Bright Malaysian students don’t all have to be doctors

GOOD grades aren’t always the hallmark of a good medical doctor. If anything, it takes true commitment and a whole lot of grit.

Prospective students, said experts, need to be evaluated accordingly before entry into medical schools.

Doing so will ensure that only quality medical graduates make it into our healthcare system.

A screening system could also help students identify other career options within the medical field, as not everyone is cut out to be a doctor.

Prof Dr Ian Martin Symonds, who is International Medical University School of Medicine dean, said doctors are just one of the teams in the medical profession that deliver patient care.

“Increasingly, roles once played only by doctors are being carried out by nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and many others.

“Medical laboratory staff and medical researchers also play a critical role in service delivery and developing new treatments, respectively.“If students want a career that is focused on helping other people, they must realise that medicine is not the only way they can do this,” he told StarEdu.

Assoc Prof Dr Ganesh Ramachandran, head of Taylor’s University School of Medicine, noted that it’s hard to convince high-performing students to pursue other healthcare career options, which range from nurses to medical assistants.

“It is difficult to tell a student applying for medicine to consider the other alternatives as those who apply for medicine are high-fliers, academically speaking,” he said, adding that it’s time for other vocations within the healthcare system to be afforded the kind of recognition given to doctors.

Public and professional perceptions must change, he said.

Prof Dr Lai Nai Ming, director of clinical campus at Taylor’s University School of Medicine, said students should familiarise themselves with other healthcare professions that are available and equally important.

“Students should be aware of the personal satisfaction that comes with the many different healthcare roles, as well as the demands on their daily life before deciding on what course to pursue.

“Prestige, remuneration and the quality of life associated with each of these roles may influence your choice but ultimately, the decision should rest with the kind of life you desire to lead,” he advised.

Malaysian Medical Association president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said the multitude of positions within healthcare all play an important role of giving care to patients.

“A student who is interested in healthcare should know the different levels of commitment that is needed in the various roles.

“A career in nursing is also a demanding career. But what’s important is the passion.

“Can you see yourself being in that profession for 30 years? The career you choose should be the one that you are most passionate about,” he said.

Dr Muruga asked students to consider what would give them the most satisfaction in life.

“It must be something you are happy with doing every day when you wake up in the morning.

“If you enjoy your work, even the work stress won’t get you down,” he concluded.

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