Document Type : Commentary

Authors

Laboratory of Primary Health Care, General Practice and Health Services Research, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Abstract

During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the clinical exposure of medical students has been hindered while the impact on medical education is under investigation. The potential negative impact of
medical students on transmission rates, along with the shortages of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), their lack of proper training, and their limited ability to work independently, give rise to reasonable concerns regarding their involvement in pandemic management. Nevertheless, the heavy workload could soon provoke severe deficiencies in the frontline medical workforce. Hence, the possibility of covering gaps in human resources by effectively deploying students should not be rejected in advance. Additionally, a pandemic poses a valuable learning opportunity for high-quality medical education. The aim of this commentary is to present a discussion with supporters and opponents of medical student engagement in the pandemic management and their involvement in placements requiring physical contact with patients. We also attempt to elucidate the necessary conditions for the students’ possible involvement in clinical settings.

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