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Cornell Stars help students develop skills

The children, parents, faculty and staff members who helped make this year's event such a success.
The children, parents, faculty and staff members who helped make this year's event such a success.

Trainee doctors discovered the trials and tribulations of examining young children as they took part in Cornell Stars, part of the Introductory Clerkship program.

The program is held every year and offers students the chance to get used to dealing with young children in a clinical environment. All of the young ‘patients’ are children of WCM-Q faculty and staff, who volunteer their services.

This year 42 2nd year medical students participated, observing senior pediatricians from WCM-Q, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Sidra Medical and Research Center.
The aim of the program, which was held in the Clinical Skills Center, is not only to help the students become technically proficient, but also to let them develop the interpersonal skills needed to keep young patients calm and happy during a check-up. In addition, it helps the child to comply and cooperate when being examined so they are more relaxed during future visits to the doctor.

Dr. Amal Khidir, associate professor of pediatrics, coordinates the Cornell Stars program. Dr. Khidir said:

“Examining and diagnosing children is a very different process from that of an adult. Very young children are often unable to tell you what is wrong, so physicians must rely far more on observation to diagnose the problem.

Learning these skills is vital, but so is the interpersonal relationship that you have with the child; you must be able to evaluate and assess their mood and personality because both of these factors may mean that you adjust your approach."

The Cornell Stars program is so important to the development of our students as fully-rounded doctors, and once again I would like to thank all of the parents and children who took part for their valuable support, as well as our colleagues for sharing their time and experience: Dr. Barbara Blackie from Sidra, and HMC’s Dr. Amira Mustafa, Dr. Manasik Hassan, Dr. Lukman Abdurrahim, Dr. Amal Haidar, along with WCM-Q’s Dr. Marcellina Mian.

The Cornell Stars event comes as the students prepare for clinical rotations at HMC.

Sara Hassen was one of those who took part and said that at first it was a nerve-wracking situation. She said:

“It was intimidating but a good experience to have before heading off to HMC. The first child we saw was just one-year-old and the second child was three. The three-year-old was much easier to examine, as they were able to follow instructions.

You definitely need to be more observant with children as you can’t get what you need from communication; you need to be really sharp and notice things.”

Classmate Imen Becetti also took part in Cornell Stars and as, she is interested in pursuing a residency in pediatrics, it was an opportunity for her to learn more about the different creative techniques that pediatricians use to get the information they need of a pediatrician. Imen said:

“It was really exciting. I’m personally interested in pediatrics so I wanted to see how I would interact with children in a professional setting and how I would go about the different medical procedures.

It was difficult at first but with the help of Dr. Marcellina Mian it went smoothly and she showed us tricks that help with carrying out the various examinations we wanted to do.

Working with children is definitely more fun than examining adults.”