More than 160 students at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – Medical University of Bahrain (RCSI Bahrain) celebrated their transition to clinical training during the annual White Coat Ceremony at the Busaiteen campus.
Regarded as a seminal moment in the course of medical training and future careers, the ceremony is a symbolic event based around the presentation of the students’ white coats and takes place in the Intermediate Cycle stage.
Yesterday’s event featured an address by RCSI Bahrain’s Head of Surgery, Professor Martin Corbally, who highlighted the significance of wearing the white coat and the responsibility associated with it.
Guest speakers on the occasion were Shaikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa Cardiac Centre Paediatric Cardiologist, Dr Neale Kalis and final year medical student, Ali Marzuk.
The ceremony concluded with the students’ recital of the professional declaration, through which they vowed to maintain professional attitudes and behaviours in work and relationships with classmates, teachers, patients and the community.
The Health Research Board have announced this year’s recipients of the HRB Summer Student Scholarships. Nine UCC medical students were awarded Summer scholarships.
To put this achievement in context, this year the HRB received 141 applications and 42 awards were made, giving a success rate of just under 30%. UCC received 12 of those awards.
This means that UCC medical students made up 75% of the UCC awardees and just over 21% of the total number of awards given out nationally. Please note that this scheme is open to all medical schools, other clinical sciences, in addition to biomedical sciences departments across all the HEIs in Ireland.
The School of Medicine would like to congratulate and thank Drs. Colm O Tuathaigh and Eileen Duggan for their ongoing success in promoting research among our students, as well as the community of clinical research supervisors based in the Cork teaching hospitals. The figures above reflect the importance the School puts on nurturing our students’ research.
My common-sense approach and laid-back Irish attitude are among my greatest medical strengths,” Dr Jennifer Whelan says in her soft brogue. “At least, everybody seems to like it. No matter what the problem, have a cuppa tea. Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”
Dr Whelan always thought she was destined to be an emergency department physician. After graduating from medical school in Dublin and completing her intern year in Ireland, she completed a 6-month rotation at a large tertiary trauma centre in Brisbane, Australia. There, she dealt with all kinds of exotic emergencies, from jellyfish stings to poisonous snake bites, in addition to the more mundane breaks, contusions, and cuts. “We had a whole row of dangerous creatures in jars lined up in the ER,” she laughs. “But curiosity really killed my career in emergency medicine. I kept wondering what happened to this patient, or how is that one doing now?”
So she and her family physician husband, Patrick, a former rugby player at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont, applied as a couple for the Queen’s residency program in family medicine back in 2006. Today, her primary practice is with the nearby Belleville Queen’s Family Health Team, but 2 days a week she works at a community health centre providing continuity of care for “some of the most complex and vulnerable patients in society.”
Family medicine is all about continuity, especially in a tight-knit community like Belleville. “I love living here. I run into my patients on, literally, a daily basis,” Dr Whelan says. “Just this afternoon at the market, I bumped into a woman with a new baby I’m scheduled to see for the first time next week. We also talked about her husband, a patient who’s also a chef at one of our favourite restaurants.”
While Dr Whelan, her husband and 2 young girls have put down deep roots in Belleville, they still get back to Ireland a couple of times a year. Her oldest daughter, 7-year-old Emily, has been 21 times, while her little sister, 4-year-old Isabella, has already visited 12 times.
Despite the repeat visits and the Irish dancing lessons and the favourite Irish television shows they screen online, “the kids are really growing up as Canadians,” Dr Whelan says. “I’m trying to fully embrace the Canadian lifestyle too. I’m learning to ski and I have my first skating lesson set for next week.” But don’t worry. Afterward, back at home nursing those inevitable bruises and aching ankles, she’ll have a cuppa tea and everything will be just fine.
Dr Whelan is a family doctor in Belleville, Ont, practising in an academic community-based practice and a community health centre.
THE COVER PROJECTCanadian Family Physician has embarked on a project to assemble the portrait of family medicine in Canada. Each cover of the journal features a family physician chosen at random from our membership list, along with a short essay—a brief glimpse of the person and the practice. Over time, the randomness will become representative and the differences, taken together, will define what it is that all family physicians have in common.
Canadian Family Physician, November 2015 vol. 61 no. 11 995-997
Students who take a post- graduate approach to studying medicine have the edge over those who enter straight from school, according to new research from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).
The findings emerge as a debate rages about the pressure on Leaving Cert students to score high points in order to be in with a chance of getting a place on prestige courses.
There has also been controversy about how colleges deliberately limit places in order to drive points up.
Higher Education Authority (HEA) chief executive Tom Boland said it was important that colleges publish the number of places available on courses and the number of offers made, and of greater importance was that there were more broader entry routes.
While there is transparency about the places available in medicine, the fevered competition among CAO applicants for medical schools has pushed points requirements to the limits.
The RCSI research involved comparing students on its undergraduate and graduate entry medicine programmes. Graduate entry students do not come straight from school, arriving instead from a range of backgrounds having done another degree first – perhaps law, Irish or English.
The research found graduate entry students performed at least as well, even though they do their medical course over four years rather than five or six.
And, in what may come as a surprise, graduate entry students with non-science backgrounds do as well as those who come with a science-related degree.
It is, however, a costly route, because on top of funding an undergraduate degree, entrants pay about €16,000 a year for each of the four years of the programme.
Commenting on the findings, Prof Seamus Sreenan, the RCSI’s director of Gradate Entry Medicine, said graduate entry medicine students in their final two years did “slightly better in assessment” than undergraduate students at the same stage, despite the shorter duration of the course.
He said the study found that “having a scientific background at time of entry to graduate entry medicine confers no significant advantage in the final clinical assessments”.
Prof Sreenan said the typical age of their graduate students was 25, though some were older.
He said graduate entry created greater diversity among students, and students were generally older and more mature.
“We believe this creates a richer mix of experience in the students graduating and ultimately working in our hospitals,” he said.
It is the first time in Ireland that there has been objective analysis of the performance of graduate entry and undergrad- uate entry medical students.
As well as the RCSI, a number of universities run graduate medicine programmes that are open to candidates who hold a minimum 2:1 honours degree in any discipline and attain a certain standard in an aptitude test known as Gamsat.
The pressure on Leaving Cert students to achieve high points for entry to undergraduate medicine was one of the reasons for a significant expansion of graduate entry medicine programmes.
Between 2008 and 2010, the number of places at graduate level more than doubled to 240, compared with about 470 in undergraduate courses. The competition for places is less pressurised than through the CAO.
The RCSI research, carried out between 2008 and 2013, has been published in leading journal BMC Medical Education.