March 20, 2011

New medical syllabus to stress practical skills

Medical education in India is all set for a massive overhaul. Medical Council of India (MCI) is close to finalising a brand new curriculum for both undergraduate (UG) and post-graduate (PG) medical education that gives utmost importance to "clinical acumen rather than just theoretical knowledge".

As many as 74 special teams -- each comprising three experts (for example, one for internal medicine, neurology and cancer etc;) are putting finishing touches to vision documents on "how many doctors are presently needed in a particular stream, how many is now available, how to bridge this gap, what kind of content needs to be taught to students and what additional infrastructure is needed". The findings will be incorporated to frame the new medical education curriculum.

Dr S K Sarin, chief of MCI's governing body, told TOI that "we will finalise the curriculum by next week. We plan to present it to Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad around March 20, and make it public by end-March."

Around 17 new courses would be started, emphasising that they would be both "niche and also what India needs today".

"The curriculum will also look at the needs of our own people. Clinical competence will be given vital importance as medicine is not just theory. Exposure to disease will be stressed. A basic doctor will have varied skill sets -- from knowing how to treat a snake bite patient to how to save a person who has suffered a heart attack," Dr Sarin added. Officials said the new curriculum would give extra importance to internship done by MBBS students after their four and a half years of rigorous studies.

Professor Ranjit Roychoudhury, member of MCI's governing body, said, "we had invited comments on our draft curriculum which have now come in. We are modifying and finalising the curriculum based on public views."

He added, "The curriculum calls for major changes in the way medicine is taught in India. It will come into effect from the following academic session."

A Union health ministry official said, "We welcome the change. However, the new curriculum has to go through consultation. A meeting with MCI is scheduled next week."

An MCI document confirms how clinical skills are being given utmost importance. It says, "Clinical skills have traditionally been taught in an ad hoc and unstructured manner and some students may graduate without becoming competent in very basic clinical skills. Intensive training in clinical skills right at the beginning of the fifth year will help students become competent in basic and generic clinical skills."

At the end of five years of 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 skills, demonstrate competency in communicating with patients at ease, request relevant clinical investigations and analyse abnormal findings of an investigation.

MCI document adds, "At the end of the posting, students should be able to perform safely, confidently and effectively procedures like generic skills including perform a venepuncture, setting up an intravenous line, give intravenous injection and obtain a sample of arterial blood and catheterise urinary bladder."

It explains, "under medical skills, the doctor should know how to record an ECG, how to use a nebuliser, interpret and analyse reports of clinical investigations. Under surgical skills, the basic doctor should know how to perform a prostate examination and insert a nasogastric tube. Under emergency skills, the doctors should know how to perform advanced life support procedures, perform basic life support and know how to safely transfer a patient after an accident."

MCI feels undergraduate medical education needs reform. "The MBBS graduate does not feel equipped with adequate skills to take care of the common problems at the secondary and primary level. This is reflected in the low number of graduates who go into practice at the end of their MBBS training," says an MCI note.

It adds, "The past curricular revisions have mostly added to the existing content without undertaking the exercise to remove what is obsolete/outdated. The reforms have to be based on both successes within India, as well as models of medical education that have addressed similar issues in other countries."

Link: Original Article

No comments:



Related Posts with Thumbnails