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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 49  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 84-85

Challenges encountered by teachers in medical education


1 Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission05-Nov-2021
Date of Acceptance14-Mar-2022
Date of Web Publication22-Apr-2022

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
MD, FAIMER, PGDHHM, DHRM, FCS, ACME, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jss.jss_153_21

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  Abstract 


In general, it is expected from medical teachers that they should transform fresh learners into competent medical graduates upon completion of their training period. However, a lot goes into this, as the delivery of medical education is quite different and complicated in comparison to any other graduate courses available. Teachers play an instrumental role in helping the students acquire various noncognitive attributes essential for successful medical practice. A number of challenges have been identified from the teachers' perspective in medical training. In conclusion, the job profile of medical teachers is extremely demanding as they have to simultaneously perform on various domains. There is an immense need to support the medical teachers in their assigned roles so that their overall outcomes can be significantly enhanced.

Keywords: Medical education, medical teachers, students


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Challenges encountered by teachers in medical education. J Sci Soc 2022;49:84-5

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Challenges encountered by teachers in medical education. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 May 25];49:84-5. Available from: https://www.jscisociety.com/text.asp?2022/49/1/84/343704




  Introduction Top


In general, it is expected from medical teachers that they should transform fresh learners into competent medical graduates upon completion of their training period.[1] However, a lot goes into this, as the delivery of medical education is quite different and complicated in comparison to any other graduate courses available.[1] This is predominantly because medical student has to be trained in such a way that they understand the needs of the local community and accordingly deliver care and services to the general population.[2] These patient care attributes do not come to the student just like that, rather it is the result of hard work from the students and the constant guidance given by the medical teachers to help students acquire critical thinking, clinical reasoning, problem-solving, and decision-making skills.[3],[4] It is quite obvious that a successful medical practitioner will essentially require sound clinical knowledge and should be abreast of the recent developments in their specific fields. However, to sustain these throughout their careers, the real seeds are sown by medical teachers in the undergraduate training period, wherein students are made to understand the importance of being self-directed learners.[2],[3],[4]


  Medical Teachers and Noncognitive Attributes Top


Teachers play an instrumental role in helping the students acquire various noncognitive attributes essential for successful medical practice.[1],[5] A medical student is expected to be a truly professional person, who is honest, punctual, practices altruism, adheres to the basic principles of ethics and is accountable for their actions toward the patients, family members, and the community. This domain of training is imparted to the medical students by teachers through role modeling and a lot happens while students see how their teachers interact with the patients and their family members. On a similar note, the inputs of teachers are crucial in helping the students to acquire teamwork and leadership skills. Teachers make the student understand that if we want to save the lives of people or minimize their suffering or improve their quality of life, it is just not possible to do it alone. On the contrary, we have to adopt a team approach, wherein the jobs assigned to each stakeholder (namely nursing staff, pharmacist, laboratory technician, etc.) are acknowledged and respected by the medical teachers.[2],[3],[4]

This trait of teamwork essentially requires that students should work on their communication skills, and here, once again, the role played by teachers is quite crucial. They help the students to understand how to initiate a conversation with the patient, build rapport, win the confidence of the patient and their family members, make patients understand the overall prognosis, and respond to the needs of patients in stressful situations.[6] In addition, teachers help the student to acquire leadership skills, and thereby become more organized and systematic in their approach. The training for all these traits is imparted to the students knowing that each student is different from another, and thus, one single approach would not meet the requirements of all. Thus, a teacher has to adopt the use of interactive teaching–learning methods to ensure that the needs of different types of learners are met adequately.[3],[4],[5]


  Challenges Identified in Teaching and Potential Solutions Top


A number of challenges have been identified from the teachers' perspective in medical training.[7],[8],[9],[10] These challenges include a lack of teamwork in the department and the very fact that multiple responsibilities are being allocated to a single faculty. Considering the fact that the success of any teaching–learning or assessment initiative will require support from all the faculty members in the department, it is a must that all of them should join their hands and work together for the betterment of the students. In addition, the inability of teachers to actively engage all types of learners or the inability to meet the needs of different learners is also a major challenge for the teachers. This is predominantly because a teacher has to be competent enough to address the demands of different types of learners and help them to improve their skills.

