This is an interesting topic to write on. One very close to my heart. I have received many emails from parents who believe that their children were born to be doctors. They mostly want to know requirements into getting into medical school, or any pieces of advice I would send over to their children. Here is what I think you should know:

a) Exposure leads to a build up of interest.

It would be easier for someone to develop interest in a field that they have had exposure to. Be it talks, seminars or even career days. This way, they might discover a passion that has been long hidden. It might be awakened by simply listening to stories and experiences from people on the ground.

b)Encourage Them To Work Hard.

Grades required to join any medical school are relatively high. Even with the passion, it would be heartbreaking for them to miss a slot during the admission process. And if they are lucky to get admitted through the government sponsored program, lots of coins would be saved.

Also, one spends a lot of time studying during the Campus period, and it would easy for those who have built a culture of self drive and good organisation. They will be able to glide through with ease.

c) Teach them coping mechanisms.

The first year was a bit hard for me.  the first days, especially during the dissection process. I do not want to elaborate more on that, but with time, you get used to some things. 

Also, the long studying hours, lecture hours or even during the practical sessions in the hospital. It all takes patience and perseverance.

d) Encourage them to take part in constructive recreational activities

With the usual trend that we see in campuses, some students indulge in drug abuse which is at times detrimental. This would weigh down on the student as they would not have enough time to clerk patients or even read if they are under the influence of drugs. Also, one cannot diagnose something that they do not know, making it hard for those who don’t study a lot but engage in other many activities 

e) Patience is of key.

Most of the times, it takes a lot of patience when managing patients. This runs across all professions in whatever field one is in. Some patients are irritable and require the utmost level of patience when handling them. Anyway, no one is happy when they are I’ll. Some can give you answers that will surprise you, here is an example. Jane*(not her real name), and her 7 year old daughter are HIV positive. They come to the hospital and the daughter is having an opportunistic disease. You ask Jane if her daughter has been compliant with the Antirertoviral Medication and she tells you that she no longer gives the child the drugs. You are surprised and you ask her whether she takes the medication herself and she answers,”Mbona Mimi niache?” (Why should I stop the medication myself?)And sneers at you. It beats logic that she is taking the medication and chooses to keep them away from her child, and is even rude when asked because the health of the child is at risk. You need patience to handle her.

Another example is a mother who brings her 6 month old baby to the accident and emergency center when they are In shock due to fluid loss. The child has had diarrhoea and vomiting for 3 days which points strongly to negligence on her side. As you are doing the resuscitation, the mother is busy screaming at you, and getting annoyed as she feels that you are doing it slowly, and because she is seeing no response from the child. She is even taking videos and threatening to post them on social media to show your ‘poor work’. You need patience to be able to do your work, properly.

e)Lastly, as a parent, you need to let your child make their own decision.

You cannot force your child to take a certain professional field under duress, it never ends well. Give them all the information, resources and exposure that they require, and let them choose.

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Lots of Love,

Ruguru Kimani.