The first step

Jerry: 'My first year at NUMed has been amazing.'
Izham: 'I got to mix with students from across the years.'

HIPPOCRATES, Greek physician and father of modern medicine, famously said, "Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity." This is what Jerry Tan and Izham Halid, first year medical students of Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed), are discovering as they embark on their journey through medicine.

Like students around the world starting university education, Jerry and Izham were not too sure of what to expect. However, from the structure or the course, to the social activities, both have settled in well and have enjoyed their first step towards becoming a doctor.

"My first year at NUMed has been amazing. There is a lot of work but I expected this, as becoming a doctor requires commitment! The course structure keeps the work very interesting and I find it extremely rewarding," said Jerry.

All of NUMed's courses offer a carefully structured combination of hands-on practical skills and laboratory sessions, lectures and demonstrations in state-of-the-art lecture theatres, and small group work in seminar-friendly classrooms.

There is a real focus on delivering a rounded education and this means developing key technical, practical, and communication skills the students require to get to the top in their future careers, as well as acquiring the essential scientific knowledge that underpins medicine.

"The hands-on approach is very helpful; for example, recently in our Patient Doctor Society elective we were learning about pregnancy and so we went and visited a pregnant woman to talk to her. This form of integrated active learning is very helpful! We even have a resident simulated patient called Sven that allows students to practise techniques that include clearing a patient's airway or inserting an intravenous drip line into a vein, as well as treat emergencies such as heart-attack or septic shock," Jerry continued.

Active learning and simulated patients, like Sven, are a central part of the Medicine (MBBS) course at NUMed and at Newcastle University, UK. In fact, NUMed students enjoy identical training standards and curriculum to those at Newcastle University, UK. Certain aspects have simply been contextualised to Malaysian culture and circumstances. This has the additional benefit of allowing students to adapt very quickly should they choose to spend a period of study in the UK, an option open for everyone.

Furthermore, the similarities between the UK and Malaysia campuses are useful for medical students as NUMed became the first university outside of the UK to receive recognition by the General Medical Council (GMC) – the statutory body that registers and regulates doctors in the UK. This was an important milestone for NUMed as it means Malaysians who study medicine at NUMed and carry out their postgraduate clinical training programme in selected Malaysian hospitals can now apply for full registration as doctors with the GMC as well as the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC).

"Away from my studies, I have had a fantastic first year at NUMed. This is down to the great friends I have made in my first year which have come from all walks of campus life; my courses, study groups, halls and the many events that the Student Association organises. The highlight of the year was the NUMed ball which was held at the Double Tree by Hilton, it was a fun way to end the year and mix with students from across the years," commented Izham.

The Student Association actively encourages students to form friendships, and as such a "peer-parenting" system is operated at NUMed whereby every new student is attached to a "family" of senior students who provide an instant social network. They are also available to offer advice and guidance.