The Role of the Student Rep

The job of student representative at a hospital for any posting is viewed [rightly so] as pure saigang. The selection of one is often arbitrary.

Example 1: For J.’s CGH general surgery rotation, the doctor-in-charge asked, “Who’s from ACS?” and the only unfortunate student from ACS became student rep.
Example 2: For J.’s first clinical posting, they asked “Who are the clinical group reps?”. When J. reluctantly put up his hand, the tutor pointed to him (one of 4) and said, “You’re the overall rep.”

Few are the ones who volunteer, and good on them (the crazy bastards). What exactly does the rep do?

The rep is the one everyone turns to to find out about lecture/large group tutorial timings. He has to ensure that venues are booked and tutorials confirmed (preferably, for his sanity, by making sure that others have done it instead of doing everything himeslf). At the same time, he must put the entire schedule together, minimising the clash of tutorials both with other large group tutorials as well as the individual clinical groups.

It’s not entirely a pleasant job, particular for ones with an eye on finishing Kumar & Clark by the entire of the posting… twice.

In essence, the rep is the saigang warrior, the coordinator, the one who keeps in touch with tutors and delegates tasks accordingly. Let’s be honest here, guys, the rep is not a leader, he is a slave to the greater good. The rep has no authority, he serves the student community in that hospital.

Example of a Poor Student Rep (Rumoured):

Rumour has it that in an established northern hospital, a chap volunteered for the task of student rep (wow! does he really want to serve, or are motivations more complicated). Henceforth, he would only contact tutors the day to arrange tutorials before without consulting any of the other two clinical groups (3 CGs in one hospital) regarding their schedules.

After arranging the tutorials in abovesaid manner (i.e. selfish), he would send SMSes to one member of the other groups. Unfortunately, he supposedly refused to send the SMSes to the other two clinical CG reps, insisting on messaging two of his closer friends and associates from before because of the convenience of using frequently-used numbers on his phone. It wouldn’t have been so bad, if the two said friends had consistently informed their groups above the tutorials, which they didn’t. Hard to blame them, too, unless the SMSes had specifically said: “Tell your group.”

One day, one of the groups had to return to NUS for a patient simulator on the day a 3-CG tutorial was arranged. One of the members approached StudentRepDude and said, “Eh, we’ve got SimMan today, but if the tutorial were changed by 1-2 hours, we can make it back on time. Can you contact Dr TutorialGiver and ask if he’s willing to change? If he cannot, then you all go ahead bah.”

Rumour has it that StudentRepDude flatly refused to call back another time. So OtherMember thought, “Never mind, I call.” and called Dr TutorialGiver herself. As luck would have it, Dr TutorialGiver was quite understanding and rescheduled the tutorial by an hour.

Allegedly, StudentRepDude was incensed and called OtherMember to scream and shout over the phone at her. Strong language and terms like “undermining my authority” were used.

If the above is true, this is one pathetic, pathetic student rep, and hopefully everyone will avoid doing similar things. Remember, being a student rep allows one to serve the student community and doesn’t make you a king. There’s no renumeration, just the gratitude (hopefully) of the students for a job well done.

P.S. J.’s CG gave him a durian roll from Angie’s with a card at the end of his stint. Very surprised, he was, very touched.


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