Ballamokshira Sai Teja receiving his white coat from Associate Dean, Dr. Syed Kazmi. (Photo courtesy of E.Walker/MRD)

Producing students not only with strong medical skills, but with critical thinking skills, is a goal of The American University of Barbados (AUB) School of Medicine.

This was emphasised last Friday by Dean of Clinical Sciences at the AUB, Dr. Sam Suhail, as he spoke during AUB’s 2017 White Coat Ceremony at the school’s headquarters in Wildey.

It was an event which saw students who have satisfied the requirements to embark on studies for their medical careers being presented with their white coats.  And, Dr. Suhail said one of the AUB’s long-term strategic plans was to develop clinical simulation rooms to support the development of critical thinking skills and to help students learn very early how to relate to their patients. He added they were working on a framework to support the standing of their medical students.

Students heard too that it was important for them to think critically about patient management, patient diagnosis, and the relationship between them and their patients. Dr. Suhail said this was not something only AUB was doing but it was the focus of many medical schools over the last decade.

“This is a noble profession and you as graduates of the White Coat Ceremony need to carry the nobility with you. Beyond the finite description of what it is to be a physician, lies an infinite magnitude of possibilities for realising the improvement to the human condition.

“What the patient seeks goes much beyond what the white coat represents. Through the touch of human compassion and the breath of unfolding optimism and hope, your actions and your responsibilities become the compass for improving not just the physical body mechanisms but the human spirit,” he advised.

The Dean noted that many student doctors have the knowledge, can recall the information, diagnostic procedures, or clinical procedures but lack that “metaphysical connection” necessary between patient and physician.

“That has to be initiated by you; that cannot be initiated by the patient,” he concluded.

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