A New Portrait of Nigerian Medical Students

A New Portrait of Nigerian Medical Students

Every writer, I suppose, has in mind a picture of his readers and what he expects to create in their mental imagination after reading the writing. Mine is a picture of a watercolorist. This article intends to paint in your mental memory a new and emerging narratives of Nigerian medical students. I will use experiences from my own classroom and classmates to achieve this. I hope to enrich the vocabulary that people use when they talk about medical students. Why be concerned with this? Because it is time to expand words used in describing a medical student.

When I attend events centered around digital and I introduce myself as a medical student I look strange. I am a stranger who is not supposed to be here. The reaction is clear. That is why I am concerned. Another reason is because we have been marginalized to certain things. When everyone talks about digital nobody remembers we can plug the power of digital into our health sector. Whatever new description you get from this I will want you to use it very well.

Questioning what we believe is difficult at the best of times, and especially difficult when we need to do it personally, but we can benefit from informed decision of others. The common words synonymous to medical students years back are bookworms, nerds, antisocial amidst a few. But gradually we have been on a surge that peaked in the last few years. The revolution to be described differently peaked this year in my own class. I will share some of the revolutions.

My classmates and few friends in other medical colleges are now introduced differently from what it used to be. Examples are, Tosin; a medical student and an entrepreneur, Progress; a medical student and a social entrepreneur, Omooba; a medical student and a blogger, and for few like myself the new description comes first before the introduction as a medical student. In fact, these days we do not want to be introduced as a medical student. We do not want that to define our entire youthful age. And if not been questioned appropriately many prefer to use their new description. I’m Tosin, an entrepreneur.


“Progress Agboola is a global health enthusiast, social innovator and medical doctor in training with over three years experience working on social impact projects and initiatives across Nigeria covering adolescent sexual reproductive health, HIV Prevention research, health financing and gender equality. Progress is a convening space working group member of the Global Health Workforce Network (GHWN) Youth Hub at the World Health Organization. He is part of the selected advocates for the Africa Free of New HIV Infections (AfNHi) Youth Cohort. He has been recognized as a 2017 fellow of Barack Obama Young African Leaders initiative (YALI), IFMSA 2019 delegate to World Health Assembly at Geneva Switzerland, 2019 Fellow of the Young Professionals Bootcamp, A Kectil 2018 colleague, Alumnus of Common Purpose UK, Youth Ambassador at International Youth Society”.
Facebook- Progress Agboola
LinkedIn- Progress Agboola
Twitter- progress_md
Instagram- progress_md

Personally, we are as surprised as everyone around. There is a paradigm shift from who we used to be to who we are now. I gathered a few reasons for this quest for revolution. I asked few of my colleagues why they started what they are doing now. I consulted myself why I have chosen to be doing what I am doing.

“In my 2nd year in medical school, there was an industrial strike action of about 6 months which was the period I used to discover myself more. I understood things I was passionate about and I became deliberate about it by volunteering, attending conferences and networking with colleagues and mentors that guided me in harnessing my potentials and in leveraging on opportunities to advance my growth. I strongly believe that as Medical students we are not too busy or young to make a difference and to contribute our quota in actualizing Sustainable Development Goal 3 by the year 2030. The Future of work is evolving so fast and as medical students we need to be well positioned and equip our selves with necessary skills and knowledge so that we won’t be left behind and to be able to compete globally. The bigger picture for me, is not just to be confined to the four walls of the hospital but to explore further in designing sustainable interventions that will save the lives of people and enacting policies that will influence the lives of millions positively”.


One major reason is that there is a containment that medical school brings that everyone is not comfortable with anymore. Medical school is busy and challenging. That is true. But we are making extra efforts to break out of that excuse less we reduce our lives to only bookworms. Medical school could be depressing. Apart from the joy of seeing patients’ smile and joy coming from passion for Medicine and personal motivation there is little or no source of happiness in the school. From morning reviews to ward rounds to call duties, the whole day could be rough and the cycle continues everyday. It is mentally draining sometimes. There are good days, but in total you are barely praying for a good day everyday. The scoreboard is another depressing board. The knowing that results of exams are coming out is crippling. In the midst of these, everyone decided to find a new description. If things are depressing with the name medical student I can shift into being a social entrepreneur for that moment. It is way out of depression. It is a way of finding a love. Many people started doing things outside Medicine as hobbies before it became something they really wanted to be describe with.


