THE Covid-19 pandemic has failed to hinder the dreams and aspirations of the University of St. La Salle - College of Medicine (USLS-COM) Batch Astra students who succeeded in completing their medical studies through online learnings.
On its 15th year that the University of St. La Salle - College of Medicine ushered in its Crystal Batch - the Class of 2021 which composes a new group of students, bearing different strengths and stories who came together to face and conquer the fire that makes the USLS-COM the perfect training ground for future doctors that will surely shine like stars in the field of medicine.
Sixty-one young students under Batch Astra have put smiles on the faces of their parents and family, schools, and the community, after they successfully graduated on July 30, 2021, at the height of the second hit of the Covid-19 pandemic. They triumphantly handed down their respective diplomas to their proud parents as a reward for their love and commitment to supporting them until they reached the finish line of their education and chosen field of profession.
Elmor Gicaro III, the batch representative has shared the mixed emotions that they felt after enduring the challenges of the medical course, given the fact the Covid-19 pandemic has restrained the people's freedom to be physically present in most of the daily undertakings done outside of their homes. They mostly completed their school requirements at the confines of their homes with the aid of online classes. And that health care is also a big challenge with the invasion of the Covid-19 that rendered everyone helpless. The Batch Astra believes the challenge was centered on the entire healthcare system and not the medical profession.
The health care system is in the limelight right now because of the Covid-19 pandemic. And amidst the current circumstances, "we were able to identify multiple areas that we need to enhance such as sufficient facilities and the safety of our healthcare workers. So, we would like to use these challenges as our foundation to build a stronger and healthier Filipino healthcare in the future." As health has become the major priority of the government and families, the Batch Astra believes that each member of their batch has their way of preparing for the challenges that await them. "But, what we can agree on is to always keep an open mind to new information and embrace every opportunity to learn both principles and procedures because, in medicine, it is our knowledge and skills that will draw the line between life and death."
Furthermore, as aspiring doctors, they will always give value to the medical profession. But with the current situation of Covid-19, it is only natural that they will value the choice that they made in entering and pursuing this path even greater because it is a profession wherein they can change a person’s life literally and they fervently hope that they can be a worthy source of healing and hope for their future patients.
When asked with the reality that hospital services are becoming expensive and between saving life and earnings, what will they choose, there will be times that patients will beg off in fully paying those obligations due to the usual lack of resources to pay for either hospital or doctor's professional fee, The Batch Astra answered, "Amidst this pandemic, we will always choose to save a life over earnings. We believe that as future physicians, we willingly put to use our specialized knowledge and skills, not for our benefit but to alleviate the pain and suffering of others. As junior interns, we experienced firsthand some challenges that this pandemic has brought, thus our online learning, although we were able to surpass this by adapting to the changes. As fresh medicine graduates just starting in our profession, income is also a necessity. So, we go back to our medical code that after treating the patient, the physician is expected to act primarily on his/her probable needs and his/her ability to provide them, and not on the patient's ability to pay. We are primarily doctors sworn to compassion and altruism for the people, and we believe that money will come in due time. Money surely can't buy life."
Batch Astra subscribed to a mantra that is anchored in the five core principles of St. John Baptist de La Salle: Respect for all people: "We honor and respect the dignity of all individuals." Quality education: To develop curiosity, be creative, think critically and strive for personal best; Inclusive community: We celebrate diversity and welcome all members to our community; Concern for the poor and
social justice: We are in solidarity with people experiencing social, economic and spiritual marginalization and advocate for those without a voice; Faith in the presence of God: We believe in the living presence of God in each other, in our community, and our world.
Moreover, Batch Astra is under the tutelage of Dean Dr. Ricardo Gallaga Jr. with the assistance of College Secretary Dr. Yvonne Cortes. Their 4 years in med school from studying Anatomy up to Surgery and eventually reaching their goals in becoming doctors even amidst a pandemic and a shift to online education since the 2nd semester of their third year in med school. Coupled with the struggle of junior internship without any hospital exposure due to regulations of Ched, APMC, LGU, and IATF advisories. After graduation, the members of Batch, Astra will become Post Graduate Interns who will be serving in the different public and private hospitals all over the country to further their training that will aid them in serving their future patients.