Four unexpected things I learned from medical school

Four unexpected things I learned from medical school

By H. Young

Updated April 15, 2023 Updated April 15

Beyond the ability to successfully diagnose patients and provide the care they need to get better, medical school has taught Baurzhan some unexpected lessons too.

Studying medicine can be intense. We study hard to understand the vast breadth of theoretical and practical skills needed to become a medical professional and help people with a variety of conditions. On top of studying, we work long shifts to put our knowledge into practice in a medical setting, gaining crucial experience in the field.  

But beyond the ability to successfully diagnose patients and provide the care they need to get better, studying at JSC South Kazakhstan Medical Academy has taught me some unexpected lessons too. Things I like to think will make me a more rounded medical professional when I graduate. 

Public speaking 

public speaking


From presenting group work in front of class to speaking at international scientific conferences, I’ve had numerous opportunities to learn the nerve-wracking skill of public speaking. I didn’t think part of my medical training would be learning to speak confidently in front of others, but being able to show my thoughts and ideas and put across my argument successfully will give me credibility as a professional.  

Joining the debate club at my university taught me that there is no losing side when arguing a topic. It’s all about selecting the best arguments to outshine the opponent, which will be beneficial to me in the future as a doctor when I might need to persuade a patient to agree to medical treatment or a prescription. Plus, when working with colleagues it will help me to motivate others and to help each other to cope with the mental and emotional challenges that come with working in medicine.   

Team work


team work

Working in medicine means liaising with a variety of people, from doctors and nurses to psychologists, occupational therapists and lots of other experts in healthcare. Then there are the patients! At university, we’re often asked to work in groups to deliver a presentation or project with each person working on a different element and with different skills.  

This has taught me where my skills are valuable and how to learn from others with different skills. I’ve also learned that you must find a common language to find the best outcome when working with others. Being able to work with lots of different people will help me to find the best care for my patients, whatever their health problems.  

Work hard play hard


work hard

In medicine, there are many days when you need to complete several important tasks, not only for study but in your work too. On top of the assignments, placements and part time jobs, I also have to find time for my personal life. The best skill I’ve learned is to plan my day so I get everything done on time, and then I can go and enjoy myself.  

It’s important to relax in between all the hard work, because it helps me to switch off and come back fresh tomorrow. I love going to the city arboretum with my friends and just breathing in the fresh air. If I need to release some energy, we’ll go to the karaoke club where we dance and sing all night.  


As a doctor, I might work with people from all walks of life who have different barriers when it comes to accessing or even understanding health problems. Having compassion for the difficulties my patients are dealing with is an important part of caring for others and will enable me to understand where some of those issues are coming from too.  

At the same time, it’s important not to take your patient’s problems home with you, especially when dealing with sometimes traumatic situations. Being able to leave your patients in the capable hands of your medical colleagues means you can relax and unwind when you’re off duty, and you can tackle the problem afresh when you go back to work. I learned to be compassionate from my summer placements across hospitals in Shymkent, where I shadowed the doctors and saw their understanding and empathy for their patients.  


I’m thankful that I’ll leave JSC South Kazakhstan Medical Academy with the skills I need to become a well-rounded medical professional when I graduate. Plus, I’ve gained lots of skills that will help me throughout life.  

This article was originally published in April 2023 .

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