Joseph Goody, a second-year student in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, has learned a lot by attending the UBC Surgical Club. “These events are fun and informative. I get to connect with surgeons and surgical residents, improve my technical skills, and learn about the many surgical specialties,” he says.
But being in the Surgical Club has also taught him some of the tough realities of a surgeon’s life. “I expected my zeal for surgery to grow as I gained experience with the Surgical Club and moved through medical school, but it has done quite the opposite,” he says. “Learning about what the bread and butter of surgery really is and the impact that surgery has on one’s life has planted seeds of doubt. I’m now less certain of surgery than I was at the beginning of first year.”
Rather than refocusing elsewhere, however, he became one of the organizers because of its clear value: “This highlights the important role that the Surgical Club can play in helping medical students determine what career they want to have rather than go off of hype and perceived prestige. I’ve adjusted the way that I want to do clerkship, and though I’m still excited about surgery, have taken a more realistic approach.”
In March the Surgical Club held their Suturing Workshop in Vancouver—workshops are held in all four sites—led by a dedicated group of surgical residents. Doctors of BC proudly supports the club as part of its $10,000 annual grant to the Medical Undergraduate Society.
Valerie Lai, a first year student, says, “Clubs like the Surgical Club provide medical students with opportunities to be exposed to certain aspects of the specialty, such as tonight’s suturing workshop. It gives us a chance to experience learning outside of the classroom, and to focus more on our own interests. We also have more opportunities to speak to surgical staff, and to gain some perspective into what being in a surgical specialty may be like in the future.”
There’s also an important group bonding aspect to clubs like this. “I joined the surgical club to become more involved in the student community, and to meet others with similar interests as my own,” Valerie explains. But most of all, it helps students narrow down their career choices. “We learn about something new almost every week, and it’s difficult to be sure of which specialty I would like in medicine. However, surgery has always been something that I was interested in, so being a part of the Surgical Club is helpful in gaining some insight into surgery.”
The UBC Surgical Club is just one of the 23 clubs and events supported by Doctors of BC; other areas supported include technology in medicine, Aboriginal health, anesthesia interest group, refugee health, mass gathering medicine, and women’s health. These clubs and events are all student organized, and Doctors of BC salutes the energy and generosity these student leaders demonstrate in producing such valuable extra curricular activities on behalf of their peers.