University of the Free State: UFS medical students impressed trauma doctors with their enthusiasm and proactive attitude


Third-year medical students from the University of the Free State (UFS) Faculty of Health Sciences impressed doctors with their stellar work during their three-week rotation in the Trauma Unit at the Pelonomi Hospital that they received certificates acknowledging their exceptional work ethic.

The students started clinical training in a hospital setting and the Trauma Unit was their second block. This is the second group of third-year students at the unit following strict COVID-19 lockdown rules.

One of those impressed by the student doctors is Prof Andre Loubser, head of the Department of Trauma, and a certified trauma surgeon with years of experience and a passion for teaching. He said the type of doctors these students will become one day will be moulded through these clinical years and he wanted to encourage them to keep on building on these characteristics.

Taking matters into their hands

Dr Hennie Smit, a Medical Officer working in the Trauma Unit of Pelonomi Hospital, says during the students’ time in the unit the house doctor running the ward was on sick leave for a week. The group took matters into their hands and stood in for the house doctor.

“They came in earlier to make sure all the results were in the file of the new admissions and they helped us with the administrative part of the ward work. Besides that they showed immense enthusiasm. You would always find them being proactive about patient management and acquiring new skills.

“It was a treat teaching them. They have all the components of one day becoming professionals and leaders in their field. There was compassion, dedication, teamwork and a positive attitude. It is contagious,” says Dr Smit.

Thankful for the acknowledgement

The semester six group students, Abigail van Neel, Carli van Onselen, Gabriela von Eschwege, Zelmay October, Christi Snyman, Dian Honiball, Hasun Jang and Sebastiaan Pauw impressed the consultants immensely.

Pauw, one of the students, said he is grateful that the doctors went out of their way to acknowledge them.. “It is all thanks to the group’s hard work,” said Pauw.
“I appreciate that they are keeping an eye on us and taking the time to see how we are performing. It is a sign that proves that hard work and willingness to learn will have consequences. My father always says: ‘Wat jy met trane saai, sal jy met vreugde oes’. Hard work will eventually pay off. But it also matters how you work, and your attitude towards the work and other people.”

Pauw said the training was hard work and sacrifices had to be made in order to be where they are today. “It is not all fun and games, but if you find purpose and meaning in your work it gives you a sense of happiness and belonging because you feel you are working towards your purpose,” he said.

Ready for the unexpected

“Motivating yourself you should have a positive and willing attitude and the person next to you will also try to do the same, and in turn affect you in the same way. There is a sense of purpose and calling that will make you feel you have to do what you have to do, because that is why you are here,” he concluded.

Dr Smit says the pandemic has left damage and challenges that the medical fraternity needs to work through, but it has taught them to be prepared. “It’s like that in the Trauma Unit. We don’t know which patient to expect next through the ambulance doors. We see hope, especially when encountering such a special group of students. We can rest assured they will be ready for the unexpected.”

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