Creating a User-Driven Student Perspective in a Nepalese Medical School

Creating a User-Driven Student Perspective in a Nepalese Medical School

P. Ravi Shankar (KIST Medical College, Nepal)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/ijudh.2012010107

Abstract

Medical students and the number of medical schools are increasing in Nepal and South Asia. The student perspective does not receive sufficient attention in most schools. In this paper, the author shares initiatives in creating a user-driven student perspective in a private medical school in Lalitpur, Nepal. Communication was a key component and the author used the internet extensively to communicate with students in addition to printed written materials.
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Introduction

KIST Medical College (KISTMC) admitted its first batch of undergraduate medical (MBBS) students in November 2008. The institution is affiliated to Tribhuvan University for the MBBS course. The college has the vision to create competent, humane and compassionate healthcare professionals through excellence in holistic education, healthcare and research.

A perspective article had examined the changing role of the medical student in United States (US) medical schools (Ludmerer, 2004). Before the Second World War in the US educating medical students was one of the primary missions of medical schools. The author states that schools have not created a true learner-centered environment that makes active, self-directed learning under the close tutelage of interested faculty members. Learner centered education has been subordinated to patient care and research according to the author. Medical schools especially in the US have to give priority once again for teaching medical students. An article had examined the use of web 2.0 tools like wikis, blogs and other social networking tools in health sciences education (Lemley & Burham, 2009). According to the authors 45% of medical schools had used web 2.0 tools in their curricula. In Nepal I had used only e-mail to communicate with students and created a site using freely available software to share information.

Nepal is a developing country in South Asia with 18 medical schools at the beginning of January 2012 (Nepal Medical Council, n.d.). The majority of schools are in the private sector. The six basic science subjects of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, microbiology and pharmacology are taught in an integrated organ system based manner along with community medicine and early clinical exposure during phase I (first two years) of the course. I was appointed as the MBBS Phase I program coordinator in September 2008 (Shankar, 2011). One of my major challenges as the coordinator is to ensure proper communication between students, faculty members and administrators. I am also concerned with the student perspective of learning and with facilitating learning for students, an aspect which often receives less emphasis.

In addition to circulating information using the printed format I also decided to use the internet for this purpose. The first batch of students was admitted in November 2008. We conduct a small group activity-based medical humanities module for all first year MBBS students. I had created a Google group to share information about the module, session materials and stimulate discussion among participants and interested faculty. Student participation in the online group was less and various problems noted were of internet access, load shedding and problems of managing time. Better publicity about the group, demonstrating the group during sessions and making students utilize the group by submitting assignments through it were suggested (Shankar & Piryani, 2010). Later more interested faculty members and other persons (from outside the institution) joined the group and it serves as a forum to discuss different issues related to medical humanities.

I started a mailing list using Gmail to share information and create contacts. Three mailing lists were created. One was of the 2009 intake (now in the second year), one of the 2010 intake (first year students) and one of faculty members. These mailing groups are used to share information about the class routine, examinations, correlation seminars, problem-based learning sessions, and notices for assignments and submissions. We conducted a module on pharmaceutical promotion titled ‘The Skeptic doctor’. Information about the sessions and the slides of different sessions are shared using the mailing list. The draft routine is also circulated using the faculty mailing list for obtaining comments from different faculty members and departments. Information about invigilation duty for exams, evaluators for correlation seminars, faculty training programs and facilitators for and the modality of conducting PBL sessions is also shared using this list in addition to paper copies.

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