The Transformational Effects of COVID-19 on Medical Education

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Healthcare workers are indispensable, and their expertise is the key that keeps our society up and running, and that puts people’s minds at ease. Now that we’re facing a pandemic, we are becoming even more aware of their vital role in the stability and safety of the world. However, to empower new generations of worthy healthcare workers, we need an education system that keeps up with the times, which in this case means, one that is capable of adapting amidst the pandemic.

In fact, it seems that the current situation is far from transient. It has the potential to impact the entire idea of medical education and change it for good, from multiple perspectives. Whether you’re already a medical professional, a student, or an aspiring healthcare worker of any kind, you will begin to notice some of the following changes slowly emerge. Here, we’ll cover some of the most prominent changes in this aspect of medicine, and how medical and educational institutions will adapt in the foreseeable future.

Developing response plans

Universities that produce generations of stellar medical workers are brimming with people whose skills and knowledge can be crucial when responding to a crisis. Medical students have been helping by educating the public with flyers and educational panels, they’ve been trained to conduct large-scale testing, and help with dedicated phone lines when potential patients call to check what steps they should take to stay safe and keep those around them safe, as well.

Empowering online education

Hand in hand with telehealth, online education and certification has become vital during such a crisis, and to enable ongoing education to aspiring healthcare workers. Instead of placing all education on hold due to the crisis, medical experts have recognized the need to press forward with even more emphasis on advanced learning methods, online teaching, and proper accreditation.

So, whether a healthcare worker needs their ACLS certification renewed, they no longer have to wait for regular classes to resume, as they can rely on reputable online recertification systems. This allows medical institutions to keep their staff properly certified and educated despite the pandemic, and help them obtain the most essential knowledge to remain at the forefront of the response to the pandemic.

A greater focus on telehealth and AI

Social distancing has affected all of our lives, but it has also brought on certain changes in how health providers ensure their services reach everyone in their care. During the pandemic, the importance of telehealth, or remote medical assistance has become pivotal. More doctors are utilizing different digital tools to reach out to their chronic patients who are most at risk of severe COVID-19 infections, thus reducing the chances of them getting sick.

Another way in which medicine is quickly adapting is with the use of digital databases supported by AI, to help doctors administer the right medications, handle ongoing cases, and still manage to be of assistance in the battle against the pandemic itself.

Flexible curriculums for real-time issues

The pandemic is certainly not the only health crisis healthcare workers need to handle. Depending on the situation, different sets of skills will come in handy, and preparing healthcare workers to tackle different crises becomes essential. Medicine is an ever-changing field, and the system that teaches future medical experts needs to be equally adaptable, teaching students not just the medical basis of an event, but also the human psychology, sociology, and other driving forces behind it.

The curriculum can encompass everything from the latest discoveries in epidemiology to meet the needs of the public system, but also the ethical issues of care-rationing to different patients. This enables future medical staff to get a better grasp of the study material and the necessary actions for handling specific situations, including a global pandemic.

The role of medical leadership

The idea of putting medical professionals and scientists in charge of the response to the pandemic makes perfect sense, but legally speaking, the process is far more intricate than that. It requires all medical institutions within a country to communicate effectively, with a great emphasis on collaboration, sharing relevant data, resources, as well as educational material and facilities.

Add to that, have we truly prepared our healthcare workers to be negotiators, speakers, leaders? Education in any medical field is already intricate enough, but it requires another dimension, which it currently lacks: developing leadership skills among future medical experts. This missing piece of the puzzle will also contribute to future response plans, the overall organization of medical institutions, and improve communication across the board.

Despite the pandemic and all the ways in which it has disrupted our lives, medical education remains one of the pillars of stability in modern society. So far, medicine has done its best to use this situation as a catalyst for positive change and adaptation, so our education and critical response plans will be all the better for it in the future.

Hopefully, quality education will be one of the factors to prevent future pandemics caused by our own negligence, but no matter what happens, medical education will set the pace for proper advancement in medicine itself and prepare us for a better, more resilient future.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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