Medical students are happy to be finally back on campus, attending classes and work in laboratories after a long gap. Courses have been shortened to make up for the backlog. Students shared their experiences on World Health Day.
It has been quite some time since our college resumed offline classes. Now that our first professional exams are over, we are all set to start our second year in medical school. It feels good to be back in college as we can interact with our professors in person and also carry out practical experiments, which are not possible online or at home. The pandemic affected our studies as we had to keep switching between offline and online classes. We are taking extra precautions such as wearing double masks and gloves during our practicals to minimise the chance of spreading of infection. This pandemic has taught us to cope with stress and anxiety. I hope this lesson we have all learnt will help us to deal with tough situations both in the medical profession and in life.
— Aishika Das, second year, MBBS, Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata
Studying MBBS online was like learning Computer Science Engineering without a computer. Going back to college was a big relief. I was delighted to meet my friends and professors again. Wearing masks has become a habit now, I take them off only while having lunch at college. During lab activities, we are called in batches of 10 to avoid crowding. I always carry a pair of disposable gloves, and a hand sanitiser spray.
Post pandemic, we are following a trimester pattern instead of the semester pattern that was followed earlier. Finally, I feel like I have achieved a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.
— Aishik Dasgupta, second year, MBBS, Jagannath Gupta Institute of Medical Sciences
There has been a six-month delay in our academic schedule, so right now studies are being given the utmost importance. Classes are conducted in lecture halls following COVID-safety protocol. The restrictions are less in the hostel. Laboratory work is done in batches of 30. Our course structure has not changed. It has been readjusted to be completed within four years instead of the usual four and a half. There is a lot of pressure to complete the syllabus right now so that exams can be held at the right time. Now the fourth wave has been predicted so we have to be extra careful so that there is no added delay to our already late schedule.
— Sharanya Misra, first year, MBBS, Manipal Tata Medical College
There was always the anxiety and fear of getting infected but the excitement, relief and joy of being able to go back to college somehow overpowered it. We can now interact properly with our professors and solve our doubts and indulge in discussions with our batchmates, which are proving to help us grasp concepts.
Doing practicals was the most tedious part of online classes. Being an MBBS student, I finally got to dissect a cadaver, which was fascinating. We have to take all necessary precautions, keep wearing our masks during classes and maintain social distance.
There have been changes in the MBBS curriculum, including introduction of a pandemic management module, so that we feel prepared to face challenges like these in the future.
I hope that the situation improves. Each one of us needs to keep following the precautions to the best of our abilities so that we don’t have to confine ourselves within our homes once again.
– Abhipsa Patra, second year, MBBS, Bankura Sammilani Medical College and Hospital
It was a dream come true when I got admitted to a medical college. Our seniors couldn’t attend the first year offline because of the pandemic. We are really lucky to get the opportunity to start the course in physical mode. The 13-month course has been shortened to an 11-month course. Also, the vacations have been curtailed. It was exhilarating going to the dissection hall of the Anatomy department for the very first time and observing the steps shown by our professor and later trying our own hand at it. Talking about safety measures, we are always very alert and never open our masks in the eight-to-five classes except during the lunch break and try to maintain distance in the labs too.
— Aishani Bera, first year, MBBS, Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar
We resumed offline classes in my final year. We only had two months to make up before our examinations after missing most of our practical lessons last year. It was a bit chaotic. We attended practical classes for 10 to 12 hours a day at times. Even though the lessons were performed with great care, there was some risk as we interacted with patients. Patients often refused to wear masks. We wore masks and face shields. