COVID-19 Interferes With Medical Students’ Studies

COVID-19 has a bone to pick with medical professionals and students alike

As pressure grows on medical professionals to address the current pandemic, medical students find their education disrupted by the disease.

Esmeralda Corn, a sophomore studying sports medicine and physical therapy at the University of New Mexico stated that the coronavirus has drastically shifted the school year for her.

Corn said, “It’s difficult for me, because before the pandemic started I was going to start an internship at a clinic in Silver City, and obviously that was cancelled. And that played a major role as far as my hours towards my bachelor’s degree, as well as for my job after the internship. It was difficult to suddenly have that taken away from me.”

Hospitals heavily weigh a prospective employee’s practical hospital experience, which makes the termination of internships and shadowing programs a difficult hit for students who are career focused.

Due to New Mexico’s health restrictions, students are also unable to participate in in-person labs in a controlled environment with their professors. Many are done through kits done at home, with physical therapy students performing labs on themselves while on call with another student so they can review one another’s performance.

Corn expressed frustration with the state of her classes, feeling uncertain if she is learning applicable skills in an online mediated learning environment. “These [labs] are already pretty difficult when face to face,” she said. “But now with a lot of things being online, the issue is you’re not really acquiring any experience, and things can feel fake almost.” She also reports that peers of hers feel similarly uncertain.

While lecture style classes can naturally convert to an online space, the transition is less smooth for classes predicated on direct practical experience. How students will be able to supplement this direct experience remains uncertain, with no defined end of COVID-19 preventative measures known at the time of publication.

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