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Slow and steady wins the race

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) (2012)

Attaining success at anything is seldom an overnight process. It requires day-to-day effort, but it all adds up in the end. This is true in the case of Dr Sukanya Banerjee Nair, who won the Sophie Davis Memorial Prize, an award given to the student with the highest overall aggegrate marks for the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program.

This achievement was no small feat, considering she managed to outperform 450 other medical students from three Monash campuses – Monash University in Malaysia, and Clayton and Gippsland in Australia.

Dr Sukanya admitted throughout her years of study in the MBBS course, she had never come out top, but believes that her consistency paid off eventually.

“I was sitting there at the dinner table with my classmates. We were on a road trip to Langkawi. When I saw the email telling me I had won the prize, I could not believe it! No one thinks something like that could happen to them,” she said.

“I was in shock for a few days.”

Dr Sukanya received the prize during a ceremony at Southern Golf Club, Melbourne, on 6 December 2012.

She credited the Deputy Head of School Prof Dato’ Dr Khalid Kadir as an inspiration to work hard, as well as her tutors at the Sunway Campus, the School’s Clinical School in Johor Bahru, and Hospital Sultanah Aminah for providing her with steadfast support. Her classmates were instrumental in her learning too.

To top things off, this year she was also a recipient of the Khalid Kadir Award, an award that recognizes the top scoring final year MBBS student.

Still, despite all that she has achieved so far academically, she keeps it in perspective. “It’s one thing being a good medical student and another thing being a good doctor. The main aim is to be good at being a doctor.”

As part of the Monash University Sunway campus’ MBBS program, students are given the opportunity to do their attachments at hospitals in Malaysia and abroad.

Dr Sukanya spent six weeks at The Mornington Centre in Australia, a rehabilitation centre for the injured or ill elderly, which was an “eye opening experience” for her.

In her fifth year of study, she worked in the paediatric unit of University Malaya Medical Centre, which she found to be challenging. “With children, you have to be very observant to pick up signs while adults just tell you. It was much harder for me to approach kids, which is why I choose an elective in paediatrics,” she said.

Dr Sukanya is currently serving her housemanship at Penang General Hospital.