“Sule Oluwatitomi is presently a medical student at LAUTECH. He is majorly into drawing but as a side view, he loves singing. He works on improving himself daily by taking active participation in challenges online and online courses as well. He is also a self-employed Android web developer. Why have I chosen to engage myself in drawing? Well for the most part, he sees art as being therapeutic because he is someone that does not think he is enough making him bury himself in it. He sees art as gently opening up his cover spread and peeping to see what others are doing and it is where he gets to open up too. And lastly, showing everyone that in everything there is a tint of beauty even in his incompleted art. His work can be viewed on his Instagram account. https://www.instagram.com/doc_titos/”.

Overtime, everyone saw they could do more with their mental capacity. Everyone saw they could get another life degree while investing six years for MBBS certificate. It is running two different courses concurrently. It is demanding, but everyone has made up their minds to pay the sacrifices. While in school people are picking up entrepreneurship skills. I could tell you many of my classmates can compete with business management students. They might not get an hard copy certificate but they have experience certificates. My classmates are picking up entrepreneurship books and reading it. My classmates have businesses. I once built a mini media company with few of my classmates. Even though it failed after two years, we learnt. We earned a certificate from life experience. The point everyone has seen is that we can maximize our 6 years getting MBBS certificate and other certificates. I run online courses. By the time we are graduating, we are not coming out of school with MBBS alone.

“Imagine your license is withdrawn as a medical practitioner and you can’t practice anymore. What would be left of you? Of course, if you have been opportuned to be under training as a medical doctor, you definitely owe it your all. It is your primary assignment and it’s of uttermost importance that you take it as priority. Beyond being a medical doctor, what other value can you offer to people around you? I don’t pray so, but what if you license suddenly gets withdrawn, will you then become valueless? The world is constantly revolving and developing. The people that matter and will yet continually remain relevant are those who have been able to successfully identify a need in their society and are on the go to meet that need. Coming to realise this over the years, I decided to revive the business.This will serve as an inspiration to me that I have capacity to do much more as far as I can imagine.It will also serve as inspiration to other medics outside there who has abilities that are dying in them”.

There are various reasons that we would need to call for a summit to discuss them. Students have seen loopholes in the healthcare system of the country. We are not taught leadership in school, but we are expected to head a medical team, how do we do that? We build ourselves personally. We are not taught emotional intelligence in school, but we expected to break sad news to people the best possible way, how do we do that? We develop ourselves personally. Some of these loopholes are the stimulating factors driving this revolution. If this revolution do not happen, in few years time we will not have the necessary skills to compete with our colleagues outside school.


“My name is OmoobaJesu Adetunji, my friends call me Omooba (Or-moh-bah). I am a 4th year medical student who enjoys reading and writing. Those are by far my two favorite things to do, which is why blogging came naturally to me. I started blogging in twenty-fourteen mostly for self expression. Now my blog has morphed into a place where I share ideas on life and living and also document my journey through medical school. The latter part of which is cathartic for me. I often describe my blog as a med student’s hub, because I believe in the power of stories, how much more alike we are than we care to admit and how we can inspire, motivate and empower one another through vulnerability. I also believe in the power of one so as long as I get to reach one person and help them in whatever way, I am content and happy”.

Blog address: www.omoobaadetunji.com
Twitter: @helloomooba
Instagram: @omoobaadetunji

The revolution is not a form of distraction. It is surprising to know we are doing better in school as a result of this. We are driving depression away. Everyone is finding a definition of themselves. Everyone is happy.

“I’m Afolabi Aderonke Christianah(DR BAKER). I have acquired this skills of baking for the past 6years. Over the years, I realised that medical school is structured in a way that it doesn’t give room for any other thing except you create time for that other thing. The tension alone can make you give up whatever you are supposed to do.The funniest part of it is that after sacrificing so much, you will realise you could have multitask those things with your academics such that none will suffer and you will still do excellently in all. Multitasking is not easy but a life of a typical medical student is wired to be stressful meaning you can’t run away from stress,you will always have something to do at every minute”.
IG; @-DrBaker

We can be contacted whenever you want to use any of these new words to describe a medical student.


Author: ADERINTO Nicholas
Email: [email protected]
LinkedIn: Nicholas ADERINTO

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