Training for medical students in Jordan on tobacco dependence treatment

Having a lot of passion for helping people quit the deadly habit of tobacco use, I decided I need to partake in the Tobacco Dependence Treatment (TDT) training organized by the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) for the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA-Jo) held in Amman from 22-23 July 2016. 51 students attended the workshop with various sessions given by the Cancer Control Office.

The workshop was a 2-day event that addressed the most important information regarding TDT and the necessary skills to help smokers and guide them to the path of abstinence. Before the workshop began, the participants took part in a pre-assessment test and were provided with online reading material and a post-reading assessment. The material was very informative, and after it I realized how much information we as medical students lack.

Dr. Feras Hawari kicked off the workshop with a motivational speech to remind us why our participation in such trainings is crucial. During the workshop, we learned about various smoking-related studies tackling adverse effects; some of which are very recent such as the association of smoking to rheumatoid arthritis and ectopic pregnancy. We also learned about motivational interviewing, where we not only studied the basic steps, but also discussed some cases from the smoking cessation clinic at KHCC to remind us of the difficult encounters and the common mistakes.

Overall, the workshop provided us with really useful information which not only focused on the practical skills but also on the solid evidence-based background and experience. My expectations were well met, as I expected to leave confident of my understanding on how to face the next patient who suffers from this addiction or faces the consequences of others’ smoking habits.

The outcome of such a workshop targeted to students can be directly measured, monitored, and felt. It is the importance of putting trust which I witnessed in this workshop that was emphasized and is the factor coinciding with positive outcomes mainly in this topic. It is the push needed to achieve especially in the circle of students and soon-to-be doctors.

In conclusion, my experience was pleasant and my motivation to bring this message through my work and energy has been refueled. I am more than willing to be part of further campaigns with such a delightful team and skillful members.

Rushd Al-Shama is a medical student in Dubai and soon beginning her internship year. She has attended and organized many campaigns and conferences in the field of smoking vs. health, mainly tackling the youth. She registered through IFMSA-Jo, a member in the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association (IFMSA) where she has been an active member for over three years.