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Undergraduate medical education: Psychological perspectives from India

Medknow Publications
Publication Date
DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.37317
  • Symposium: Under Graduate Psychiatry
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Psychology


INTRODUCTION Undergraduate medical education in India in the new century is facing more challenges than ever before. Apart from the advanced technological input that came into health-care practices, the fast-changing socioeconomic cultural scenario is also posing a grave concern in the process of producing quality physicians to meet the demands of the future. Though the number of medical colleges has increased substantially to meet the health-care needs of the country, the institutions have to compete with each other to get expert medical educationists who could impart effective training. Highly lucrative jobs that are offered to an engineering or IT professional after four years of less strenuous training shake up the medical student, as well as those who are aspiring to take up the medical profession, and make them ponder whether it is worth its effort in terms of job satisfaction and remuneration. Recent introduction of changes by the policy makers, including the compulsory service in rural areas by the newly trained doctors, could pose an added stress. This is complicated by the fact that even in rural settings, the patients, as well as their relatives, have become so increasingly better informed that they tend to question the decisions and approaches of the physicians to the extent of affecting the doctor-patient relationship. In this paper we review the present curriculum in terms of the psychology component and the probable ways in which it can be effectively implemented in order to train a physician who could be facing the challenges posed, and propose to review the current selection procedure to recruit those with good aptitude for the profession. THE PRESENT CURRICULUM AND THE LEARNING OBJECTIVES RELATED TO PSYCHOLOGY The Kacker committee, constituted by the Medical Council of India (MCI),[1] recommended to include “humanities” in the pre-clinical phase and to examine the students in it. Accepting the suggestions, the curriculum provided by MCI[2] included k

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