Editor's note: This film is no longer available online.

By Sasha Djurkovic and Alex Niakaris

Each year more than half-a-million medical students graduate around the world. Their decisions as doctors can make the difference between life and death, so how they are trained is vital to patients and the success of the health system they serve.

The things that go into making a good doctor: You have to know your stuff. You have to work hard; you have to recognise you are never going to be done learning; you have to be able to put the needs of others above yourself. ...You have to have empathy.

Dr Simon Oczkowski, Intensive Care Unit at Hamilton General Hospital, Ontario

This film follows young trainee doctors at one of the most innovative medical schools in the world, at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, for a year.  

Founded in 1965, McMaster virtually abolished lectures and pioneered "problem-based learning", which encourages students to find answers for themselves. Small teams of students are presented with weekly case studies that they have to resolve under supervision.

With an emphasis on early patient contact, students are taught the importance of good communication and why they must always put the patient first.

This style of teaching aims to prepare students for the continual challenge of keeping up with the latest advances in medical knowledge, and it has now been taken up by schools around the world.

But what makes a good doctor? What are the challenges of being a medical student in Canada? And how can young doctors be prepared to make difficult life-or-death decisions?

This film follows young trainee doctors at different stages of their three-year medical programme at McMaster Medical School, and Dr Simon Oczkowski in the Intensive Care Unit at Hamilton General Hospital in Ontario. A graduate of McMaster University and now a young consultant in charge of the ICU, we find out how his training has prepared him for the daily challenges he is facing.


Source: Al Jazeera