The COVID – 19 pandemics has brought about a change in every aspect of our lives. The way we work, the way we socialize, work out, and conduct everyday errands have all been affected.
Besides disrupting our everyday lives, the virus outbreak has changed education dramatically, with schools and Universities being closed globally.
It has also encouraged a transformation of medical education and brought to light the need to expand the U.S. physician workforce’s competencies.
The need for new competencies
One of the most significant insights for educators across the country was that physicians need to embrace new competencies to address today’s health challenges.
Besides traditional competencies required, like professionalism and service to patients, new ones have emerged with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The ability to address public health issues, design and improve health care systems, and eliminate health care disparities and discrimination are some of the most important among these new skills that physicians need to adopt.
Medical schools need to be quick and flexible in their response to the pandemic, as it may result in a health care worker shortage.
Due to this concern, some schools are considering early graduation and special preparation for fourth-year students. This way, they could volunteer or engage as residents in the clinical environment earlier.
Curricular redesign for physician workforce
Medical schools across the country have started to redesign their curriculum for physicians to ensure they have proper and up-to-date training. The change is slow but steady.
Due to the virus outbreak, the dynamic nature of medical knowledge became apparent.
The technology was put to use to overcome emerging issues and help students develop the necessary skills. Many Universities have made the shift to e-learning for the entire 2020/21 academic year.
Still, some aspects of medical training need to be delivered in person.
On the other hand, medical practitioners and post-grad students who have already been working with real patients and built their professional identities now have a chance to acquire needed certificates.
For example, specialized PALS online course can now be completed online, allowing individuals to gain knowledge and skills to manage critically ill infants and children.
These PALS certification or recertification courses include valuable and engaging skills videos and don’t take long to complete.
Enabling medical exposure
Academic courses need to be designed so that students are not affected by the lack of physical lectures. There are ways to enable medical exposure, keeping medical students involved with their profession.
For example, volunteering with phone triage or virtual volunteer positions in remote research is invaluable for both students and communities supported.
Also, enabling students to spend as much time possible in the clinical environment should be encouraged.
Some professionals proposed longitudinal placements and regular testing as procedures that could allow students to experience valuable patient-focused learning.
Face to face contact with the patient builds their professional identity.
The substantial restriction of learning experiences for medical students is especially challenging. Coronavirus disrupted routines in hospitals, medical schools, and beyond. This requires designing different approaches for gaining competency.
In-person classes were replaced with online equivalents. Clinical clerkships, crucial both for building skills and relationships with patients, got canceled. Conference presentations, as the opportunity for personal development, are also not available anymore for many medical students.
Lost learning opportunities can be harmful to medical students’ careers.
And delivering high-quality medical education while in-person teaching is being closed requires serious rethinking.
The catalyst for rapid innovation
The global pandemic has increased the need for innovation in medical education. Surgical videos are highly effective in delivering medical education during these unprecedented times. Rerecorded or live-streamed surgical videos enable information sharing and demonstrating techniques without physical proximity.
And with live streaming, attendees can even ask questions and watch techniques being performed in real-time.
By taking advantage of modern-day technology, live surgeries, and other medical procedures performed worldwide could be incorporated into formal education.
Videos could be a significant part of medical education during the pandemic and possibly beyond the current health crisis.
Some see the integration of information technology in education as an integral component of school education in the future. And according to some research, e-learning comes with its own set of benefits like increased retention of information by 25-60 percent and faster learning.
Major world events are often catalysts for rapid innovation. And the effects of COVID-19 might forever change how medical students get their education.