First-year medical students at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) reaped the benefits of the new curriculum’s emphasis on early introduction to physicianship skills when they visited HMC Heart Hospital to perform cardiac examinations on real patients.

WCM-Q’s innovative new curriculum has been designed to give students opportunities to see real patients under careful supervision almost from the beginning of their training, in contrast with traditional programmes, which leave actual interaction with patients at latter stages.

A key element of providing early clinical experiences is WCM-Q’s strong collaborative relationship with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), where WCM-Q students take many of their clinical rotations, in which they spend time learning with experienced and gifted HMC physicians in different hospital departments.

This year’s cohort of first-year WCM-Q students are the first to experience the new curriculum, which was launched in September last year. The visit to Hamad Medical Corporation’s Heart Hospital now forms part of the Health, Illness and Disease course that WCM-Q students take in the second semester of the first year of the Medical Programme. Working closely with HMC is crucial for providing WCM-Q students with world-class training to enable them become the next generation of doctors serving the community of Qatar and beyond.

During the one-day visit, 38 students worked in pairs to meet with patients, take their medical history and perform a clinical cardiac examination. This entailed taking the patient’s pulse, using the stethoscope to listen to their breathing and heartbeat, and then taking blood pressure measurement. They then wrote up their notes and present the case to a senior HMC cardiologist.

Dr Liam Fernyhough, Assistant Professor of Medicine at WCM-Q, accompanied the students to the hospital to guide the learning experience and supervise the examinations. He said that one of the key strengths of the new curriculum is that it maximises the amount of time the students have to develop core clinical skills and help make the material they have been learning in the classroom relevant and memorable. This not only makes for extremely effective learning experiences but also gives the students a great boost in morale.

We are very grateful to HMC and the patients who have so generously accommodated our students to make this learning experience possible.’

WCM-Q offers an integrated six-year Medical Programme consisting of a two-year Premedical Curriculum and a four-year Medical Curriculum. Students who successfully complete the programme are awarded a full US-accredited MD degree.

Student Toqa Afifi said this was the first time they had the chance to put their stethoscopes to good use.

It was really an exciting moment for us to be able to apply in real life what we have learned in the classroom. We are very grateful to the patients for allowing us to examine them.’

HMC’s Associate Director of Medical Education, Dr Maggie Allen, said HMC is delighted to offer WCM-Q students such important learning opportunities in their early clinical years. She said that the Heart Hospital preceptor team led by Dr Salma S Ibnouf, worked hard to ensure a rewarding clinical experience for the students.  She added that the activity will be followed by a further three such Preceptorship visits within the medical wards of Hamad General Hospital in the coming months.

For more information on WCM-Q’s Medical Programme, log on to their website at