Step into surgeon's shoe:
Episode 1- Aug 27, 2020:
The first episode by Dr. Inam Pal was a motivation-filled session where he provided his invaluable insight on the road to becoming a surgeon and the challenges one might face along the way. Dr. Inam Pal wanted students to understand that there are no shortcuts to being a surgeon. However, he added that the high you get after successfully operating on a patient's life-threatening condition is unmatchable and extraordinary. He addressed an important topic: surgical residencies abroad.
Episode 2- Sep 5, 2020:
‘Specialized surgery series’ was the second episode. The panel included Dr. Saulat Fatimi from cardiothoracic surgery, Dr. Nuzhat Farooqui from urosurgery, Dr. Aliya Begum from obstetrics and gynecology, and Dr. Sohail Asghar Dogar from plastic surgery. They talked about their passion for surgery, the many long hours they had spent in their training, and it’s sweet reward. They talked about their respective fields and their experience in training years too.
Episode 3- Sep 12, 2020:
The third episode featured Dr Ather Enam, who shed light on neurosurgery, Dr Akbar Abbas, who talked about otolaryngology, Dr Haroon Tayyab, who talked about ophthalmology and Dr Fazl ur Rahman, on plastic surgery. They talked about their love for this field and whether surgery was everything they had hoped for. They discussed ways to strengthen residency applications, and about their residency training. They also answered student’s burning questions, including questions about the challenges of surgical residencies and the skills required. ‘This series was truly a chance to see the life of surgeons through their own eyes. These talks were a great encouragement to medical students, aspiring surgeons, in not only understanding the different specialties of surgery, but also the different lifestyles and careers in surgery. Indeed, excellent Surgery Saturdays have been delivered.
Can I Get A Competitive Residency
“Can I get a competitive residency?” is a question most medical students ask themselves at least once during their medical school tenure. This Saturday three strong female figures, Dr. Mir, Dr. Janjua, and Dr. Quddusi came together to answer this very question. The advice they gave is invaluable and timeless. It allowed a glimpse into their own lives and helped solidify the belief that persistence, hard work, and a strong sense of self are imperative in achieving goals. Though academics are important, these role models also touched upon personal life, work-life balance, and dealing with stress in a healthy way such that it is conducive for mental wellbeing. A well-rounded session, it helped to bring together and compile all the essential information required to excel in respective medical subspecialties. Geared towards giving guidance about competitive residency programs, this talk served as an important reminder that though the path may be daunting, the goals are still very much achievable.
Research- A Bridge To Residency
On July 18, 2020, our panelists comprising of AKU Alumni who successfully matched into surgical residences both abroad and at home shed light on the overall process from medical school to residency programs and beyond. Our panelists also addressed individual queries brought to the table by participants in the Q/A session.
Life As A Surgical Resident
On July 11, 2020, SIG held “Life as a Surgical Resident” to shed some light on the surgical residency and to answer some of the toughest questions students had. Over two hours, panelists from Pakistan, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States talked about a day in the life of a surgical resident, the various challenges it holds, and the work-life balance. Students got a clear picture of and were encouraged to pursue their passion.
Life In A Rut- Graduated And Pandemic Hit
Full of examples from his own life, Dr. Arish talked about his medical school journey, his internship experience, and his work as a junior doctor. This talk helped students think about the side of medicine that is often not given due importance: being a good person. Students left that session thinking back to the reasons they gave for wanting to become doctors in their medical school interview, such as, ‘it’s a noble profession’. Dr. Arish’s words say it best, ‘you need to bring nobility into the profession’.
He also talked about his plans for future training, and how the skills he acquired over the last year helped shape his residency interviews and how his work made his CV unique. Don’t get trapped in the bubble of competition, he warned students. Similarly, he talked about mental health, how one can care for their own health, and how one can care for others’ wellbeing. After his insightful talk, he answered a number of questions about internships, finding volunteer-friendly NGOs, and helping those around us.
Beyond the States
With 2020 being on a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many medical students realized the importance of keeping their options open in terms of their medical training. With that in mind, IMIG and SIG collaborated to introduce the ‘Beyond the States’ series so as to cover the specifics of pathways alternative to the United States. The first talk of this series featured AKU alumni, Dr. Aly Pathan and Dr. Talha Niaz, who are currently completing their Foundation Year 2 in the UK. The highlights of the session included the process of applying to become a trainee in the UK, the training system there as well as reasons for considering the UK as an option. This session was a much needed reminder that you should not limit yourself to conventional paths, rather explore all possible avenues so that in the end the path you choose is in line with your interests and personal circumstances.
Women in Surgery
On June 27, 2020, the Surgery Interest Group (SIG) hosted our largest ever panel discussion titled ‘Women In Surgery’, giving us all a glimpse into the lives of inspiring female surgeons from 10 different surgical sub-specialties who joined our 400+ participants from across the globe. This discussion served as a much-needed reminder that as a female surgeon, regardless of your subspecialty, some people will always have slight reservations about you. There will be a lot of eyebrows raised and you will be subtly told to go for a more women-friendly field, but these wonderful women persisted. They knew that their passion was enough of an assurity. And when they did, they ended up paving a way for aspiring female surgeons.
The Surgery Interest Group (SIG) conducted an interactive session with Dr. Ghulam Abbas (AKU '94). Dr. Abbas is an American Board-Certified cardiothoracic surgeon working at West Virginia University Hospitals, internationally recognised for robotic lung-sparing surgery for lung cancer and minimally invasive esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. In the spirit of giving back, he came by to mentor medical students interested in a career in Cardiothoracic Surgery.
SIG conducted an interactive session with Dr. S. Arish Haider (SIG Convener 2017-18), a graduate of the Class of 2018 who talked about career options in the UK for future aspiring surgeons. He went through the application process and residency program structure in the UK and also shared the reasons why he chose the UK path. The talk was followed by a Q&A session.
Dr. Faiz Bhora (AKU Class of 1992) is no stranger to the AKU community; he is always coming back and engaging with students in different talks. Recently he collaborated with the Surgery Interest Group to talk about the present and future of robotic surgery, especially its application in surgical oncology, a field that interests many of our aspiring surgeons.
The audience, ranging from first-years to alumni, got to learn from him about the latest developments in Robotic Surgery and Minimally Invasive Thoracic Surgery. This was followed by a Q&A session and an engaging discussion with the young surgery enthusiasts.
The Surgery Interest Group, in the interest of catering to the most important needs of our AKU Community, collaborated with Pediatrics For Life and Internal Medicine Interest Group the second Electives Made Simple event. This was a panel discussion with our final year medical students Mustafa Ali Khan, Taha Ahmad Zaka, Usman Zaffar Sandhu, and Danish Ali aimed at guiding students in the process of electives.
SIG collaborated with the Neuroscience Interest Group to organize two events for everyone with an interest in Neurosurgery. Dr. Asif Bashir joined us for interactive sessions to talk what about a career in neurosurgery entails and to demystify a very challenging but rewarding career path.
In the second talk, Dr. Farhan Mirza (AKU Class of 2011) enlightened the pathway of this specialization and answered their queries.