This week, 46 fourth year medical students from Qatar University’s College of Medicine (QUCMED) will begin a fourteen-week clinical rotation, also known as a clerkship, at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Al Khor and Al Wakra Hospitals. The group, which includes 19 Qatari nationals, are the inaugural general medicine class from Qatar University’s medical college. Established in 2014 by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani in response to the growing need for medical doctors, QUCMED focuses on the development of a home-grown medical workforce for Qatar, rooted in the specific needs of the population and aligned with national strategies and priorities in healthcare education.
The medical students have spent the past three and a half years in the classroom and lab, learning the fundamentals of basic medical sciences and acquiring the clinical skills that underpin the art of medicine and the practice of patient care. Their clinical rotations at HMC, which will continue throughout their fourth, fifth, and sixth years of study, will provide them with real-world practical experience in surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry and mental health, and other core specialties.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Director of Medical Education at HMC, and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at Qatar University said the clinical rotation will allow for important hands-on experience interacting with patients. He said it will also allow the future physicians to begin the process of making decisions about which post-graduate training specialty they might wish to pursue once they complete their foundation program.
“Not only will clinical rotations enable medical students to safely apply the knowledge they have accumulated in the classroom to real-life medical situations, under the watchful guidance of experienced clinical supervisors but HMC will also provide the right learning environment to meet the requirements of the clinical curriculum for the students. Over the next fourteen weeks, these medical students will shadow HMC consultants and medical residents and will have the opportunity to not only participate in the care for patients but also to help solve complex medical problems through valuable hands-on experience. These rotations will also expose students to a diverse range of medical specialties, helping them to identify which areas they might wish to focus upon in the future. This is a vital first step in their career and it is our hope that many of these students will become residents and future medical leaders here at HMC,” said Dr. Al Khal.
Dr. Al Khal added that he and other Qatari leaders from both HMC and QU are immensely proud of the fact that nineteen of the students from the inaugural general medicine class are nationals. He said the students represent the next generation of Qatar’s medical professionals and the partnership between HMC and QU will ensure they have a solid educational foundation to help meet the future healthcare needs of the country’s population.
Professor Egon Toft, Dean of the College of Medicine and Vice President for Medical and Health Sciences at Qatar University, said there are currently 310 students enrolled in the College of Medicine’s six-year MD program, including 160 Qatar nationals. He said the College is proud of its contribution towards nurturing future generations of talented homegrown physicians and advancing the healthcare system in Qatar by supporting many of the key objectives outlined in Qatar’s national health strategies.
“This is an exciting time for us and for these students. For QUCMED, today represents another important milestone in our journey toward witnessing the graduation of our first batch of Qatar University medical doctors in 2021. For these students, it represents the next phase in their medical training and the fruition of many years of hard work. It is an essential step in their journey toward learning to care for patients and developing their clinical competencies and professional identity as physicians. The education they have received at QUCMED has given them the foundation they need and this rotation will provide a unique period in their professional training which will enable them to become very involved in the different disciplines of medicine,” said Professor Toft.
As part of their training, the students will complete clinical rotations at HMC, Sidra Medicine, and Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC). Professor Alison Carr, Associate Dean for Clinical Education at the College of Medicine at Qatar University said the medical students are a testament to the health sector’s strong partnership and shared commitment to training the next generation of physicians.
“We would like to acknowledge the large clinical faculty in the PHCC’s Health Centers who have been instrumental in teaching our students about patient care during their placements with the PHCC over the past two and a half years. These placements, combined with our weekly clinical skills program in the College, have given the students an excellent foundation to build on in the next clerkship phase,” said Professor Carr.
During a ceremony held late last week at HMC’s Hajar Auditorium, the forty-six fourth year medical students were recognized for their important contribution to protecting and advancing the health and welfare of the country’s population. The event was attended by a number of senior leaders from HMC, PHCC, Qatar University, and other important partner organizations.