If you are a fourth year medical student in Pakistan, then you need to read this

Butool Fatima Jul 07 2015

For every medical student, the fourth year of their degree is crucial for them. Why? Because it is the last session before the almighty final year begins; this means that it is the last year that they can truly enjoy some iota of relaxation, before all hell breaks loose.

Another reason why this year is crucial is because medical students are supposed choose their topics for the research program that is offered in this session. And this topic often makes or breaks it for these students.

The thought is basic: to advance learning, thinking and interest among medicinal understudies. However, the inquiry emerges, what would it be advisable for them to concentrate on for their exploration?

Medicine is a very vast field and everyday there are new inventions and discoveries being made. However, Pakistan seems to paint a different picture.

Sadly, our education system is based on rote-learning. We give so much time on memorizing the theories and ideas of medicine that it compromises our focus on concept-building and logical interpretation. This aspect often leads to trouble for students who are supposed to think “outside the box” for their research.

Furthermore, since we are so busy learning old principles, we often miss out on the latest medical breakthroughs happening around the globe.

For example, the emerging field of pharmacology makes new drugs every single day. By the time a student completes their five year program, new and more effective drugs have been discovered for the same diseases. This leads to a knowledge gap.

Our education system wastes so much time on rote-memorization that we often forget the true essence of medicine – which is to prevent diseases and promote health effectively.

It is said that bookish knowledge is of little use in clinical practice. Being a medical student at a public sector university, I find this saying very apt. I have always encountered difficulty when applying my medical knowledge to patients. Our public hospitals are deprived of basic necessities of healthcare and most of us are unaware about how to tackle our local emergency rooms and clinics.

We study from international books which focus on the diseases prevalent in those regions. But these books say little about the woes we face in Pakistan. Perhaps that is why it has taken us so long to eradicate polio – we are just not taught how to deal with problems pertaining to our region.

And why is that?

Perhaps because very few take the initiative to conduct Pakistan-centric researches, and then compile their results to make a Pakistan-focused textbook. If such a step is taken, just image the magnitude of the effects it would have on medicine in Pakistan.

We need to face and deal with the problems prevalent in our country. So, the reason why we need to do research is not just to keep pace with the world but also to provide better health and prevent diseases here, at home.

And besides, research is a very fun way to learn about ones field.

Research is a creative process; it requires logical reasoning and a comprehensive understanding of its processes – so that the results obtained are objective and verifiable. If you are a fourth year medical student about to opt for a research program, do not hesitate. You will love the experience and the new things you discover. Just be bold, focused and keep this determination in mind that you need to do this for your field, for your people and for your country.

Research is a very vast field and its importance should be taught from the very beginning of a student’s medical career.

Universities can organize research seminars for better understanding and orientation; students must be taught how to read research papers, maintain medical journals and form research societies at their campuses. These things are essential for every medical university. Since the beginning of the first year, it is very necessary to teach students how to conduct researches and write review articles.

Furthermore, to publish a research paper, funding is required. In many developed countries, proper funds are provided for a given time limit to conduct research. Sadly, in Pakistan, the field of research hasn’t gained much importance; neither at the doctorate level nor at the undergrad level. This needs to change. Our government needs to be more proactive.

If necessity is the mother of all inventions, then research is as much a necessity today as anything else. So do not be deterred. Take this challenge head-on. There will always be room for new discoveries.

Every day there are new advancements in the field of medicine. So, it is important to keep up to date with the latest and newest methods of treatment. Doing research at an undergrad will be very helpful; it will open minds and create new opportunities for medical students.

Who knows, maybe someone from Pakistan might be able to find a cure for cancer or HIV/AIDS; all we need is a push in the right direction.

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Butool Fatima

Butool Fatima:

A fourth year medical student who is deeply interested in reading medical blogs. She believes that the first duty of a doctor is to spread awareness among the masses.