Considering that a number of responsibilities have been allocated to the medical teachers, other than teaching, it becomes a challenging task in terms of time available to them for adequately preparing for the teaching–learning sessions.[7] Further, many of the teachers have not learned the art of effectively delivering feedback to the students or to motivate the students to continue the hard work to enable them to keep moving forward toward the attainment of the learning competencies. Moreover, as the teachers in a medical college tend to not receive formal training before being appointed to their job, it is too much to expect them to understand the needs of the students, and thus many of them express their inability to organize the content that needs to be taught to the students within the available time in a session.[7],[8]

Furthermore, owing to the lack of collaboration in the department or due to the absence of curriculum mapping, the same topics are being repeated in both theory and practical sessions.[8] This reflects a poor organization of the syllabus and justifies the need to be more organized and utilize the available time for better teaching. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a major challenge for the teachers, wherein they have to simultaneously deal with the issues of shortage of clinical material, lack of information technology support, and the inability of the teachers to use different tools to expedite the process of online learning and assessment.[9],[10] This calls for the need to organize faculty development programs to enable them to adequately use online tools for teaching and assessment.[8],[9],[10] Finally, high expectations of the administration also make it a challenging task for the teachers, wherein it is expected that they should excel in all the roles assigned to them and not only in the teaching domain.[1],[5] This puts loads of pressure on them and clearly justifies the need that such kinds of pressure should not be exerted on the teachers as it affects their overall performance and compromises their contribution in teaching.[1],[5]


  Conclusion Top


The job profile of medical teachers is extremely demanding as they have to simultaneously perform on various domains. There is an immense need to support the medical teachers in their assigned roles so that their overall outcomes can be significantly enhanced.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Frenk J, Chen L, Bhutta ZA, Cohen J, Crisp N, Evans T, et al. Health professionals for a new century: Transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world. Lancet 2010;376:1923-58.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Cruess RL, Cruess SR, Steinert Y. Medicine as a community of practice: Implications for medical education. Acad Med 2018;93:185-91.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Gagnon N, Bernier C, Houde S, Xhignesse M. Teaching and learning clinical reasoning: A teacher's toolbox to meet different learning needs. Br J Hosp Med (Lond) 2020;81:1-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Ten Eyck RP, Tews M, Ballester JM, Hamilton GC. Improved fourth-year medical student clinical decision-making performance as a resuscitation team leader after a simulation-based curriculum. Simul Healthc 2010;5:139-45.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Nawabi S, Shaikh SS, Javed MQ, Riaz A. Faculty's perception of their role as a medical teacher at Qassim University, Saudi Arabia. Cureus 2020;12:e9095.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Pope L, Dubras L. Delivering medical education for future healthcare needs: A community-focused challenge. Educ Prim Care 2020;31:266-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
World Health Organization. Transforming and Scaling up Health Professionals' Education and Training. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2013. Available from: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/93635/1/9789241506502_eng.pdf. [Last accessed on 8 Feb 2022].  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Al-Umran KU, Al-Sheikh MH, Adkoli BV. Impact of a medical education unit on assessment practices. Med Educ 2009;43:1089-90.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Keshavarzi MH, Soltani Arabshahi SK, Gharrahee B, Sohrabi Z, Mardani-Hamooleh M. Exploration of faculty members' perceptions about virtual education challenges in medical sciences: A qualitative study. J Adv Med Educ Prof 2019;7:27-34.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
O'Sullivan SM, Khraibi AA, Chen W, Corridon PR. Challenges faculty faced transitioning to e-learning platforms during the current pandemic in the United Arab Emirates. J Med Educ Curric Dev 2021;8:23821205211025858.  Back to cited text no. 10
    




 

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Introduction
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