In a land of diversity and a time of doubt, the clarity of medical students rests on the shoulders of a team. Its name? PENDICAL. The digital summit began as an idea. It was to be a career summit and so, its aim was clear: provide as much information on as many career paths (clinical and non-clinical) to as many medical students as was possible and, by so doing, provide some measure of guidance in making career choices. In effect, the Pendical Digital Summit. was simply a bridge, a conduit for information and advice, between those who had them (the practitioners) and those who needed them (the students). On a backdrop of months of effort that culminated in the two days of the summit, in this, it was largely successful.
Dr Joy Ibeh, a consultant paediatrician, kicked off the first day of the summit, the 6th of February, 2021, with the A-Z of practising Paediatrics in Nigeria. Within the next few hours, we would have Dr Jibril Abdulmalik, a consultant psychiatrist and Founder of the Asido Foundation, give an outlook on the field of psychiatry in Nigeria and discuss why Nigeria needs more psychiatrists; Dr Rebecca Omokaro (Healthenmore) on the pathways for an International Medical Graduate (IMG) using Canada as a case study; Dr Fidelis Egemba (Aproko Doctor) on a career in health promotion, disease prevention and bringing Medicine to the people and Dr Ayo Adenipekun on IMG pathways with the UK as a case study. Simultaneously, in a second Zoom room, Dr Douglas Pepple, a consultant gynaecologist, talked about new frontiers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dr Ifedolapo Odebunmi highlighted the pathways for an IMG with the US as a case study, Dr John Afam dwelt on Anaesthesia, and Dr Boma Obuoforibo, an ophthalmologist, discussed ophthalmology and why it is so special.
The second day of the summit, the 13th of February, dawned with a slightly different sun from that of the first — most of the talks were on non-clinical careers and interests. Gladys Ibrahim, a 400-level medical student at the University of Ibadan representing Lecturio, a medical education platform, started the day talking about how Lecturio can help with getting ahead in medical school. To encourage participation in the summit as well as create awareness about Lecturio, they provided six-month free access to Lecturio’s premium content to two lucky winners of a raffle draw, both participants of the summit. Ms Blessing Okorafor spoke about employable skillsets for the 21st-century doctor; Prof. B. L. Salako, a consultant nephrologist and Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, discussed scientific research and the need for more medical researchers in Nigeria; Dr Kiki Omelli, medical doctor and actress, came on next with chasing other interests outside medical school and, finally, Dr Benjamin Ewheh, biomedical engineer and health technologist, looked at applying engineering principles in medicine as a career. In the second Zoom room running simultaneously, Dr Martin Igbokwe, consultant urologist and kidney transplant surgeon, discussed speciality surgery, choosing a subspeciality and its attendant demands; Dr Gold-Olufadi, a consultant dermatologist, explored the graduate school application process as well as the fields of interest for post-graduate education besides public health. To round it up, Dr Funto Ogundepo spoke about gaining financial security as a medical student and managing financial resources with medical exams in view.
If the feedback on the summit was anything to go by, these two days were like the two parts of a well-built structure that served its purpose well. Nevertheless, for all they were, it veers most amiss to not mention the team that, in the preceding months, did the necessary construction and finishing, from content creation and speaker relations to publicity, finances, digital and post-summit support. It was a learning experience for every single person that came in contact with the summit, from the planning team to the attendees, and we hope it is the first of many to come.
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