An article from InSight+ where a number of Australian medical students were asked to give their thoughts on training throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
THOUSANDS of Australian medical students have only experienced medical education and clinical placements in the context of a global pandemic. Many of these students have completed all of their preclinical years on Zoom, while others have never stepped foot into a hospital or clinic without wearing a mask. As the Omicron variant takes hold of our hospitals, the focus has, rightly so, been on the current medical workforce. However, it’s important we don’t lose sight of our future health care professionals and the impacts this ongoing pandemic is having on the training of medical students.
Early reflections on the impacts of COVID-19 on medical education were positive, highlighting the quick shift of many universities to more flexible online learning and innovative ways of teaching, such as using telehealth and live streaming ward rounds.
In late 2021, the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA), surveyed over 500 medical students to examine the impacts of COVID-19 on their medical education (unpublished to date). When asked what changes that had occurred during the pandemic they would like to see stay, students mostly welcomed the shift to online learning, highlighting the increased flexibility of lectures and classes and increased accessibility of additional course content. Another benefit students found was the shift of many medical programs from previously graded subjects to pass/fail models.