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New medical doctors: We are well-equipped for the real world

On Wednesday 25 June 2014, 90 new medical doctors from Aarhus University pledge the Hippocratic oath. They graduate after a comprehensive reform of the Master's degree programme. We talked to two of the new graduates and asked them about their plans and dreams for the future.

Camilla Kjær Amelung (26) and Rasmus Dreyer Christensen (29) are both newly graduated medical doctors from Aarhus University. They are among the first to complete the new Master’s degree programme in Medicine which includes, among other things, increased clinical work and a professional track with themes such as communication, skills training and the role of the medical doctor.

What has it been like to study medicine at Aarhus University?

Camilla: Very exciting years with many challenges. There are so many impressions and experiences which you’ll remember your whole life. Like the first day of my studies where the tutors gave us a warm welcome, or how it felt to enter the dissection basement for the first time, and of course, meeting your first patient.

Rasmus: It has been exciting and challenging right from the start. I was accepted via the quota 2 system after having applied for three years, so managing to get through the eye of the needle has made it easy to appreciate studying on such a fantastic degree programme. There have also been periods where I thought everything was just difficult and a pain, but that is overshadowed by all the exciting subjects and challenging clinical work.

What are you going to take with you from your education?

Rasmus: Our studies are to a large extent about real life. Of course, a huge part of medicine is about theoretical medical knowledge, but what I hear from those who are already out there in the 'real world' is that their attention is on all the other aspects. That is patient contact, cooperating with the other professional groups and so on. What I primarily take with me is knowing that the theoretical knowledge is in place and now I am beginning the process of learning all the other things.

Camilla: It is important to maintain your curiosity and above all to be open to the many opportunities that exist – not least in relation to the choice of specialist training and research. It is about listening to your heart and then daring to follow your heart.

Do you feel well-equipped to enter the labour market?

Camilla: We are the first class to graduate from the new Master’s degree reform of medicine. One aspect of the reform is that we have been out in the clinic more during each semester and that we have met the patients. I am certain that this will make the transition somewhat easier. Translating your acquired theoretical knowledge into practice is really a big challenge.

Rasmus: We are in the privileged position that we have far better contact and rapport with the work we have to go out and do compared to many others. We have worked in many clinics and that has given us insight and input on how to act as a doctor. But just because you are prepared does not mean you are experienced.

What are your plans for the future?

Rasmus: I am starting with six months in an orthopaedic surgical ward from 1 August 2014. After that I will begin the Master's degree basis programme. It is quite unique to have a profession where you are guaranteed a job.

Camilla: On 1 September 2014 I will start on the Master's degree basis programme at Aalborg University Hospital in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. I will be there for six months. And then I will spend six months in a medical practice in North Jutland.

How do you envisage working as a medical doctor will be and what dreams do you have?

Camilla: My dream is to be a medical specialist in general medical practice and to become a general practitioner in Northern Jutland. I am also thinking about doing some research in general medical practice. My dream is to one day have my own doctor’s practice with my own paintings on the walls. And I am looking forward to a diverse working day and meeting the different groups of patients from children to the elderly.

Rasmus: I think it is going to be fantastic. Hard, but fantastic. It has taken us a long time to get here so it will be great to get started. So far the dream has been to become a medical doctor, so right now I am actually quite pleased to have achieved that goal. As the summer passes I am sure there will be new dreams about specialist training, research projects and so on, but right now I am just enjoying being a medical doctor," concludes Rasmus Dreyer Christensen.

About the graduation ceremony at Medicine

The new medical doctors pledge the Hippocratic oath at an event in the Main Hall at Aarhus University on Wednesday 25 June, 2014 at 16:00. Dean Allan Flyvbjerg will present the higher doctoral degree certificates and Peter Qvortrup Geisling will be this year's keynote speaker.

The event will be streamed and can be followed on au.dk/live. The recording can subsequently be found and downloaded from the alumni portal GERDA.