There is this infamous notion that “Experience is the best teacher”. This is very true only when one has no access to older colleagues whom they could learn from their experience. The student doctor forum is very essential especially when older and experienced doctors are involved.
If the major goal of a teacher is to guide one into living a perfect life, then why would the best teacher come from letting you pass through something it should help you prevent? Medical students can avoid some career mistakes especially in the early stage of graduation from Medical schools through Student Doctor Forum.
I am always being told by a mentor if they can learn to communicate more with doctors who definitely are more experienced in the career.
“Other People’s Experience is the Best Teacher”
Organizing a Student Doctor Forum
The dream of every student is to be confident enough to face their teachers and colleagues, answer questions in class, in oral exams, and so on. But it is quite unfortunate that Medical students may not find such time, and a neutral environment to interact well with their teachers who are mostly doctors.
I have been wondering if something like a Student Doctor Forum can be incorporated in Medical schools especially in Nigeria.
A Student Doctor Forum is level ground for discussion on the side of medical students. Student Doctor Forum is a platform where doctors especially those who train medical students interact freely with the medical students they teach with zero bias.
The focus of such discussions could be on anything related to lifestyles as medical students, health practice, innovation in health care, favorable teaching practices, etc. The major goal is that there is a neutral playing ground for both medical students their older colleagues.
Why the Lecture Hall Won’t Serve this Purpose
One may ask why lecture halls will not serve the purpose. The answer is that it is not neutral ground. The atmosphere in the lecture halls is usually intense and serious with little time for diversions to topics unrelated to the subject at hand.
Although some doctors are very creative at finding ways of interacting with the medical students in lifestyle issues even in a lecture hall. But what if there is something more? Like a separate day in a week, dedicated to such interaction between medical students and doctors.
Some voluntary organizations like religious groups within the medical school may include such in their activities, but this does not offer a level playing ground for all students, because other medical students who may not be members of such organizations may not benefit from such.
Why Organize Student Doctor Forum?
1. It Boosts Student’s Confidence
Medical students are known to be very smart people. But in a situation where older doctors are seen as gods, it rarely does much for a student who just wants to learn.
Apart from gaining more experience, if medical students interact freely with doctors, it also boosts their confidence as a person. Also, it helps to demystify some misconceptions about the medical profession.
Impostor syndrome is one factor that hinders the performance of medical students in exams like the viva. But a doctor-medical student forum can offer an opportunity for students to gain confidence by expressing themselves freely before lecturers and fellow colleagues.
Also, it will help medical students to face the fears associated with passing through medical school after hearing similar experiences from older colleagues who passed through similar hurdles.
In general, i believe it will make them better doctors when they graduate.
2. It Fosters Love and Passion for the Health Profession
Listening to stories about how older colleagues and doctors heroically cured diseases in patients is one of the greatest motivators of medical students.
A typical example of such stories is contained in the autobiography of Dr. Benjamin Carson. (The reason why many students since the past two decades have chosen to enter the health profession). Such stories are important in building love and passion for the health profession. Imagine if as a medical student, you hear it daily from an older colleague you can see and feel their presence physically.
3. Students can Discover their Specialties from Such Forums
You may have heard a number of older colleagues say that they became neurologists because of Dr. Ben. Carson, or a Radiologist, because they like how that other lecturer speaks and dresses, and so on. This is what a student-doctor forum does. It mentors medical students into whom they would be in the future as they relate their future lives with the experiences shared by older doctors.
4. It Boosts Student-Teacher Relationship
Another infamous notion held by most medical students is that lecturers are unapproachable. And the truth remains that students will continue to have this notion until something serious is done about it. And it will continue to affect their performance both as students and doctors.
Many medical students are passing through some challenges that are beyond the lecture hall which could only be solved by an older colleague. Imagine the trauma that comes from doing poorly in any of the tests in the 2nd medical profession class (2nd MBBS) or the 3rd MBBS.
Such could be reduced if a Student Doctor Forum is organized between the students who wrote the test and their lecturers to find out the factors that could have caused the poor performance and ways of improvement.
The same goes for all other classes.
5. Forums Create an Opportunity for Innovation
Many medical students are very creative, and if given the opportunity, could find innovative ways of promoting the healthcare sector. A good way of tapping into such potentials of medical students is by encouraging them to interact freely in a doctor-student forum.
6. It Could Increase the Success Rate of Medical Students
This does not just mean exam pass rates, but also their success when they graduate as medical doctors. Doctor-student forums help to expose students to career opportunities in the health profession. Examples include scholarship positions, practice abroad, etc.
One factor that could militate against setting up Student Doctor Forum is time. Medical students are notorious for having little time to spare for other activities not related to the lecture rooms. But the psychological effect of well-organized interaction between doctors and medical students is enough to motivate them throughout their whole medical careers.
The list of benefits from such is endless, but with these, every medical school should start thinking of adopting it in their curriculum as part of the training given to medical students.