Train doctors to get rich in love and compassion

I read Dr Leong Choon Kit's letter ("Better selection process for medical students"; Monday) and the Aug 5 report ("NUS medical school sees more diverse student mix") with a little scepticism.

There is no foolproof selection process. It is not easy to size up the candidates; inevitably, some less ideal ones will be selected.

The real challenge is for medical school professors to mould these young students into competent and compassionate doctors.

Unfortunately, it is hard to fight a culture and system in which wealth is the criterion for success.

Certainly, medical schools do not teach mercenary medicine.

However, students will inevitably meet clinicians who are motivated by money. Some studentsmay take them as role models.

Family members of medical students can play an important role in reminding them: You are called to a life of virtue in a profession that is dedicated to a common purpose - the care of the sick.

Hopefully, wholesome family upbringing can withstand the unwholesome standards of our materialistic society.

As a volunteer patient advocate, I will do my part and urge my niece, a first-year medical student, to strive to get richer in love and compassion throughout her journey of becoming a doctor.

At the same time, I congratulate all "millionaire doctors" here - they have done well in achieving their financial goals. I hope they will also get rich in love and compassion.

Lee Soh Hong (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2015, with the headline 'Train doctors to get rich in love and compassion'. Print Edition | Subscribe