Encounters of the "Dean" Kind 5/06/2008 04:08:00 PM

[Taken from the Frindster site of CIM with the original captions: Recognize the white figure inside the library? ]

Our newly retired Dean, Dr. Josefina L Poblete has been a defining icon of sorts for all of us graduates of the Cebu Institute of Medicine ever since she has been at the helm of our medical education. She's one of those persons who leave an impression on you. I think it can be summed up by this one thing comment I remember in a conversation with her daughter, Dr. Poblete-Chan, who was then my Problem-Based Learning (PBL) group preceptor when she asked me, "Are you (referring to me and my groupmates) uncomfortable with me just because I'm the daughter of your dean?" I have never felt uncomfortable around Dr. Poblete-Chan, but her mother makes you uncomfortable when she's around just because you know that she is dead serious that she wants you to become THE "Physician With a Heart"

I remember a panel interview with her and the deans of the other local medical schools as part of the application for the regionalization program of the UP College of Medicine (I never pushed through with applying there due to non-compliance with a requirement though). She was the only panelist I remember who rarely ventured a smile throughout the interview.

Everyone was always careful when she was around. Maybe it's because she has the tendency of spotting something awry with one's uniform (i.e. too short skirts for females, wearing earrings for males). She would tell it exactly to your face when you did something wrong/inappropriate/not to her liking. She also makes you want to be somewhere else when she was around. Interns (senior clerks in local parlance), PGI's (post-graduate interns), and residents literally disappear from the OPD's hallway when they spot her coming through the door from a mile away.

One time, at our stay-in community rotation, she caught one of my co-interns walking around sans uniform in the primary care center. She saw him running into the male quarters to hide, so she went right up there to talk to him, ask him why he was running and to give him a piece about being properly dressed when assigned to the center and not to loiter there when not on duty.

Another time, at the same community rotation, she noticed that I buttoned my smock. She really came up to me and told me to unbutton the smock as it is more becoming to look at us in uniform that way. I was quite taken aback. I am until now still uncomfortable with buttoning my now long-sleeved resident's white coat.

For an entire two weeks, in my internal medicine rotation, our sub-group was on our toes when she was house consultant and would annouce house rounds almost daily, and even a surprise ward rounds on a Sunday morning which caught even the house resident by surprise.

Charity cases were presented to her on a one-on-one basis directly by the interns for her approval. You never know whether she would focus on the socio-economic background of the patient in question or the intricacies of the treatment modalities the patient would be subjected to. I had the misfortune to once present to her the only charity case which to my knowledge was unapproved (mostly through the lack of foresight of the admitting resident, and the lot just falling onto me to present the case). I felt like dying on the spot when she said the words, "..., and that's why I'm not going to approve this case!"

One thing that I do appreciate is her effort to help us learn to practice medicine in an ethical manner through lectures, though I guess it has sometimes fallen into deaf ears. I also appreciate her emphasis on modesty and dressing in a manner in which people would regard you with more respect, which a lot of my peers have tended to disregard.

There are people you won't forget your entire life. Dean Poblete is exactly on one of these people in my life.

7 other thoughts:

Anonymous said...

JA, this write-up is full of so much vivid detail about Dean Poblete that I feel like I almost know her! (and I don't)
I am sure she will appreciate this tribute from you. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with her.
And to Dr. Poblete, if you do get the chance to read this, Mabuhay po kayo at lahat ng mga gurong katulad niyo!

MerryCherry, MD said...

I hope Dr. Poblete gets to read this one!

I love your anecdotes, very detailed and vivid. :)

Got meloinks? said...

Hi, JA. Is your Dr. Poblete related to Dra. Poblete, the Pedia Dept Head of St. Luke's Medical Center. Oh my, it seems they have the same traits. FYI, Dra. Poblete of St. Luke's once appeared in a tv commercial.

Got meloinks? said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

TBR-9 Roundup is up. Thanks for participating!

Joey said...

This is a great tribute! Reminds me of my (tor)MENTOR (emphasis on the mentor) who imparted a lot of life lessons even through my fear of him.

I'd like to invite you to participate in TBR10. I'll be hosting. Theme is "The Doctor's Family". Call of articles here.

J.A. said...

got meloinks?, I really don't know if they are related... By marriage in the least since Poblete is her married surname...