Medical educators at UMB — and nationwide — are finding creative ways of helping students move forward in their education during this pandemic.

They’re fighting for their patients. They’re distancing themselves to protect their families. They’re struggling to balance responsibility with personal wellness. They’re working each day to protect our education. They are medical school educators.

I am one of many rising fourth-year medical students dealing with the unknown that lies ahead this next year. Although we are all experiencing heightened stress in these trying times, the effort and creativity that our medical educators are using to ensure our education moves forward should not be overlooked. The normal cadence of the world may be on hold, but our schooling is not thanks to their incredible determination.

In the era of COVID-19, our instructors have been tasked not only to come up with innovative solutions that optimize academic endeavors, but to do so at an accelerated rate. Through virtual learning modules and assessments, remote standardized patient interactions, and the development of telehealth electives, we have been able to maintain our erudition.

Faculty across the country communicate week after week to determine how to best continue educating their students, while also holding meetings to address student concerns and to develop a safe, efficient plan for the resumption of clinical work. Even with these busy schedules, they also prioritize time to meet with us individually and to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. As much as we are leaning on family and friends during this time, students must acknowledge just how much we are relying on the dedication, sacrifice, and care of our educators.

This pandemic could lead to a transformation in medical education as a reliance on new technologies to provide alternate avenues of training has led to innovative modes of instruction. Even as in-person training resumes, the advancements in virtual learning platforms may serve as high-quality tools that continue to be utilized in medical curriculums.

While these strides forward in academics are significant, it is even more important to recognize and be grateful for the physicians who have made every effort to support students and guide us through a period of uncertainty that they themselves must learn to navigate as well.

We may not be able to predict what our final year will entail. But we can be certain that our educators will be there every step of the way. 

Disclaimer: Elm Voices & Opinions articles reflect the thoughts or opinions of their individual authors, and may not represent the thoughts or values of UMB as an institution.

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