So you want to be a doctor...
2020-05-29

Thursday 30th January

So, how do we select the best students who will make the best doctors? Well, we at Aberdeen have decided that seven short interviews is one of the best and fairest ways to help achieve this. This process called Multiple Mini Interviews or MMIs. This is used in many medical schools in the UK and internationally. The Asiri Central Hospital provided an ideal place to hold an MMI for some of our international applicants. With about 40 applicants from all around the world, one of the large meeting rooms in the hospital was efficiently converted to seven MMI stations by the amazing staff at Asiri Central Hospital. With staff and volunteers from IIHS, prospective medical students were interviewed in several batches. Dr Nihal da Sliva, founder of IIHS and Dr Kithsiri Edirisinghe IIHS CEO were outside to chat to the anxious parents waiting for their “children” outside the interview room. Both Dr da Silva and Dr Edirisinghe are amazing visionaries who have done an amazing amount of hard work to bring international undergraduate medical training to Sri Lanka. Their commitment to improving the health, wellbeing and education of the people of Sri Lanka is inspiring.

It never ceases to amaze me how motivated and accomplished the young people who want to study medicine are. Their maturity, compassion and understanding belies their young years. We try to make the candidates have an enjoyable experience, so we can see them at their best, and they can show us their potential. Interviewing all day can be tiring, however, once again the hospitality has been amazing with efficient attentive service of refreshments snacks and lunch. This allowed us to be at our best for the candidates.

Thus ended the last day of our trip. We had a 2am flight to catch so a quick trip to the hotel to freshen up, some food and we were on our way back home. Thankfully, the trip home was less eventful than our trip there.

Epilogue

I mentioned Nadeeka Jaysinghe only in passing so far but that is to make very light of what an amazing job she did in arranging the whole trip. She’s a wonderfully compassionate human being whilst somehow also ruthlessly efficiently wielding her two mobile phones like nun-chucks from a Bruce Lee movie. She gave up much of her time day and evenings to ensure that the trip ran like a military operation. It could not have been smoother for the visiting jetlagged disorientated academics she had to contend with.

Also, a special mention to Nayani Mahalingam, Miriam Josiah and Dinusha Kanatiwela Niriell who also spent their days and some evenings accompanying us to the schools and visits. Their patience and good humour were much appreciated. I am sure that by the end of the trip they were looking forward to attending to their students who were probably easier to manage!

Before the trip, I heard stories about IIHS, Asiri hospitals, the hospitality, the enthusiasm, openness and commitment on an individual and a wider level. I wondered could it really be like that. Having visited Sri Lanka, I can see that there was no exaggeration. I am very much looking forward to working with IIHS and Asiri. There is no doubt there will be challenges ahead, but there is also no doubt we share the same values and aspirations and that is a great place to work from……

Published by The School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, University of Aberdeen

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