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From Self Care to Awareness on Ragging, Here's What First-Year MBBS Students Will Learn From August

An important addition to the MBBS programme is the month-long foundation course that aims to teach aspiring doctors ethical, humanitarian as well as clinical skills required to be good health professionals.

Simantini Dey | News18

Updated:July 23, 2019, 9:46 PM IST
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From Self Care to Awareness on Ragging, Here's What First-Year MBBS Students Will Learn From August
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Mumbai: From August, those who begin their classes as first-year medical students will study a new syllabus that the Medical Council of India (MCI) has revamped after 22 years, introducing many features aimed at “increasing the competency level of students”.

An important addition to the five-year MBBS programme is a foundation course, a month-long introductory curriculum taught at the very beginning, that aims to teach aspiring doctors ethical, humanitarian as well as clinical skills required to be good health professionals.

“From time and stress management, study plans, to how to use the computers or library, deal with bad patients, or give life support... many such basic life skills are included in this curriculum. Things like self-care — how to take care of oneself while staying in the hostel — as well as spreading awareness about ragging and its harmful implications also feature in the foundation course,” said Dr Milind Nadkar, Academic Dean KEM Hospital and Seth GS Medical College.

“For doctors, it doesn't get over with getting the required knowledge and the MBBS degree. All the knowledge that they acquire while preparing for this degree is implemented every day on other human beings, they deal with people’s lives and emotions... So, the new syllabus focuses on humanity and on the overall development of these students,” Dr Nadkar added.

Preparations to implement this course have already started. “Faculty members are currently being trained on how to execute the course. We have conducted multiple training not only for our own institute, but for trainers of other medical colleges of Maharashtra, as well. We catered to more than 60 medical colleges. So far, we have taught almost 260 teachers so that they can implement the course properly,” Dr Nadkar said.

While stating that awareness about ragging would be an important part of the course, he said the course would not deal with caste-based discrimination, because the authorities “don't want to put matters of caste in students’ heads”.

“At least in our college, there is no such discrimination. We have had no complaints on those lines. But, we are making them aware of ragging. In a subtle manner, we are also trying to deal with sexual harassment,” the doctor said.

“From now on, first-year MBBS students will be given clinical exposure, instead of just learning theories,” said Dr Vinayak Kale, professor head, department of psychiatry, Grant Medical College.

“Therefore, as they go along with various subjects like anatomy and physiology, they can also visit wards and see how the real-life application of their knowledge happens,” he added.

“The idea is to teach professionalism to students. We want to protect our students from those unfortunate incidents in which doctors and medical officials are attacked by patients’ relatives and the best way to do that is to improve communication between the doctors and patients’ families. That is what we are trying to teach. We want them to not only become good doctors, but also upstanding members of society,” said Dr Kale.

Dr Ajay Chandanwale, Dean of JJ Hospital, said they were already in the process of getting mentors on campus to teach MBBS students the importance of patient-doctor communication.

“In my opinion, this course will help students establish good communication with patients and their relatives. Our doctors, along with mentors who will be visiting our campus, will talk to students about their own experiences of communicating with patients and their families and help them understand how to handle delicate communications,” said Dr Chandanwale.

The main purpose of this course is to make students better equipped to study MBBS, by helping them adjust to the challenges of a high-intensity programme and the cultural complexities of a diverse campus, said Dr Avinash Supe, former dean and director of KEM Hospital.

“Normally, students come from different backgrounds. Some come from rural areas, few have attended English medium schools. Students also have cultural, linguistic, as well as geographical diversities. Many come from general colleges to professional colleges, and they might feel a little lost in the beginning. So, the committee recommended that we should have a foundation course, so that in the first month itself they are oriented to the whole medical college curriculum and understand what it means to be a doctor,” said Dr Supe.

While various medical college campuses are gearing up to implement the syllabus change, the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

According to a report, the bill, introduced by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, is proposed to replace the Medical Council of India that has been criticised for its flawed method of regulation of various medical colleges. The bill wants to provide equal standards of education in all medical colleges across India.

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