach and foundation programs, said the goal was to expose students not yet learning the medical curriculum to the healthcare system.

Dr. Bendriss said the program allows them to learn about the daily routine of physicians, become familiar with the various medical specialties open to them, and reflect on their experiences at HMC.

Dr. Bendriss said: “The HMC Observership program is a very valuable learning experience for the pre-medical and foundation students, as it allows them a greater insight into the day-to-day life of a physician and what their working life will be like when they graduate. It also allows the students to begin forming ideas about the direction they would like their career to take, and challenges preconceptions they may have about certain specialties.

"In addition, they also learn about the importance of teamwork and the value of strong and clear communication. It really is a very important program and I would like to thank the leadership of HMC and the doctors and nurses at Hamad Hospital who help facilitate the program and give so much of their time and experience to our future doctors."

This year, 56 WCM-Q students participated in the scheme during the college’s winter break.

Pre-medical 1 student Sumaya Maraghi, was one of them. She chose to spend time in HMC’s Department of Pediatrics.

She said: "It was interesting. It changed my perception of pediatrics, which I thought was just dealing with children and fairly simple diseases. But there are a lot of facets to it and the children can’t always tell you what’s wrong or where it hurts, so it’s the doctor’s job to work it out and find the problem. I thought it as very challenging and an amazing field to work in.

"I was lucky enough to be part of a very helpful and cooperative team who really showed me what the specialty involves. They had such great communication with each other and really discussed the cases, they were amazing, I wanted to continue working with them."

For Noor Al-Nassr, who is on WCM-Q’s foundation program, it was her second experience of participating in the observership program. This time she chose to shadow physicians in the Surgical Department.

She said: “I have shadowed doctors that work in pediatrics but I wanted to see what happens behind the scenes. I’ve seen patients after an operation so it was good to see what happens in the operating theatre and how the doctors communicate and help the patient.

"I’m still interested in pediatrics, particularly pediatric cardiology because I love kids and it’s fun. It’s more informal than treating adults, you can play around with them and it has a lot to do with child psychology as well as you have to calm them down first.

"It was great overall. It made me focus on the patient-doctor relationship and interaction. I also attended outpatient clinics and participated in the grand rounds where they discuss the cases."

Nasser Al-Kuwari, who also visited Surgical Department, summed the experience up.

He said: "It was an exciting experience and interesting to see how the doctors communicate with different patients, particularly those who do not speak Arabic.

"The experience showed me what it feels like to be a doctor."