0708-Medical Student Conduct: Some Tips

Background reading by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. MB ChB (MUK), MPH (Harvard), DrPH (Harvard) for new medical students during the induction week at the Residential College on 01st August 2007.


Group membership has benefits of integration, stimulation, motivation, innovation, emotional support, and endurance. Group performance is superior to individual performance. Group formation has 4 stages: forming (acquaintance and learning to accept one another), storming (emotions and tensions), initial integration (start of normal functioning), total integration (full functioning), and dissolution. Mature groups have group identity, optimized feedback, decision-making procedures, cohesion, flexibility of organization, resource utilization, communication, clear accepted goals, interdependence, participation, and acceptance of minority views. Groups fail when constituted on the wrong basis, when members cannot communicate, when there is no commonality (interests, attitudes, and goals), and when they have diseases of envy, hypocrisy, rumor mongering, back-biting, lying, show-off, pride, love of leadership, spying on one another,; and negative thoughts about others. In an effective group members feel secure and not suppressed, members understand and practice sincere group dynamics, members are competent and are committed to the group and the leadership.



Projecting a positive image helps build credibility and leads to success. Be careful in how you conduct yourself because the perceived image may not be the intended image. The difference is crucial. Self- confidence and self-discipline are ingredients of a positive image. You have to start by discovering your strengths and enhancing them. You have to acknowledge your weaknesses and compensate for them. A positive image needs maintenance by regular self-evaluation and taking corrective action where needed. Keeping company with people who have a positive self-image will help you develop your own image. Your communication with others (letter, fax, telephone, and conversation ) is an exercise in image projection. Physical appearance (clothes, hair, cleanliness) also project image. Dress well but not for arrogance. As a professional dress conservatively and remember this is a medical school and not fashion house. Muslims should follow the Islamic dress code while non-Muslims should dress in what is considered serious and formal in the Brunei culture. Be smart at all times. An image of seriousness and maturity projected now will stay in the mind of those who will work with you professionally 30 or 40 years later. Good manners, correct etiquette, and sensitivity enhance the image. Your voice, handshake, smiles, body language, and eye contact can make or unmake your image. Your posture and manner of walking can tell a lot about you. Solving your personal problems and keeping out of depression, anxiety or stress help maintain your positive self-image.



The etiquette between the student and the teacher should be followed. In general the student should respect the teacher. This is respect to knowledge and not the individual. The prophet taught admiration and emulation of the knowledgeable. Students should be quiet and respectfully listen to the teacher all the time. Students should cooperage such that one who attends a teaching session will inform the others of what was learned[i]. Students can learn a lot from one another. The student who hears a fact from a colleague who attended the lecture may even understand and benefit more. Students should ask questions to clarify points that they did not understand or which seem to contradict previous knowledge and experience. Taking notes helps understanding and retention of facts. Study of medicine is a full-time occupation; students should endeavor to stay around the hospital and their teachers all the time so that they may learn more and all the time. They should avoid being involved in many other activities outside their studies.



Time: planning & prioritizing: Good time management assures success. Events can be classified into 4 categories depending on their importance and urgency. Urgent and important, urgent and not important, not urgent but important, and not urgent and not important. Some activities like salat are time-sensitive and must be put on the schedule at the right time. Important things even if not the most urgent should be given most priority. Priority is given to essential needs rather than wants. Ibadat has the first priority. Next are biological needs such as sleep and food. Time must be allocated for the family, rest, recreation, and earning livelihood. Prioritization decisions should be maximizing gains and minimizing losses. Stakeholders must be given priority in time allocation decisions. All time prioritization decisions must be by conscious choice and not passive following of others. A diary or calendar should be used to schedule the day’s activities. Proper scheduling requires attention to transitional time, discretionary time, and functional linkages.


Balance in time management: The following balances must be observed in time management: self and family, self and community. Imbalance among various acts of ‘ibadat should be avoided.


Problems in time management: Manifestations of poor time planning are: poor scheduling, poor prioritizing, lack of contingency plans, trying to do everything and not delegating, poorly kept diary that is incomplete and with conflicts, overwhelming work, changing priorities, and too many meetings. Managers get overwhelmed with too much work to be done in a short time. Meetings waste time and achieve little if they have no objective, no agenda, no time limits, and late coming. Many mistakes in time planning arise out of failure to anticipate events such that emergencies get out of control and deadlines are missed. Other problems in time management are: procrastinations, inflexible routines and habits, reactive and not pro-active behavior, punctuality, and interruptions (visitors, lengthy conversations, and the telephone.

ŠProfessor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. August 2007