Covid-19 Impact: Clinical training, mental health of students affected
Education sector has changed tremendously after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. Read here to know about the changes the pandemic has brought to the medical colleges of India.
Two years back, when Covid-19 hit the world, the education sector has undergone a transformation with increased use of technology to keep things going. Edtech sector boomed and education at all levels, right from school education to higher education all continued through online mode. However, the situation was more and more challenging for medical students as medical education cannot be dependent on only online education.
A doctor must get trained while learning real-time with patients in hospitals. However, the unprecedented crisis also created an environment where social distancing was a must to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus. In this scenario, it really affected the learning process of medical students and reportedly the students suffered a lack of skills in the absence of real interaction with the patients. The medical institutes across the country faced multiple challenges including late entrance exams which led to late admissions.
Post pandemic changes in AIIMS
Shiksha also spoke to a few experts in the medical education sector to know how is the situation at present in these colleges after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When we asked AIIMS Bibinagar Executive Director Vikas Bhatia about the present situation at their institute, he said, "One is that the students are now happy as the medical colleges have opened up and online classes have been converted to physical classes and it is important for the medical students to be in the institute because they have to undergo a lot of practical training, and the skill-based training. So whether it is laboratories in the beginning, or it is in hospital they are posted in the clinical departments."
"Secondly, we are now focussing that the students must be trained in the critical care and the management of the public health programs which has pandemics, endemics and epidemics. They should be well trained in that and we are also focussing on building their managerial skills as well. These are some of the things we want to re-emphasise. Now there is also given an emphasis on more of digital and skill based training. The National Medical Commission has also ensured that the skill based laboratories are installed in these institutions. So, this is how we are evolving over the time," he added.
When we asked about the challenges the institute is facing now, he said
"Adapting with the new scenario and the students are being advised to take precautions all the time as we cannot predict how the things will move forward in the future as far as the Covid is concerned. So that's the challenge, we must see that students must undergo as much as possible practical and clinical training. Theory classes, we can manage in case of any undesirable situation as we can take these classes online. So, that's the challenge we see."
Director of AIIMS Nagpur, Maj Gen (Dr) Vibha Dutta said, "There are no certain changes during the post pandemic phase. We have come to normal life as earlier. There are no such changes and things are as before the pandemic. We have shifted to hybrid mode - partly to online mode and partly to offline mode. Conferences and all are held offline whereas the faculty selection is online."
Technology: Medical education savior during lockdown
Like other sectors, even in medical education, technology played a pivotal role in keeping things going. As per the National Library of Medicine (NLM) data, medical universities switched to delivering live or pre-recorded online lectures. Even, third party organizations held online lectures and podcast series to help medical students.
As per a study cited by NLM, out of 222 medical and dental students, 66% of students between second and fourth year felt that physical lectures should not be a mandatory component of their medical education. However, Shiksha spoke to many medical education experts and they always emphasised the importance of having physical classes and clinical training for medical students.
Clinical training affected during Covid-19
According to the study in The Physician - Journal of The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin many students said that the experience of clinical training was better before the Covid-19 lockdown. As per the 1000 responses from students of 191 medical colleges, nearly 82% of students opined that the clinical training was better before the Covid-19 period.
Mental health of medical students affected
The medical students also faced the psychological impact of the Covid-19. As per the study in the Indian Journal of Medical Sciences, the majority of medical students felt that their training deteriorated during the pandemic. The survey concluded that there had been a deleterious effect on the medical education training and well being of the medical trainees.
Covid-19 impact on postgraduate medical admission in India
The postgraduate medical admission process is still reeling from the impact of Covid-19. NEET PG 2021 counselling met the unprecedented delay due to the Covid-19 waves and now even NEET PG 2022 is facing the after-effects of the pandemic. Most of the NEET PG 2022 aspirants are demanding to postpone the exam by at least 6-8 weeks as due to delay in the NEET PG 2021 counselling, the NEET PG 2022 exam date is near to 2021 counselling end and there is not much gap between these two.