Student Surgical Association of Hong Kong

Surgical Taster Day 2015

Day 1 at The University of Hong Kong

SSAHK is proud to present its first Surgical Taster Day, a two-day surgical exposure programme for secondary school students. Over 110 secondary school students, from both international and local schools in Hong Kong and U.K., participated in this event.

Day one took place at the medical campus of The University of Hong Kong. The day commenced with sharing sessions by Professor Stephen Cheng, president of CSHK and Dr. Samuel Kwok. Professor Cheng described the different qualities of surgeons as well as their career paths after an approximate seven years of speciality training. Professor Cheng spoke of a traditional belief ‘big surgeon, big wound,’ where the older generation generally believe that surgeries will result in big wounds and scars, however this is an old belief. With technological advancements, laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgeries have made small wound or wound-free surgeries possible. Dr. Kwok introduced us to the various specialties in the surgical field. Many of our participants were surprised to learn about the idea of sub-specialties, such as hepatobiliary and urology surgeons. Dr. Kwok also explained the differences between private and public sectors, which is ties in with Professor Cheng’s sharing on career paths.

In the afternoon, students had their first taste of suturing and knot tying at our suturing workshops as well as problem-based learning (PBL) at our trial sessions. In the introductory suturing workshops, we were pleased to invite a few surgeons from CSHK to teach our secondary school participants basic techniques, including hand-tie, instrument tie and interrupted sutures. The aim of our suturing workshops was to provide participants with some hands-on experience into surgery. Each participant remained very focused throughout the session as they slowly learnt how to suture together an open wound on an artificial skin pad. Some participants even related their suturing experience with one of their previous injuries.

Problem-based learning is an interactive mode of learning adopted by the HKU medical school, where it aims to enhance medical education through real-life scenarios. During the PBL session, students’ problem-solving, analytical and application skills were challenged. Despite their limited knowledge in medicine, most students were able to fully comprehend the case based on past experiences with their family doctors or hospitals. This closely mirrors the learning of medical students, where, aside from classroom knowledge, past experiences and their ability to apply them to other situations play a fundamental role in education. In addition to PBL, students also enjoyed talking to their group leaders after completing the PBL case. Group leaders, who were mostly preclinical medical students, share with our participants their joys and hardships in medical schools.

Day 2 at The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Surgical Taster Day continued on Day Two at the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The morning again was packed with lively sharing by renowned guest speakers, shedding light on pieces and bits of details in what surgeon’s life holds. The morning began with Professor C. F. Ng’s illustration of “what surgery is” using urology as an example. The lively illustrations using themes and parallels from “The Avengers” by Professor Ng cleverly showcased what he thought to be few quintessential qualities of being a surgeon: a keen mind, a pair of dexterous hands, and a pure heart. Dr. M. K. Yiu, also an exceptional urology surgeon, spoke to our students from a different perspective. With highlights of more personals realms that is beyond the purely medical aspect of a surgeon’s life, Dr. Yiu has shared with us the challenges and hurdles he faced not just as a surgeon but also as a person that is engulfed by this demanding specialty. Mr. Pasu Ng concluded the morning session by introducing to us all what the “Silent Teachers” program is all about, with notable mentions of stories and testimonies from expectant “silent teachers” as well as from their kin and friends. The morning ended with us grasping a slightly more profound appreciation of life and death, and an ineffable gratitude for those who signed up for the program for their selfless sacrifices.

In the afternoon, we continued with an intensive 3-hour “Introduction to Common Surgeries” session. As the name of the session implies, the afternoon spent at the Dissection Laboratory was an introduction to our students some basics of several different specialties of Surgery. 10 stations, with 10 different topics, each stationed by a few clinical year medical students, and with only 10 minutes, we have attempted to demonstrate what these students could expect in their journeys to a surgical path. In the short span of three hours, our students had a glimpse into what surgery is really about, and was it challenging? Without a doubt. But hopefully, it hadn’t deterred them from pursuing this special calling that awaits them.

The finale of the day was the closing ceremony, conducted by our President, Mr. Tommy K. H. Lai. Closing with a photo story, capturing every blissful moments our students had in those two days, President Lai sent off the students ending with an encouraging farewell, wishing every success in their long journey ahead.

Last updated: July 21, 2015