Reforming Medical Education: Some Eccentric Thinking

Reforming Medical Education: Some Eccentric Thinking

Jayesh Khaddar (School of International Studies (SIS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, India)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/ijudh.2013100107
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Abstract

The academic discussions on the way medical education needs to be reformed often revolve around how to make it more interesting & more clinically relevant, while any discussions regarding these issues is welcome, it is equally essential to enlarge the scope of the debate on educational reform from merely focusing on skill related issues and pay attention to an equally important issue of shaping the outlook of a medical graduate who needs to become socially responsible. The paper highlights the depoliticized nature of medical education & its implications on the outlook of a medical graduate. It argues for a need to add a human touch to the medical curriculum, it looks into some initiatives taken in this direction while also arguing for the need to also learn from experiments in other disciplines.
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Role Playing and Reinventing the Curriculum

Role playing is a time tested & established technique of social psychology that the therapist relies on making the client aware of the multiple perspectives from which a particular social issue can be viewed with. Apart from its application in clinical psychology, role playing is also used for enhancing problem solving skills, promoting team work in group setting & for developing better patient-doctor communication skills (Infiniteability, n.d.). It is important to note that role playing basically improves the understanding about any issue at hand (for eg-the perspectives of mother, father & doctor involved in foeticide or the views of husband and wife regarding safe sex, contraception, family planning) this understanding would actually be the first step before any step could be taken to reshape the world view of a student, the word reshaped has been used at this point because any person is actually a product of the broader society in which s/he lives and the questionable conduct of a doctor at times-for eg, supporting a particular brand over another, or prescribing an expensive brand over a much cheaper and effective generic drug primarily to earn some freebies that the pharma company doles out, etc, are rampant problems and a part of them stems from the way an individual is socialised in the first seventeen or eighteen years of life, more so, the broader social acceptance for such actions makes it even more difficult to ensure that a would be doctor would be worthy of the high pedestal on which s/he is placed in society. Thus a piecemeal approach where a few workshops or lectures are organised once every few months would actually fail to serve any constructive purpose and would at best become a gesture of tokenism, studies on attitude change have consistently shown that any interventional attitude reorientation program has to be long term, involving frequent contacts and thus the frequency and quality of such programs will determine its effectiveness. the principle of role playing can be used where students participate in programs like drama’s, street plays etc, an effective collaboration can be forged where premier institutes like, National School of Drama (NSD) and social psychologists can be roped in for designing curriculum which spans the whole course duration rather than remaining confined to some specific semesters. A noteworthy initiative in this direction in India has been taken by “Theater of the Oppressed” workshops introduced by radha ramasawmy for medical graduates (Nikendei, Kraus, Schrauth, Weyrich, Zipfel, Herzog, & Jünger, 2007). The need of the hour is to upscale such initiatives and integrate them into the medical curriculum; this will make the whole exercise more interesting as well as effective and will also offer a refreshing break from didactic lecture series.

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