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WCM-Q’s foundation students’ journey to physicianship through experiential learning at Sidra

Ahmad Altamimi presents his research poster.
Ahmad Altamimi presents his research poster.

Students from Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar’s Foundation Program presented research posters of their experiences observing doctors and other healthcare professionals at work.

As part of the English course curriculum taught by Dr. Rachid Bendriss, this experiential learning initiative involved students from the Foundation Program shadowing doctors at Sidra Medicine and watching how they interact with patients, each other and colleagues from other medical disciplines. The aim is to give students a greater understanding of what it means to be a doctor and the attributes that are required, aside from an academic understanding of diagnosis, disease, drugs and therapies.

Each student, the majority of whom are Qatari, chose one of five themes to concentrate on: Teamwork, leadership, empathy, emotional intelligence and professionalism. Throughout the semester, students explored and reflected on these themes in research literature, engaged in face-to-face and online discussions, and visited SIDRA Medicine to observe physicians at work. They then produced a research poster using a multimodal approach based on a literature review, their observations, an inquiry graphics analysis, and their inferences.

Khalid Alsabbagh opted to focus on teamwork and leadership and was assigned to shadow doctors and other medical professionals in the Department of General Surgery at Sidra Medicine. The title of his study was ‘Interdisciplinary Teamwork in the Medical Field’

Khalid said: “I worked on the idea of observing teamwork in the medical sector and examining how it benefits patients’ health, outcomes and satisfaction. My conclusion was that teamwork, and most importantly multidisciplinary teamwork, in the medical field is crucial in improving patient health outcomes and satisfaction. I also observed that a medical team has no hierarchy; everyone works as one team, there is no leader, everyone takes responsibility both for themselves and others.”

Latifa Mahmoud was assigned to the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sidra Medicine to examine professionalism in the medical profession.

She said that through her observership, she had seen and come to understand that there is no exclusive characterization of professionalism. Rather, the trait manifests itself in various ways depending on the doctor and the circumstances of the patient.

Latifa said: “I noticed that professionalism does not have a single, unique definition. Each doctor demonstrates professionalism in different ways. One doctor may show it in the language they use with a patient, another doctor may show it in the way they explain and then perform procedures on patients.”

Latifa Mahmoud discusses her experiences in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sidra Medicine.

Dr. Rachid Bendriss, assistant dean for student recruitment, outreach and foundation programs, said it had been a valuable learning experience and that the five themes chosen were central to excellence in healthcare.

Dr. Bendriss said: “Foundation students already have the opportunity to participate in the Clinical Observership Program where they can experience what being a doctor involves, but this experiential learning initiative encourages them to take a critical and specific approach, allowing them to focus on attributes of healthcare professionals that are outside of the traditional medical curriculum.

“The posters today were of a very high standard and a lot of thought had obviously gone into them, demonstrating that the students have appreciated that being a good doctor takes a lot more than simply passing exams.”

The initiative was supported by WCM-Q’s Distributed Library, Office of Alumni Affairs, and Undergraduate Medical Education at Sidra Medicine.

 Dr. Rachid Bendriss with WCM-Q's foundation students.