In the latest phase of their training, students at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar (WCM-Q) had to deal with the world’s most interesting and most unpredictable patients – young children.

The third year medical students attended the clinical orientation week which incorporates the annual Cornell Stars event – to prepare them to start their full-time clinical courses (clerkships). This involves faculty and staff members at WCM-Q bringing in their own children so that the medical students can learn the best techniques for examining children in a clinical setting.

The event offers students first-hand experience with interacting and examining babies, toddlers and children not older than seven years old. The examinations are all held in the WCM-Q Clinical Skills and Simulation Lab, which features a number of realistic mock clinics.

Dr Amal Khidir, associate professor of paediatrics, and organiser of the Cornell Stars programme, said the annual event is a valuable learning opportunity for students, demonstrating that children and adults make for very different patients and encounters. For example, examining a child may involve encouragement from the physician, help from the parent, but also a willingness to be opportunistic and flexible on the part of the doctor.

We are trying to give our students the chance to experience what it’s like to engage a child and perform a basic physical examination of a child, and also to pass on hints and tips that may help with that examination. For example, we show the students how to keep the children calm, maybe let the children listen to their own hearts through the stethoscope, and generally build up rapport with them.

We want them to learn how to negotiate, communicate and be creative in engaging the children and their caregiver in a relaxed environment.’

The examinations were all overseen by experienced doctors from WCM-Q, Hamad Medical Corporation and Sidra.

For more information about WCM-Q and the Cornell Stars programme, visit