MMSA – Jean Claude Scicluna

The life of a medical student is rarely one to be presented with much fanfare. Studying to be done, books to be read, lectures to attend, cadavers to inspect, breakfasts to be skipped, coffee to be drunk and good night sleep to be forgotten altogether. Given such an abstract by my peers last summer, I questioned the validity of their claims … surely not true, right? Well, yes they are actually.

However, this is but one aspect of a medical student’s habitat. What is rarely mentioned and frequently overlooked is the vast array of experiences one’s life is coloured with on admission to this course. A large degree of this contributes to the “hidden curriculum” of the MD course. Notably, the personal development we undergo, as a result of our relationships with our faculty but mostly with each other. An aspect which I personally had not been exposed to before was the advent of peer teaching, where certain skills, both clinical and otherwise, are taught by a fellow student. Finding this wonderfully helpful, I cannot overstress the importance of learning and teaching in this way, since a fellow student has only recently been exposed to the relevant information himself/herself, so will be in a better position to understand the problems the newer students face in their own learning. Needless to say, this system still benefits from the wealth of experience given by our lecturers and professors.

And how can one mention peer teaching and student initiative without the letters MMSA cropping up? The local medical students association is pivotal to improving our medical education, indeed having one of its standing committees, SCOME (Standing Committee of Medical Education) dedicated to this purpose. Despite initially not knowing at all what MMSA was about, let alone having any interest to participate, I was immediately drawn to it after starting to take part in the myriad of events it organises in diverse areas, ranging from sexual health, to human rights and peace and public health.  From my experience, I can safely say that what the medical student learns from these events, which are always forward to a good cause, is not only additional, but pivotal in the holistic education towards becoming doctors. Finally, it is these events which we will remember in the years to come.