How Medical Education has been impacted by COVID-19

Has medical education changed post COVID?

For medical students, the pandemic has brought mixed fortunes. Some had to lose out on valuable clinical training, while some, recruited as doctors in the early stages, had much more than they had been bargaining for. As medical schools are struggling with the task of opening their doors this month to unprecedented numbers of potential physicians, COVID’s effect on current students is still being felt.

It was a mixed picture for students, depending on their personal situations, the point they had reached, and the decisions made by their medical schools, with face-to-face instruction and placements coming to an abrupt end at the beginning of the lockdown.

Some medical students appear to have improved webinar teaching, they have been given out-of-hours teaching which they usually would not have had. In fact, they have so much more teaching than they would typically have at clinical placements. But some opined that their medical schools had almost no coaching.

The situation was far from perfect, even where online teaching was top-notch. One of the common issues that the students faced was how the online lectures and tutorials did not make up the education they got by actually meeting people and being on placement.

Some of the other common problems students had were how difficult it was to study from home without any of the medical equipment around them having a realistic live feel. Also impacted were medical students who had taken time out of their classes to complete an intercalated degree.

Another major problem was the delay in getting the necessary data from databases that are concerning patient-identifiable data. Since there is no longer access to data labs anymore, the concerned students must wait for an excruciatingly long time to access the data after ensuring that the governance arrangements are in place.

Further, supervisors had hardly any time to go through the thesis of students. This was because those supervisors who worked as clinicians were required to shift their research to coronavirus and hardly had the time to look at the student’s thesis.

With formal instruction canceled, some students did better than others. There were convenient working environments for those among wealthy families, working high-speed wi-fi, and maybe even a doctor’s mom or dad to assist with home research.

Others weren’t so lucky – in already-existing disparities, this risk was an added one. As of now, the medical community is proud of the future medical workforce. There are also concerns about anxiety, depression, and mental health-related problems on students.

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