It’s a one-sided relationship between doctors and us all. Our doctors fight to keep us safe day and night. They act as our ultimate guardians of coronavirus. We’ve all heard a lot of news about the plight of doctors at the moment, but today we ‘re talking about future doctors, our medical students. Whether the pandemic continues or the number of cases is increasing every day doesn’t matter. Medical students are required to take their examinations.
Do We appreciate our future Doctors? We just think it’s enough to go to our balcony and clap for them for 10 minutes and our duty towards them ends there, but it’s a gesture to remind us how much we owe to our frontline workers. That was a starting point and not the end of our concern. Most of us are at home right now and if we were still unable to hear our doctors ‘and nurses’ voices then we should be sorry for them. COVID- 19 cases in India have now reached the 1 million mark, which is why many final year medical students are trying to help the situation by assisting the doctor in the treatment of patients with COVID.
Yet now they will not be able to support, as many colleges and states will conduct medical exams in August, so they will now have to focus on these tests. Throughout Indian states, different timetables for executing these examinations are followed. Exams are coming up in a few states for various years and this is a huge concern. Medicine is a very realistic and skill-based course and since all colleges have been shut down in India since March. Therefore, these examinations are being carried out without proper medical training and the colleges where the examinations are to be carried out have been turned into exclusive treatment zones for COVID patients. There is a very high risk of being infected in these regions.
Yet, colleges don’t want to be held responsible for students. A college in Punjab made it mandatory for students to sign an affidavit claiming that if they were contaminated with COVID, the college would not be liable. And what about the final year dental students who need to practice on actual patients to give their examinations, and the present conditions are not at all appropriate for that.
All the leading medical institutes are in big cities, and many students come from small towns to big cities to study here, and they returned home when the lockdown was enforced. They do not have their books or practice equipment.
There is also a postgraduate course called DNB in which students are expected to travel to other states to take their exams. Which is almost impossible in this situation. NEET And NEET (PG) exams are also coming which draw a large number of audiences and eventually increases the risk of infection.
On the other hand, it is very important to examine in this field, since it is a practical and important career. Doctors can not treat patients without obtaining a license. Students in the final year will prepare for their postgraduate exams. According to Dr. Devi Shetty, we can equip India with an army of 1,5 lakh professionals by making a few regulatory changes.
Such people are the doctors whose training is complete but, because of certain legalities, can’t practice their profession. Similarly, more than 20,000 foreign medical graduates are eager to support Indian healthcare, but the government has not allowed them to do so because they are international graduates and need to take a mandatory bridge examination.
If we can’t exempt them from taking exams, we can at least push them a few more months, and students in the final year are also ready to participate in COVID duty as hospitals have sufficient isolation facilities. They don’t have to go home and their families have no risk of being sick.
We already know that we don’t have the right resources to take online tests and that our students aren’t ready for them, so instead they can get some credit to support the COVID patients. Why cant we not test our students by giving them projects and assessments. Why can’t we provisionally give them a degree? we should focus on the mental health of these students and not hold them at ransom.
Offline exams are very risky not only for the students but for their families and neighbors as well. Every rational decision must be based on sound research.
MCI and DCI are the authorities that decide on these issues in India, and should only take decisions in current situations after consulting with colleges, teachers, and students. The Health and safety of the students must be given top priority. When we understand our nurses, physicians, and healthcare workers’ issues, then only we would be able to raise our voice and support them.