Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Dr Galvez-Tan, you are so right

I stumbled upon a Manila Times article that lamented the so-called brain drain. Dr Jaime Galvez-Tan, one of the more sensible teachers at the college, said

The medical curriculum, ... gives premium to grades and competencies rather than values. Globalization of labor has also contributed to a materialistic attitude even among those whose profession is supposed to serve others.

Yet Tan says that medical students generally start off with the right attitude and values. But somewhere on their way to becoming doctors, something seems to happen to them, changing their goals and plans, he says. Like common sense?

Over the years, Tan has been monitoring the attitudes of medical students, asking them three questions: How do you describe yourself? How do you see yourself 10 years from now? What country do you want to serve? Now, this is a real exam question... not rated of course.

During the first and second years, he says, a medical student would usually describe himself as “compassionate” and “humane.” The student would also see himself working in public health, community medicine, or with a nongovern­mental health organization. Those years also see all medical students replying that they would like to serve in the Philippines. Hey, I did answer that I'd like to be a Governor someday.

Change, however, comes by the third year onward. With students invariably describing themselves as “competent” and “skilled,” many now want to become super-specialists. And by the time they graduate, only 25 percent said they would stay. No money for doctors here... therefore if I wanted to be a Governor then I should save money somewhere first.

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