Finally! Once again, I was in my element yesterday. It was our PD session and we had it at our affiliate hospital, the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital(BRTTH) just across the road from our building. The smell, the sight, the patients, how I missed all of those.

For second year, we were tasked to practice and master the skill of proper history taking and physical examination of actual patients. Since last week we weren’t assigned a patient, the group took it upon ourselves to scout for a patient the day prior to exposure.  Luckily, our preceptor that week was very willing to help us scout for a patient that she advised the surgery department to allow us to enter the ward and look for one. The training officer of the department accompanied us and semi-toured us around the surgery ward. It was actually a lot smaller compared to that in Bicol Medical Center. Usual sights of patients and beds along the corridor were normal.

We were directed to the Orthopedic Unit. The doctor introduced us as students from Bicol University College of Medicine and when we entered, we were greeted by smiles from the patients. One bed caught our attention as it was a pedia case with upper extremity fracture. However, when asked if they would allow us to interview them the next day, they told us that they had already packed their bags as they were given the signal that the patient can go home already. So we looked at the other beds and saw one patient with a cast. When asked if he would allow us to interview him the next day, he allowed us.

The next day was our actual duty in the ward. When we entered the department, I was a bit taken aback as some of the patients that were in the corridor yesterday were gone and replaced by new patients. Inside the unit, the same thing has happened, the little boy was gone and in his place was an adult man. The faces of the patients were different from those that were there previously. When we entered, we entered as a group, eh we were 10 in the group so all eyes were on us. Our preceptor was also with us and reintroduced us to the patient. The other patients, since it was a ward, heard what she was saying and they were all nodding and saying yes, that they would be glad to help us in any way. One patient even stated “Syempre tutulungan namin kayo. Kulang ang doktor ngayon dito. Kung hindi kayo tutulungan, sino pa ang magiging doktor?” We were all smiles when we heard that. Thank you Sir for your kind words of support.

This morning, the same thing happened. While waiting in line for the PRC to release my license, the guys in front initiated a conversation and the same line were also uttered by them. “Sana maging doktor kayo para mas madami kayong matulungan na tao. Kapag doktor na kayo, madami na kayong matutulungan. Kailangan natin ngayon ng madaming doktor. Sana pagdoktor na kayo hindi muna kayo umalis sa bansa. Dito muna kayo tumulong.”

It’s amazing that even though we are still only studying medicine, our kababayans are already rallying behind us to become mga doktor para sa bayan. To them I say, “Opo, para sa bayan, para kay Juan.”