Monday, March 14, 2011

MBBS students to visit wards from 2nd year

NEW DELHI: Undergraduate medical students will now get the feel of being a real doctor — ward visits, patient interaction and evening rounds — from the second year of MBBS onwards. 

The Medical Council of India (MCI), as part of its new curriculum for undergraduate medical education, has decided to introduce a new training or "clerkship" under which medical students will be attached to resident doctors to accompany them during rounds, help in managing patients and talk to them, thereby improving their communication skills and help patients cope better with their illnesses. They however, will not treat patients. 

Speaking to TOI, member of MCI's governing bodyDr Sita Naik said, "The current medical training is boring and classroom oriented. We are therefore reviving a practice that used to exist 20 years back in India – assign undergraduate students to wards. They will then help resident doctors with managing patients. 

They will, however, not prescribe treatment but just assist residents." 

Dr Naik added, "This will give them early clinical exposure and excite them. Right from the second year, students will have access to wards and clinics. This will make them feel they are part of clinical practice. At present, students don't go to wards. Instead, they are taught anatomy and physiology in class." According to MCI, medical science "attracts the brightest minds but does not challenge their brains". 

"This practice of students assisting resident doctors fell through in the last 20 years as medical training became more classroom oriented. Maybe it was because too many students were attached to a single resident who found it an additional headache. Now, we will reintroduce the system to make medical education more clinical based," Dr Naik said. 

MCI governing body member Prof Ranjit Roychoudhury told TOI that the crucial meeting to finalise the UG and PG curriculum will take place on March 29. Union health secretary K Chandramouli will chair the meeting which will be attended by top academicians and vice-chancellors. 

Speaking to TOI, health secretary K Chandramouli said, "Experts will meet on March 29 and talk about the latest developments in medicine and go through various subjects. Curriculum always need to be finetuned to move with the times. We will see what important things are not there in the curriculum at present. After reaching a consensus, we will implement whatever can be incorporated into the curriculum immediately while the rest will be put later." 

At the end of the undergraduate medical training, MCI says, the students should be able to perform a through and systematic physical examination of any organ-system of the body, performing core clinical tasks.

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