After our interview with Anas back in April of 2020, we re-connected with him to see how he is faring! Anas has been studying Medicine at EDU since 2020. When we met for the interview, he was in the third week of his clinical rotation from Module 2 at the Kemperhof in Koblenz.
EDU’s 5-year Medical Programme (3-year Bachelor of Medicine + 2-year Master of Medicine) is structured into modules, consisting of different learning phases. The integrated curriculum allows students to learn the wide range of knowledge and skills necessary to be a competent medical practitioner from the very beginning of their studies, followed by the practical phase where they carry out clinical practices at appointed teaching hospitals.
During the interview, Anas shared his daily routine with us during the clinical rotation period of his studies and his first-hand experience studying with EDU. We talked about the way he studies, his motivations for becoming a doctor, his social life in a digital programme, and what it’s like to take part in EDU’s clinical rotation.
Student Life During the Clinical Rotations
EDU: Nice to catch up with you Anas. Last time we spoke, you were taking part in your first clinical rotation. Where are you now?
Anas: Right now, I am in my third week of my current clinical rotation, which is the second clinical rotation since I started at EDU.
EDU: This means you have now almost 40 days of clinical experience, can you please tell us more about your clinical rotation? How does your day start?
Anas: We normally start with a routine visit with the doctors at 7am. Today for example, there’s an X-ray review at 8 for a surgery, which I will join as well. Most doctors arrive 10 minutes earlier, so it’s best that we arrive little earlier than them.
EDU: We know that you are not from Koblenz and that you’ve also been in different hospitals in Germany at this point, how do you like travelling to different cities for the clinical rotations?
Anas: This is the great part of the clinical rotations, you get to work and study in different places. I am from Wolfsburg and don’t have the beautiful views I have here in Koblenz. Clinical rotations are also when you have the opportunity to meet your fellow students in person. We explore these regions together, otherwise you only see them in front of video cameras during the virtual classes. This period is a lot more like the traditional campus experience but blended and more flexible, it’s great.
EDU: Speaking of the more social side of clinical rotations, how many students are normally in your clinical rotation?
Anas: I am with three other students from my cohort in Koblenz. There are also seven other students from my cohort at another hospital not that far from here. Sometimes we meet on weekends, watch movies or cook together. Last Saturday we took the gondola together and have also been on a 12km hike before, these moments really bring us together and strengthen our sense of community.
EDU: Apart from fellow students, you have spent a lot of time learning from the doctors in the hospital, can you tell us about your relationship with them?
Anas: The relationship with the doctors is very positive. When the doctors are busy, we try to help them wherever possible. When we don’t understand something more complicated, they take the time to explain it. Every now and then we get to assist under supervision, for example by holding some surgical instruments, drawing blood from the patients, or doing patient admission. Taking blood was one of the first things we learned.
EDU: It seems like your experience in clinical rotations has been pretty hands on so far! As you know, EDU students start their first clinical rotation from week 10 of their studies, from your own experiences, have the early clinical rotations benefited you so far?
Anas: Being able to have my first clinical experience after 8 weeks of study has been enormously helpful, especially because I had never worked in a clinic before. I learned so much, from how a hospital is structured and basic patient care, to how important it is to be punctual in everything I do. Even though it sounds trivial, I’m proud that I quickly learned how to change urine bags and how to help a patient with mobility problems go to the toilet. This are important moments in a patient’s hospital experience and I learned how to do it professionally while maintaining the patient’s dignity.
After our talk about his clinical rotation experience, Anas invited us to see more practically how he studies during the online phase.
For the four-week clinical rotations, Anas lived in a single apartment that he rented for a month. He researched the neighbourhood and paid a visit to Koblenz before he started in order to find a suitable accommodation. Eventually, he found a cosy apartment that was only 10 minutes from the hospital by bike.
The Online Learning Phase
EDU: Many people find digital learning unfamiliar to them and you’re living and thriving in it right now. Can you please tell us a bit more about what your days look like during the online learning phase? What do you need for learning?
Anas: My learning equipment includes my laptop and my tablet. Nothing else. We spend most of the time on EDU’s digital learning platform, there you find the class schedule, the learning units for the current module and the connected learning resources. Your virtual classes also take place on the platform. It’s really all in one place.
EDU: With such mobility, you could study anywhere, do you have your favourite study place?
Anas: It depends. I am often in the public library, sometimes in cafes if I am looking for a more relaxed atmosphere. However, when it is getting closer to exams, I tend to stay at home because I can concentrate better there.
EDU: In your last interview with us, you shared how how you studied in a traditional educational institution before. You went on to say that you are fascinated with the digital model at EDU and it was one of the aspects you found most attractive. Now that some time has passed, is EDU-life meeting your expectations?
Anas: I think I already mentioned that before. EDU is very flexible, more than the university I studied at previously and also other universities. During the online phase, you are location-independent. In my personal case for example, I was on vacation in Antalya when the new semester started. In every other university, I would have needed to leave and get back to campus but at EDU, I was able to bring my laptop and participated in the virtual class from abroad. At that moment, I thought, what an amazing quality of life it is, the opportunity EDU brings its students became really clear to me in that moment.
EDU’s Pedagogical Methods
EDU: The student-centred approach is one of the main reasons you joined EDU. How would you describe the actual experience? For example, problem-based learning (PBL), a pedagogical practice that EDU adopts in the curriculum, allows a small group of students to actively engage in discussion about an authentic real-life problem. How do you like PBL so far?
Anas: The approach and the concept are very good and truly useful. Through that we learned: to be independent and first research on your own for solutions to problems, I learned to take steps to solving my own questions instead of instantly asking for help. Even if the solution we came up with as a team or on my own was not always good, we learned from our mistakes and the knowledge feels more profound.
EDU: Hospital services are mostly provided by healthcare teams and you would have seen this in your rotations. Many assessments at EDU are designed as group assignments to help foster a student’s ability to work in a team. Do you feel like the development side of EDU works? Do you feel like you are part of a team?
Anas: You can imagine it like a football team. You have a captain, who is the team captain, and we have something similar in group works. There is a team leader who makes sure that everything is fine, running according to plan, and everyone is doing okay and playing their part. This is an important piece of studying at EDU, you can only have success in collective. You have to participate and pull your weight because at the end of the module, each team gets a team grade. Everyone has the same grade as their team members. Having a good chemistry and good coordination in the team is crucial.
The Motivation to Become a Doctor
EDU: Last but not least, what motivates you? Why do you want to become a doctor?
Anas: I am asked that question a lot by many people and there’s no single answer. Especially after two clinical rotations, I can really see how important this profession is for humanity and society. I want to become a doctor who will be able to help others go through difficult health issues, I want to help make lives better and healthier.
Also, as a doctor, you also have great job prospects which is another attractive feature. My father is a gynaecologist and I learned from him that as a physician, there are a lot of opportunities to specialise in different fields. It’s never boring and there is always something new to learn, more advancements and techniques.
EDU: It’s nice to listen to all your thoughts! Thank you again for taking the time to share your life at EDU with us