Ramadan is certainly known as one of the most holy, spiritual, and rewarding times of the year for Muslims. It is a time to detach from all the worldly inclinations and indulgences to reconnect with the Almighty. During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from multiple things but the most challenging for healthcare professionals and students is abstaining from enjoying an iced beverage to quench their thirst during those strenuous and weary rounds.
To all my student health care professionals - - - Here is the best advice I can provide as you are about to experience one of the most difficult trials during your student and professional career. As if Ramadan isn’t enough of a challenge, it’s no secret that adding the draining demand of being a student is only going to make it harder.
This may be your first year as a resident, it may be your first semester in nursing school, first year as a clinical PA-S, and fasting 13-15 hours a day without anything to eat or drink is going to be your biggest obstacle yet.
I truly say this out of a place of love and I hope it is not misunderstood but if you are physically capable of fasting, you should fast, (and of course God knows best) it is not okay to “pass” on your fasting simply because you are a student. I have gotten so many emails/messages asking me if I think this is okay. Ramadan is a gift from our Lord, it is a time to collect the most good-deeds imaginable. Don’t shy away from this opportunity and don’t make an excuse because of where you are in your education.
"If you are physically capable of fasting, you should fast"
If you feel like you cannot make a sound judgment for your patient’s because of your ability to focus, that is completely different. But as medical students we should use this as training for what’s to come in our future. If we make excuses now, will we ever be able to fast a day during work? Honestly, you may just be setting yourself up for a lot of days to makeup with not nearly as much reward. Test yourself now, push yourself now, prepare yourself now for the profession you have worked so hard to reach.
Here are my 5 tips to tacking this Ramadan as a student in medicine. Feel free to like, comment your own tips, and share this post.
1️⃣ Don’t skip breakfast, no matter how tired you are.
2️⃣ If you have an early round, drink your coffee if you need it. Although most people say caffeine will dehydrate you, one cup won’t hurt.
3️⃣ Avoid snacking on salty snacks during iftar, no chips, pretzels, cheez-its, popcorn or fries.
4️⃣ Remember the hunger is only temporary, we are only hungry because we are choosing to fulfill one of the 5 pillars. Some people do not have a choice, for some, this is not temporary.
5️⃣ Fasting teaches us discipline, it teaches us patience, resilience and endurance. All these assets are found in the best of health care providers. Use this time to better yourself and to hone those qualities.
Thanks for reading, Ramadan Kareem! :)