UKZN’s Medical Students Prepare to Exit UKZN
‘The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today’s job well,’ said Professor Richard Hift, Dean of the School of Clinical Medicine in his message to the final year Medical class as they prepared to leave UKZN after completing their studies. Hift welcomed the audience of around 130 final year students during their Exit Orientation programme, co-ordinated by the College of Health Sciences Student Support Services.
‘Doctors need to be responsible at all times as the repercussions for irresponsible behaviour in their practice has dire repercussions,’ emphasised Hift. He also interrogated the Canmed values so that each student understood their role in applying medical knowledge, clinical skills, and professional values that were of a high-quality, ensuring safe patient-centred care.
Ms Suzanne Stokes, student counsellor, illustrated to the students through a range of videos the lives of doctors in the workplace and the challenges they face. Final year class representative, Ms Asanda Xozwa, stated that the one aspect students are never adequately prepared for is dealing with the death of a patient.
‘Doctors should receive counselling during these times which will help them cope with a patient’s death,’ Xoxwa said. ‘Death invokes feelings of loss and bereavement when a patient dies and the event may also evoke feelings of guilt or anger - you may feel that you, or others, could have done more to help the patient during their final illness. Whereas relatives of the deceased are allowed to grieve, as a Medical student, you feel you have no “permission” to express your emotions.’
Addressing the students on professional attire, image and grooming was student counsellor Ms Wullie Thaver. Thaver, through a thought-provoking presentation, used imagery to reveal the appropriate professional attire that should be adopted within the clinical environments. She also stressed the importance that a patient’s safety should always take priority over fashion trends and “hip” behaviour.
‘Medical doctors, like every professional person, has under 10 seconds to make an impression which will last a lifetime. First impressions matter when you want to build trust between you as the professional and your patient,’ said Thaver.
The final year class had mixed emotions about leaving UKZN. The majority were anxious about upcoming examinations whilst others enjoyed seeing each other after months of separation spent at various clinical sites in the province. Reminiscing about their time at UKZN, the students echoed the parting words of their Dean: ‘The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.’