DR. LORNA ABAD
The profound effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic in all aspects of daily life cannot be underestimated. When signs that the problem is unpredictable, one of the hard hit institutions are the schools for safety reasons. The crisis has made clear that as educators , we need to adapt and innovate without sacrificing so much the learning outcomes of our educational programs. In the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, medical education consist of 5 years for graduates of a 4 year baccalaureate program and 7 years for students in the INTARMED program. With the suspension of face-to-face instruction, the most critical years affected were those in the last 2 years (Learning Unit 6 and 7) since these were mainly clinical rotations which involved actual patient care. Will online teaching/learning be able to meet the outcomes expected of a UPCM graduate which includes: Clinical competence; Effective communication skills; leadership and management; generation and utilization of new knowledge; inter-professional practice; systems-based approach to health care practice; lifelong personal and professional development; adherence to professional and ethical standards; volunteerism,; nationalism and internationalism ;advocacy for social equity and accountability; effective teaching and organizational skills. Emergency meetings and workshops were organized to help address the fears of the faculty and students. Questions which were raised and will serve as points of my sharing were: Are the faculty ready to do online teaching ? Do the students have the necessary technological gadgets and interconnectivity especially those in the remote areas? Is the institution ready to provide the needs for online teaching? In both academic and clinical environments, medical educators are responsible for training the next generation of healthcare professionals. The pandemic has been a catalyst for seismic shifts in how we approach medical education and still aim for excellence during these challenging times.