CSMC Eye Clinic 2022

We have all struggled to maintain a semblance of normalcy during the pandemic.  Like most institutions, Cardinal Santos Medical Center went through the hardships  of dealing with Covid cases, the lack of Ophtha cases and the  Great Uncertainty. We found ourselves trying to just survive then later on push ourselves to adapt to the new times. With the closure of our Out-Patient Department and duty schedule adjusted to skeletal mode, we benefited from having time to attend most zoom lectures.  Suddenly, our residents can now attend local as well as international lectures.

We welcomed the PREx  (formerly OPEX) with some  trepidation. Although the residents lacked clinical experience, we hoped that the many lectures and time off would surely make up for it. We were not expecting the shocking results of the PREx.

Learning was overwhelming and chaotic for these poor residents who were also dealing with all the distractions and the emotional stresses from the ongoing pandemic. The usual formula was not working for us so we needed to do things differently. We needed to do a “skills transfer” of the Consultants‘ knowledge and experience to our residents in a concise manner that will highlight all that is important then guide them to diagnose cases on their own. We wanted to help them connect the dots and focus their attention to what is most important. We needed to do this to fast track their knowledge and make up for all that they lost due to the Pandemic.  Hence, the birth of our CSMC Eye Campus 2022.

The CSMC Eye Campus is a 12-week course. The aim of the program is to develop critical thinking and instill lifelong learning in our residents. We wanted to strengthen their basic knowledge, sharpen clinical acumen, and develop their confidence knowing that they are at par with the rest of the world. We wanted to  create a “virtual “ learning  that would simulate seeing patients real time. We adopted a stepwise approach. The first part, basic anatomy and physiology, was akin to ”hand holding“.  The next step gradually let them progress to making them take steps on their own.  The last part was to stimulate them to study on their own to catch up to what the rest of the world is doing. We wanted  a course that was not just basic and clinical but would be akin to a mini postgraduate course.

We allotted a week per subspecialty so that they can focus on just one subspecialty per week. This was to focus their attention and decrease distractions. Each subspecialty Chief was tasked to to teach Basic Anatomy and Physiology in a correlative way. This was then followed by  clinical application by presenting cases incorporating Preferred Practice Patterns and Evidence Based Ophthalmology. To spur their interest, we progressed to what is cutting edge and current concepts.  Our Course was a hybrid of on demand lectures and Live lectures. This setup, adopted from the PAO,  allowed them to listen and go back as many times as needed in order to understand and master the basics. The live lectures tackled clinical cases presented in an interactive way.

From just being available to our own CSMC residents and to two Institutions, we decided to open theCSMC Eye Clinic 2022 Course to whoever wanted to join. We were surprised  that we breached 150 attendees during some Live Lectures. We even received requests to join from residents overseas.

We thank  Cardinal Santos Medical Center admin for providing technical support and  all the attendees and our industry partners for gracing our 6-week Course . We are beyond  grateful and thankful to all the speakers, both local and international, from our institutions and other institutions, who have selflessly given their time and shared their expertise. We thank our Chairman Dr. Tony Say for his support and participation, our Chief of Sections who all became Program Directors for  their subspecialty, our Junior Consultants: Drs. Ivan Tecson and Marco Figueras who worked tirelessly to ensure that everything went on smoothly, and all our residents for moderating all the live lectures.

The CSMC Eye Clinic 2022 has shown us that although not perfect,  great things can be accomplished if we all get together. The Pandemic was devastating but also provided us an opportunity to make things better than before.   As of this writing the feedback has been very good but only time will tell if we will achieve what we set out to do when our young colleagues graduate and practice as the next generation ophthalmologists.

Dr. Ma. Rebecca Abes-Servera, MD  better known as “Dra. Rica”, has 20 years of experience in the field of Ophthalmology. She completed her ophthalmology residency training in the University of Santo Tomas Hospital and undertook her pediatrics and strabismus fellowship training in Children’s National Medical Center, George Washington University, USA. She was president of the Philippine Society of Pediatric Ophthalmology in 2010 to 2012 and is currently the residency training officer of the Department of Ophthalmology in Cardinal Santos Medical Center, the chief of section of the Pediatrics and Strabismus of Cardinal Santos and Ospital ng Makati.

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