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Pursuing Medical Education: The Tumultous Journey Before, Through and After Medical School

Submitted by on November 13, 2014 – 8:34 PM 5 Comments

roadsMedical education or more precisely an art of producing a doctor who knows the human body from head to toe; a nurse, who should have the knowledge of every cannula size that’s going to be passed in patients’ hands/arms; a therapist who knows the exercises for the Rett Syndrome girl to the obese relative who used to have a burger each dusk and what not! The word ‘Medical Education’ is actually so immense that it has occupied a number of fields in its background. Starting from the history of medicine to the recent technology, this education has expanded into a vast topic to be discussed.


The goal of medical education is to graduate knowledgeable, skillful, and professional physicians but in this learning era, medicine is facing a number of issues which are not negligible at all: entry in a medical college, the time spent there, public and private medical schools, quota system, expenditures in different sectors, quality of education provided, gender discrimination, teaching methods, medical curriculum, language problems, lack of facilities for the students, political influences, further opportunities, and the list goes on.


Commencing my views, one of the biggest challenges, one is facing before entry in this field is the race, the competition in between! The problem is not with this struggle but the the scarcity of opportunities available accordingly. Admission to a government medical college is highly competitive, thousands of learners applying, and limited number of seats. Moreover, in a developing country like Pakistan, medical school is not affordable for many parents just because of its expenses, no matter how brightly, their child has accomplished in the past. Another issue is gender discrimination that is widely prevalent in undergraduate medical education.


After this, becoming a physician is a long road. 5 exhaustive years of medical school and then residency training followed by more specialized training called a fellowship program. Residency and fellowship training combined can last about up to 7 years, depending on the specialization. So, the grand total of time spent for most people is about 11-15 years of life that is too long.


Many medical colleges nowadays have resorted to the new Multimedia projecting of Powerpoint presentations by the lecturers. Unfortunately this use of technology is not to much avail because the students just sit there and listen to the lectures, go home and rote learn them and they are done. Whatever happened to imparting concepts that human lives depend on?


Besides all above facts, one of the most significant things is that the various studies have documented stress among students of medicine and related professional careers like, dental, nursing, pharmacy and paramedical sciences. It is usually observed that medical students undergo tremendous stress during various stages of the MBBS course. There is a high rate of suicide among them.


The higher level of psychological morbidity warrants need for interventions like social and psychological support to improve the quality of life for these medical students. Student advisers and counselors may train students about stress management. There is also need to bring about academic changes in quality of teaching and the evaluation system. A prospective study is necessary to study the association of psychological morbidity with demographic variables, sources of stress and coping strategies.


Importantly, students choosing careers as physicians need to embrace the collaboratively effective physician role rather than quest after the sovereign physician role. Students preparing for medical school should pursue experiences working within systems to solve complex problems. Students matriculating into medical school must commit to serve while learning from the beginning of their curriculum. Medical education must be part of the solution to the complex problems facing our health care delivery system today.

About the Author: Naila Asghar, is a student of 3rd year, MBBS at Dow Medical College, Dow University of Health Sciences, Paksitan. She also works as a volunteer for Patient’s Welfare Association (PWA), Civil Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan. Naila can be reached at [email protected]

About this article: This article is competing for the JPMS International Medical Writing Contest 2014.

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  • Raja Jahanzaib

    (y) :)

  • Syed Mohammad Usman Shah

    It was an awesome paper Naila baji . But in the second para i didn’t understand how quota system can be a problem ? Which quota system are you talking about ? And which language problems are there ? If you please elaborate them ? @naila Asghar

    • Naila Asghar

      thank you Usman.. And I’m sure, you’ve got my point now after the explanation :)

  • Raja Jahanzaib

    hmm nice point of view doctr naila asghar…….

  • Ariba Wajahat

    Its a very fine article ,reflecting almost all the problems the medical students are facing.