UAE's next generation of doctors prepare to enter a changed world of medicine

More than 100 students from MBRU graduate at Dubai Opera

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The next generation of UAE doctors will see the world very differently than their predecessors because of the pandemic, one of the country’s leading health experts has said.

Dr Ammar Albanna, assistant professor in psychiatry, was speaking at a graduation ceremony for students from Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

He said the pandemic meant the graduates had to spend an unusually long amount of time studying online, which meant they were uniquely equipped to adapt to future innovations in health care.

“The pandemic has taught us that technology can play a more important role than previously thought in health care,” said the Emirati doctor.

“Artificial intelligence and other techniques are going to play crucial roles in providing better patient care in years to come.

“That’s why this generation is so perfectly placed. They grew up with an iPhone in their hands and will interact with the world very differently than previous generations.”

Dr Albanna was talking at a gala graduation ceremony, which took place at Dubai Opera on Tuesday evening.

'I want to make a difference'

More than 100 students overcame the struggles of learning in the middle of a pandemic to make the next step in their medical journeys.

“The graduates had to adapt to a very difficult situation and showed incredible resilience,” said Dr Albanna.

“They had to go through so much, especially in terms of the format of the education they received, we couldn’t be prouder of them at the university.”

Students graduated in a range of subjects including surgery, nursing, biomedical science, psychiatry and dentistry.

Most of those who graduated on Tuesday were women, who represented 71 per cent, while there were 33 Emiratis — making up 31 per cent of the total.

Students who qualified with bachelor's degrees in medicine and surgery can now apply for licences to practise as doctors or take up residency in hospitals in the UAE, the US and Canada.

Some master’s graduates will study for a PhD, while others will continue to practise in the UAE and abroad.

One graduate said it was her responsibility as a young Emirati to give back to her country.

“As an Emirati student it’s one of my duties to pay back the country that has served me so well and given me so much,” said Reem Alqutami, 23, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery.

“I am going to work as an emergency doctor and help those who need it, especially the most vulnerable.”

Her fellow Emirati alumna Eman Almerashi, 24, graduated with the same degree.

“I want to make a difference and give help to those who need it,” said Ms Almerashi.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid University Of Medicine and Health Sciences graduation ceremony takes place at Dubai Opera. Antonie Robertson / The National

“It’s a bittersweet feeling to be graduating because I have so many good memories and made so many friends from the past six years of studying.”

Emirati Mohammed Zaki, 23, graduated with bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery.

“It was quite challenging to learn medicine during a time when we are facing the biggest epidemic since the Spanish Flu,” he said.

“It made me realise the significance attached to being a doctor.”

Fawaghi Alali, 31, said the pandemic had made her degree in periodontics particularly difficult as it required access to patients on which to practise.

“That was the most challenging part but the university was great in helping us with the correct PPE and care when we did have access again,” said the Emirati, who gave an address during the ceremony.

“It’s important as well to give thanks to our parents and professors who supported us.

“They are the ones who have really made this possible.”

She said she now planned to return to her job with Dubai Health Authority.

Emirati Tuqa Alyousuf, 34, praised the university for providing her with the means to complete her degree by studying online during the onset of the pandemic.

“It was a challenge because we weren’t able to see as many live patients as we should have,” she said.

“But it was well managed and we were able to graduate within the three-year time frame.”

Updated: June 29, 2022, 9:41 AM