The second lady of KSMD MSA, second female vice president of the association in recent years and a 5th year dental student, ladies and gentlemen I present Adwoa Gyimah to you. Adwoa was born and raised by Ghanaian parents in the States. My guy, you know what I’m saying…She used to spend the summer in Ghana before finally entering KNUST for a dental degree. She is an alumnus of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University where she earned a Political Science degree. Just like most medical students, Adwoa envisioned being a doctor from the “ABCD 123” days. She doesn’t know what ignited that interest. When she was 5 years old and in grade 2, she wanted to be a paediatrician. Why Dental Surgery? No need to ask the gods about this one Adwoa has the answer for us. She believes it kind of fell on her laps. “I originally came for medicine honestly but then I got put in dentistry. I wasn’t happy about it but I think God knows his plans because it was definitely the right direction for me, I really love dentistry.” Praise be to God, hallelujah!
Coming from a different learning system and having to change from one you have used for twenty years to adjust to a new system is no walk in the park. The journey has been tough for Adwoa but a great support system as well as great friends keep her going. Her favourite year so far is the fourth year and she attribute it to the practical and hands-on experience. That’s the “Yankee” spirit! As a visual learner, staring at words on a board all the time wasn’t just frustrating but made Adwoa hate preclinical year. “I really hated preclinical because to me it was very monotonous, very classroom and theory based”. For fun in the medical school, being with her group for surgical rotation was the moment to relish. They were bunch of friends who knew one another’s personalities, learning styles, looked out for one another and complemented themselves. The word to describe the kind of relationship she’s had, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! The kind of help the previous sixth years and house officers gave to Adwoa and her colleagues is something she can never forget.
Everyone needs someone to keep her going. For Adwoa, Marie, one of her best friends, keeps her moving a lot. Aside Marie, there are other friends who step up to teach her. Mentors and other doctors who talk to her and let her know what to expect push her as well. For the support system she mentioned earlier, this is it. Back home, her family are amazing and provide a nice outside perspective to her all the time. She believes God knows when to put people in your corner and she has been surrounded by people genuinely who look out for her. God is goooood…
We unanimously believe medical school is one stressful place to be. For Adwoa, this is what she does to unwind; “I’m always under the idea that you should be having as much fun in your personal life as you can, like planning dinners with friends, I love doing that. Sometimes I just decompress by locking myself for a weekend where I just watch movies or read a book. I think it’s very important to not feel guilty about having fun, we all need a break. I think it all goes back to surrounding yourself with great people, you can have fun with them and they’ll also keep you in line.” At this point, I know “I can’t kill myself” but to adhere to Adwoa’s strategy.
How can medical school and medical education be made better in KSMD? Adwoa thinks there should to be an allowance for the way that students learn. Eii sister! “A lot of people struggle, I mean I did, with the theory-based style of learning, it’s not conducive for learning. I wish we would have more visual aids and practical sessions in preclinical years. I think for dental school some of the things taught in preclinical should be more dental based.
Suicide amongst students is on the rise. We just ‘hmm’ and pray for the best and leave the issues out. This is Adwoa’s take on it and we can’t agree any better. “I think it’s understandable in a sense. Sometimes school can get lonely for people and there can be a lot of pressure put on people. It’s understandable when you’re in a tough system and there is no real outlet, no one to talk to. It’s unfortunate and I wish things will change. MSA is trying in that department by having counsellors. I wish the system wasn’t as harsh and that things would change. More can be done for them and it’s wrong to look down on them.
“What can we do in our capacity as medical students to impact society? Adwoa believes humility is key and we should remember that our patients are people with ideas and feelings and should be treated as such. Simple gestures like smiling and explaining procedures to relatives of patients in the hospitals is great.
Born and raised in a country where Ghanaians go and seek greener pastures, we wondered if she would go back after school. This is Adwoa’s thought. “That’s a tough one. I think it depends on the opportunities I get for specialization. At the moment I want to specialize in periodontics and that’s not something that’s common here in Ghana. If I have to go, I would specialize there and then I would want to come back and build a practice here in Ghana. I think it would be so cool to build something as big as KATH somewhere up north or where there aren’t as many hospitals so people are not travelling all the way down to KATH.” God, give me vision!
On what can be done to keep doctors in the country, Adwoa reiterated the need to change the system. According to her, the system is linear, slow and weird. “It’s a weird situation where there can be doctors who have graduated and are staying home unemployed while we need doctors in the hospital. I’m not an expert on this, but the system that is currently being used is from the past and so it makes it difficult to facilitate the needs we have now. Changes should be made to allow more doctors to come into the system and start working, or naturally they’ll leave. If changes are made, more doctors would definitely stay”.
Her handles @AD_G12 for Instagram, twitter and Pinterest.