Sep 21, 2023

How Has COVID-19 Changed Medical School?

Clinical Clerkship

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly transformed people’s lives. It has increased the need for healthcare professionals. Medical educators have had to pivot to online curricula while students have learned how to collaborate with others remotely.

With all the changes happening, let’s explore how the ongoing crisis has changed medical school.

New Emphasis on Public Health

As a response to the crisis, medical schools have developed different electives that give students the opportunity to engage with public health measures. In fact, it enabled students to become evidence-based ambassadors for the public. It's served as real-time, hands-on learning.

Furthermore, the pandemic has changed people’s mindset of what it means to help suffering patients and improve the health of community members. It has removed the exclusivity of each person’s role. Rather, doctors, nurses, public health experts, and policymakers are now involved in solving people’s health problems as a team.

medical professionals putting hands in

Updated Application Requirements

A significant change in the medical school application process involves the letters of recommendation. This document from a faculty member or physician with whom you’ve worked with shows your academic and personal strengths.

However, as COVID-19 hindered physical interactions like shadowing, establishing that mentor-mentee relationship has become challenging. In effect, medical school admissions officers are now considering letters from people students have had long-term relationships with. This means college professors, high school teachers, church leaders, and coaches are considered effective letter writers.

Similarly, volunteer hours have moved beyond clinical settings alone as these have become harder to accomplish over the past year. As such, students’ volunteering can now include contributing to the household, helping a neighbor, or participating in community programs.

Ultimately, you’ll want to demonstrate how service-oriented and positive you are to stand out. Service doesn’t have to be a big gesture. It can be as simple as helping your younger siblings or caring for a family member.

New Approach to Crisis Management

As an effect of the pandemic, medical schools have become more proactive in reaching out to students during these tough times. They have been effective in communication expectations and restrictions. 

More importantly, leaders of medical education programs have become more conscious of the social environment. They have also become more proactive in terms of students’ needs by creating clearer crisis communication strategies and overall health and well-being support programs.

Even the American Medical Association (AMA) has developed resources to assist faculty, medical students, and residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has completely changed the medical school curricula. From restricted in-person activities and virtual learning to adjustments in requirements and the application process, medical schools have had to pivot significantly. Some of these methods may stay after the pandemic, completely changing the way medical schools and the industry will be run moving forward.

If you need any guidance with your clinical clerkship or medical journey, C.H.H.A is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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