Learning about different faiths, cultures and lifestyles is one of the many lessons that a religious education qualification offers. In fact, no other subject provides the same opportunity to learn about different communities from around the world. Studying RE gives students a chance to develop an understanding of different cultures and an empathy for people from all walks of life. Arun, a junior doctor, told us all about how studying RE at school has helped him in his medical career.
Twenty-four-year old Arun has always wanted to do something that was challenging, where he would always be learning and every day would be different.
Growing up, his favourite subjects at school were biology and chemistry but he knew he wanted to work with people, rather than just working in a lab. Arun chose to study medicine. “I wanted to do something where I could put science and people together, make a difference to people’s lives, and use what I studied for the rest of my life”.
For the last six months Arun has been working as a Junior Doctor at Whipps Cross Hospital in London.
There’s no such thing as a typical day for Arun, but the one thing he knows when he arrives at work is that he’s going to be busy! He sees between fifteen and thirty-five patients every day.
For Arun, the best thing about his job is the diversity of people who he works and interacts with on a daily basis. Arun is really pleased he studied RE at school. “The patients I treat are not “textbook patients”, they are human beings. They don’t always fit the mould you’ve studied for years. To treat them as best I can, I need to think about all sorts of things, including their lifestyle, background and religious and cultural views.”
Arun is glad he studied RE at school. It has given him an understanding of what is important to people in regard to their cultural and religious beliefs.
A specific example of how RE has helped Arun be a good Junior Doctor was when he first started at Whipps Cross hospital. Arun was working in the surgery department and it was Ramadan so many Muslim patients were fasting during the day. Arun knew they would feel emotionally stronger if they could continue their daytime fast. Arun and his colleagues did their best to ensure the patients’ operations were scheduled at a time the patients could eat in the evening.
“Having that background of religious education really allowed us to make a management plan where we treat their medical problem but also respect their faith which is so important to so many patients”.