Medical practice, neither a trade nor business – Medical School Dean

The Dean of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) School of Medical Science (SMS), Professor Francis Ofei has admonished student doctors not to see the medical practice as a business but rather a calling.

Quoting Sir William Osler, a renowned medical practitioner, to buttress his admonition, he said “medicine is an art, not a trade, a calling, not a business,” adding that students doctors, like professional doctors, must be humble, selfless and focus on patients entrusted in their care.

Prof. Ofei was speaking at the Sixth White Coat Ceremony held at the University to signify the transition of 61 level 400 medical students from the study of pre-clinical to clinical health sciences.

The white coat ceremony , a ritual in medical school that involves a formal robing of students in a doctor’s traditional wear; the white coat, was organized by the UCCSMS, the first and only medical school that performs the ceremony in the country.

Prof. Ofei further advised the students to effectively combine their book knowledge with what they would learn from their parents, but cautioned them to respect the privacy and information of their patients.

Prof. Simon Naaedar, a member of the Medical and Dental Council of Ghana, stated that success in medicine was dependent on ability, availability and affability and a set of core competencies which included patient care, medical knowledge and professionalism.

He observed that medicine attracts the brightest and best from senior high schools but asserted that being the brightest in sciences does not make one a good physician, but rather the respect and compassion shown to patients, family , lecturers and society.

He also advised students doctors and other medical professionals to communicate properly with their clients since according to him, relating to patients was one of the most essential and powerful tools of a successful physician.

“The white coat is the robe and symbol of our profession. Wear it proudly,” Prof. Naaedar remarked.

The Pro Vice Chancellor of UCC, Prof. John Nelson Buah, urged the students to uphold their oath, show compassion to patients , remain humble and be reminded of sacrifices their parents were making in their education, to strive for excellence.

The Director of the Central Regional Health Directorate, Dr. Samuel Tetteh Kwashie, who presided, urged the student doctors to work together with other hospital staff, seek clarification on issues they did not understand and also see themselves as ambassadors of healing.

The students took the SMS Medical Students Oath which read in part, “I will practice to the highest standards of conduct by doing what is best for my patients and allowing neither greed nor stinginess, nor desire for great reputation to corrupt me” GNA

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