by Mike Pearson
For Laraib Sehrish, practising medicine is more than just dispensing medication and analysing x-rays and blood samples.As an aspiring physician, Sehrish hopes to connect with her patients on a more personal level.
“I don’t want to be a physician that just checks the patient, looks at their x-rays or looks at their blood results and just prescribes them medication,” said Sehrish, 23. “I want to be able to talk to them; I want to be able to connect with them.”
Sehrish, who spent her formative years in Stoney Creek, has embarked on an academic journey to the Caribbean nation of Grenada. She has just enrolled in her first year of medical school at St. George’s University, near the island’s southern coast.
Originally from Pakistan, Sehrish came to Canada in 2007 with her parents and three brothers. She completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology last year at McMaster University.
Before arriving in Grenada on Jan. 2, Sehrish entered an online video contest adjudicated by the Admissions Committee at St. George’s University.
Featuring short clips of patients undergoing life-changing medical procedures, Sehrish’s video underscores the importance of empathy in medicine. In November, St. George’s University announced that Sehrish was among those selected to receive a $10,000 scholarship.
Sehrish learned a great deal about empathy while accompanying her mother – who is living with lupus – on various medical appointments.
“Lupus is the kind of disease that’s very unpredictable, and it is not just revolving around your body systems, it is also your lifestyle, the stress levels and how much you sleep,” said Sehrish.
“Empathy is one of the most important, if not the most important thing in medicine, because you need to understand where your patient is coming from.”
Sehrish also believes strongly in the importance of physical fitness.
“For me, if I’m going to become a doctor, I need to be able to connect to a person, understand where they’re coming from, putting myself in their shoes, understanding their emotional health and prescribing them and talking to them, and working with them like a therapist,” said Sehrish.
Sehrish is considering a specialty in Physiatry, a field that includes physicians who specialise in physical medicine and rehabilitation. After her two years at St. George’s, she plans to complete a clinical placement in the United States. If everything goes according to plans, she would then return to Canada to complete her medical residency.
She’s currently getting accustomed to her new surroundings and meeting students and faculty on the St. George’s University campus.
“There’s beautiful beaches here and the campus is beautiful,” said Sehrish.
After researching St. George’s University, Sehrish was impressed by the school, its faculty and its student support network.
“They make sure that we are successful, so they provide a lot of options for students who are struggling or students who might think they might not be successful,” said Sehrish.
“I think that the main focus is you have to be responsible yourself. As long as you work hard in this school you’re bound to be successful, you’re bound to get good grades and you’re bound to get a job after (graduation). You just have to be on top of things and you have to be very responsible on your own.”
(Mike Pearson is Editor of the Stoney Creek News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)