How medical students can perform better

The pandemic has led medical education institutions to deliver clinical training in virtual classrooms. In response to security concerns, faculties have moved to virtual classes, ending clinical rotations and preventing many medical students from interacting with real patients. During this time, it became more difficult to maintain student interest and satisfaction with the level of instruction given. Thus, it impacted the overall academic performance of students and led to severe stress.

Likewise, information overload, which is considered an occupational hazard in the field of medicine, specifically affecting first-year students, leads to unfavorable academic outcomes. It’s stressful due to the heavy and elaborate courses, leading to high levels of concurrent stress that exacerbate performance issues. To sum up, it can be said that the main challenge to the academic performance of medical students is ultimately stress.

Here are some ways to improve the performance of medical students:

Integration of clinical and non-clinical topics

By creating interest in the courses and encouraging students to read about subjects before and after the course, a change in the teaching method from conventional courses to clinically oriented courses and the integration of clinical and non-clinical subjects clinics can improve student performance on exams. These lessons include real-world problems, to arouse curiosity and a desire to learn, and to show practical application.

Additional activities

Students can benefit from the introduction of recreational activities, adequate accommodation, personal guidance and continuous encouragement from teachers to properly manage their studies and perform better in exams.

Feedback

In medical education, feedback is also a crucial and essential component of teaching, according to research. It supports and enhances the professional competence and understanding of students and increases the overall performance and professional development of physicians.

Medical institutions may have a unit with trained faculty to conduct faculty development programs to instill good feedback techniques. Feedback-seeking behavior can also be exercised as a conscious effort to determine whether one’s actions are appropriate to achieve important goals. Similarly, the MSF assessment can also be done to get feedback from peers and colleagues and learn more about a person’s behavior.

PEARLS

According to research, a method known as PEARLS can be used to explain abilities that can foster trust between teacher and student for better performance. These abilities include partnership for cooperative problem solving, empathetic understanding, apologizing for obstacles, respecting learner values ​​and choices, recognizing emotions and intentions, and assisting with rectification efforts.

Simulations and gamification

Simulation equipment replaces real patients on which a student can repeatedly make mistakes and learn without worrying about injuring the patient. Medical simulation has been shown to improve the clinical skills of undergraduate and graduate students.

Stress and emotional factors can make the simulation more realistic and engaging. Even managing time restrictions and dealing with death scenarios can be practiced by students. They will be more motivated to continue practicing in a clinical setting if this goal is clear to them. Activities that use gamification are not only entertaining but also educational, build community and rekindle the spirit of competition.

Acknowledge learner concerns

Learning outcomes can be greatly improved by recognizing and addressing learner anxiety.

Teamwork and collaboration

Encourage participation by fostering cooperation and teamwork among groups of medical students. Assign virtual patients and have them work in small groups to discuss and find solutions. Similar to how clinical judgments are made in real life, each student can give their opinion on what they think is the best course of action.

Blended and results-based learning

Low-achieving students will benefit the most from video-based blended learning lectures. Additionally, outcome-based learning using kinesthetic learning techniques that include hands-on learning methods like writing, using index cards, using your fingers, etc. can also be used. OBE is considered a comprehensive approach that offers a powerful and attractive way to manage medical education.

Small private online classes with a few participants and a live, intimate session are another type of blended learning. The three approaches on which it is based include behavioral, cognitive and relational approaches, support innovations such as flipped classrooms, close student monitoring and individualized feedback.

A physician’s success depends largely on his or her ability to master personal lifelong learning strategies, as evidenced by the overwhelming demands of obtaining, organizing, assimilating and integrating relevant information into usable knowledge.

Therefore, reducing stress levels is the first step to improving academic performance. Although still significant, all other strategies are secondary in comparison. Ultimately, a combination of the two will cut the first turf to improve academic performance in medicine.

Norma A. Roth