The patient, the doctor, the students and the overcrowded room

doctors 2020_

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. José Ganicho, a 5th-year medical student from the Beira Interior University, Member of the Medical Students Association from Portugal, ANEM-Portugal, National Member Organization of International Federation of Medical Students Associations. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Imagine entering an overcrowded room, full of medical students, all eager to practice their clinical skills. Imagine that all of the students in the room want to ask you questions to know what brings you to the hospital. Which patient feels comfortable being asked a number of questions from a number of students, being exposed, being vulnerable and for some patients, being in one of the worst days of their lives? No one feels comfortable. Not even the medical students in the room.

According to the WMA, “medical education consists of training aimed at ensuring physicians acquire the competencies, skills and aptitudes that allow them to practice professionally and ethically,” (1) However, before they are able to practice independently, every physician has to complete a formal program of supervised clinical education, learning from other doctors and contacting with real-life patients in health care facilities.

The overcrowded room is not just a hypothetical scenario, but a reality that most physicians, patients and medical students face every day. When we exceed the reasonable student to tutor ratio, there are a number of negative effects for all the people in the room. The patient is more exposed, vulnerable and more likely to avoid mentioning some details due to being uncomfortable and unable to share in an overcrowded room. The physician will have a harder time conducting the clinical interview and even explaining and answering all the questions of the students. Finally, studies show that medical schools with more admissions might be more susceptible to lower scores of student satisfaction and high student-tutor ratios in clinical rotations may reduce the quality of the learning experiences. (2)

Furthermore, tackling the student to tutor ratio issue is not a problem that affects only medical students, but also physicians, patients and communities in general. This issue also connects to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, highlighting the importance of this topic to the realization of SDG4 (Quality Education) and SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being).

For us to achieve this optimal ratio and assure a quality education, as the WFME stated, we have to review the size and nature of student intake in consultation with authorities responsible for planning and development of human resources in the national health sector, while regulating it to meet the health needs of the community and society. (3) Only by knowing our prospective community health needs can we truly find this number in a manner that is sustainable for our Health Systems.

Finally, as we can see, achieving an optimal student to tutor ratio is not just a complex question that needs to be answered by each medical school independently but a problem that needs a collective local, national and international solution. In this process, all the relevant stakeholders from the Education and Health sector have to tackle this issue together, taking into consideration the Health Systems and Medical Schools resources, capabilities and overall sustainability, while addressing the local and national health needs of our communities.

References

  • WMA Statement on Medical Education, Adopted by the 57th WMA General Assembly, Pilanesberg, South Africa, October 2006 and revised by the 68th WMA General Assembly, Chicago, United States, October 2017
  • Grilo Diogo P., Moreira A., Coimbra A., Coelho Silva A., Nixon Martins A., Mendonça C., Carvalho C., Almeida G., Almeida H., Garcia Moreira I., Rodrigues M., Goulão M., Vasconcelos R., Vicente R., Magano S.; Study on Portuguese Medical Schools’ Learning Conditions: A National Analysis on Student Satisfaction, Student-Tutor Ratios and Number of Admissions
  • WFME; Basic Medical Education, WFME Global Standards for Quality Improvement: the 2012 revision

Available at:

About the author

José Ganicho is a 5th-year medical student from the Beira Interior University, Member of the Medical Students Association from Portugal, ANEM- Portugal, National Member Organization of International Federation of Medical Students Associations. For the past four years, he has been involved in multiple initiatives and discussions in the field of National and International External Affairs, Global Health and Health Workforce.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

5 steps to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Scotland and First Minister Salmond enter the most challenging battlefield for independence: Europe

Some progress made towards security in Mali, but still a long way to go, Security Council hears

Politics still matter in the US but not in Europe

EP wants data protection guaranteed before allowing fingerprint exchange with UK

What is adversarial artificial intelligence and why does it matter?

2019: A deadly year for migrants crossing the Americas

Coronavirus: Commission issues guidelines on testing

Portraits show ‘dignity and humanity’ of Holocaust survivors, 75 years after Auschwitz liberation

UN chief urges emergency fund support as one of the ‘most effective investments’ in humanitarian action

Commission: New proposal for centrally managed bank resolution

We’ve lost 60% of wildlife in less than 50 years

Tackle ‘unacceptable inequalities’ in cancer care, saving up to seven million lives, WHO urges

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

Beyond ‘business as usual’. Addressing the climate change crisis

The EU moulds a new compromise for growth and financial sustainability

What does ‘excess deaths’ mean – and can it give a clearer picture of the number of coronavirus fatalities?

Blockchain will make sure green pledges aren’t just greenwash: a new initiative by young leaders at the World Economic Forum

Natural hazards don’t always spell disaster: UN risk reduction chief

SMEs are the most valuable partners. Here’s why

Why Eurozone urgently needs the ECB to print and distribute at least €500 billion

The new assembly lines: Why AI needs low-skilled workers too

Where America’s refugees came from in 2018

COVID-19: Commission provides guidance on EU passenger rights

MWC 2016 LIVE: Under Armour learns from “robust community of data”

ECB asks for more subsidies to banks

Economic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions stall growth in Latin America and Caribbean region, UN says

COVID-19 threatens the developing world’s small businesses. This is how to save them

European Employment Forum 2013 and not European Unemployment Forum 2014

UN health agency developing COVID-19 virus treatment master plan

Young people all over the world come together to demand paid good quality internships

What’s everyone talking about at Davos 2020?

New Mozambique storm rips off roofs, brings lashing rain as aid response kicks in

Parliament approves €500 million for schooling of refugee children in Turkey

Air pollution: How to end the deaths of 7 million people per year?

World is ‘on notice’ as major UN report shows one million species face extinction

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

Long-term EU budget: Parliament wants safety net for beneficiaries

Youth and Decent Work: A Review of Today’s Facts, Challenges and Possible Solutions

Coronavirus Dashboard: EU Cohesion Policy response to the coronavirus crisis

MEPs debate EEAS report on disinformation activities related to COVID-19

Libya: Thousands seek shelter in health clinics from Tripoli fighting, UN warns

More needs to be done to bridge the digital gender divide

A Europe that protects: EU customs seized over 31 million fake goods at EU borders in 2017

Boosting the EU’s Green Recovery: EU invests over €2 billion in 140 key transport projects to jump-start the economy

Creative Europe: 2.2 billion EUR support secured for artists

Rule of law conditionality: MEPs strike a deal with Council

Will the French let Macron destroy their party political system?

African migration: what the numbers really tell us

Three out of the past five Julys were the hottest on record

Financing the 2030 Agenda: What is it and why is it important?

America’s student debt crisis explained

A world first: Women at the helm of every UN Regional Commission

Opposite cultures: Should it be a problem?

Refugees now make up 1% of the world’s population

AIDEX 2015: Humanitarian Hero Award Winner Announced

Somalia has ‘once in a generation’ gender equality opportunity – UN Women chief

The Sting’s Mission

EU leading in global agri-food trade

Parliaments broadly agree on next steps for economic, monetary union

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. It was happening at a time of the epidemic like now

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s