Jane Macnaughton writes: Durham University Senior Common Rooms have nothing like this! I am sitting on the veranda of St George’s University Staff Club in Grenada looking out over a bay filled with expensive looking large yachts bobbing on a deep blue Caribbean sea.
I am here to give the address to the year one starting medical students at their White Coat Ceremony. These ceremonies are catching on throughout the US and have been adopted here at St George’s because of its traditional link to the US medical education system. At the event, a keynote speaker gives the students a rousing professional call to arms to get them thinking about what it means to join the medical profession. My theme was – no surprise – drawn from medical humanities, and I reminded the students that when they put on their white coats they should not ‘take off’ themselves: not neglect their own personal development within the all consuming busyness of medicine.
Afterwards, I had the importance of work life balance confirmed by none other than the Chancellor and founder of the University, Dr Charles Modica. St George’s, based as it is on the small Island country of Grenada (population 500,000), relies very much on the input of academic faculty from other countries and the students progress to their clinical studies at medical placements mainly in the US, but also in the UK. In order to co-ordinate this, the University hosts a 10 day meeting of clinical colleagues at these placements each March. Dr Modica was complaining that this group needed to take more vacation time while they were in Grenada and have some fun! There is no doubt that our visit to Grenada had a strong element of fun (see images). As we toured around, visited beaches and chocolate plantations (tasting as we went) there was a lot of colour; people seemed happy despite fairly low material wealth. Perhaps the key to the question of human flourishing that we are seeking at CMH is sunshine mixed with a loud and joyous calypso beat.