St. Matthew’s ‘Ivanites’ graduate

The St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine class which started just days before Hurricane Ivan ripped through Grand Cayman graduated last Saturday.

More than 100 students received their diplomas at the commencement exercise at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, while nearly 100 more students were degree candidates in absentia.

St. Matthew’s Chief Academic Officer Dr. Gordon Green spoke about the attributes the students would need as they started their careers as doctors.

‘To be an effective physician, it is crucial that you know what you know, that you know what you don’t know and that you are not afraid to ask or say three simple words that are seldom heard these days: ‘I don’t know’. I would follow that up with ‘I’ll find out’, but that’s me.’

Dr. Green said it was estimated that 100,000 people die in the United States each year due to medical errors, 70 per cent of which are attributable to problems in either communication or leadership.

‘My point is that your success as compassionate physician will depend as much on the extent to which you communicate effectively with your colleagues and patients and coordinate their care, as it will on your medical knowledge, technical skill or even bedside manner,’ he said.

The Commencement Address was delivered by Dr. Lynn Eckhert, director for academic programs with Harvard Medical International.

Dr. Eckhert reminded the students that being a physician meant that their learning was not over because medical knowledge, technology and procedures were progressing constantly.

‘It means that you will still be studying far into the future and as long as you have a career in medicine,’ she said.

‘Your graduating from medical school is just one more step in your education, for you will need to keep up with the current state of medicine in your area of expertise.’

St. Matthew’s Dean of Clinical Sciences Dr. John Randall said he was proud of the graduating class, many members of which had to go to study in Maine after Hurricane Ivan, until repairs to the dormitories and campus here could be made.

‘You probably could be called Ivanites,’ he said.