Like many other college and school students, medical students in the US are facing a whole host of new challenges following the recent pandemic. With all schools and colleges, including medical schools, closed due to Covid-19, medical professionals have no choice but to adjust to the online class and remote learning environment.
However, the challenges of distance learning were not the same for all medical students. As in the United States, the medical school curriculum for students in the first two years consists mostly of lectures, discussions, and laboratory visits. The situation is different for students in the last two academic years. During this time, students are usually required to assist doctors, personally observe surgical procedures, and visit hospitals and clinics (also called clinical rotations).
The distance learning process has posed some problems for first and second year students as this has changed dramatically from previous traditional classroom lectures. However, this applies to pretty much all students across the country. But those hardest hit by the current pandemic are the third and final year medical students.
A third-year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine spoke to CNBC about the problems they are facing. The student said he was in the first year of his rotation when the pandemic broke out and the school closed. Now he has no choice but to watch operations performed through Zoom and read books on operations. He claims there is a big difference between attending surgery in person by visiting hospitals and monitoring through Zoom. He let his fear run free that it would potentially affect his perception and understanding of surgery for the rest of his career.
It was even more difficult for many final year students whose graduation was either canceled or postponed. At the other end of the spectrum, however, certain medical schools have accelerated graduation for senior year students primarily to increase the number of skilled staff that make up the support team for doctors working at various medical facilities with Covid disease take part. Rutgers and Columbia University, for example, graduated their medical students a month early last year.
This also triggered a mixed response from the graduates. While some are happy to have graduated early and thus to enter the world of work earlier than expected, there are also concerns among first-year residents whether they will be able to work at this point in time in the complex scenario caused by the pandemic are appropriately qualified.
A Des Moines University student last year who found residency at Plainview Hospital in New York (despite her graduation being canceled) raised the above concern when speaking with a CNBC correspondent. She said it was a huge challenge, especially given this pandemic, that new residents suddenly emerge as full-time doctors without going through the required steps.
In this confusing time, many believe that companies specializing in bringing medical graduates together with accredited residency programs can be of great help. A good example of such a company is the Residents Medical Group. Residents Medical has extensive experience in preparing medical graduates to find good residency programs. The company’s skilled staff are great at providing medical graduates with the core skills required of new residents. The company helps candidates applying through Residents Medical acquire the necessary skills and experience expected from students enrolling in residency programs. And these skills, learned during this important transition phase in the life of any medical student, must be more valuable today than ever before.