MCI move to allow MBBS students to visit patient wards

As part of the new curriculum for undergraduate medical students, the Medical Council of India had decided to introduce a new kind of training or “clerkship” under which medical students will be able to experience the feeling of being a real doctor. Under the training, undergraduate medical students will be able to have ward visits, patient interaction as well as doing evening rounds from the second year of the MBBS course itself. Medical students will be attached to resident doctors and would be able to accompany them during rounds of the hospital, helping managing patients and talking to them. This would help undergraduate medical students in improving their communication skills and also help patients in coping better with their illnesses. However, the undergraduate students will not be allowed to treat patients. Member of MCI's governing body Dr. Sita Naik said that the current medical training is classroom oriented and boring and that the MCI is considering reviving a practice that had existed 20 years earlier wherein undergraduate students were assigned to wards. The students were then able to help resident doctors with managing patients but not prescribing treatments. Dr. Naik further added that the practice would give them early clinical exposure. “From the second year itself, students will be allowed to have access to wards and clinics and this would help them in feeling that they are a part of the clinical practice. “Currently, students do not go to wards. They are instead taught anatomy and physiology in the classrooms. The practice of students assisting resident doctors was stopped in the last 20 years as medical training had become more classroom based.” she said. She further stated that this may have been because too many students were assigned to one resident doctor. The system will now be reintroduced by the MCI in order to make medical education more clinical and less classroom based. The meeting to finalize the new undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum for medical courses will be held on March 29. The meeting will be chaired by union health secretary K. Chandramouli and will be attended by to academicians as well as vice chancellors. MCI says that at the end of undergraduate medical training after the new curriculum is implemented, students will be able to perform a complete and thorough physical examination of any organ system in the body and also perform basic clinical tasks.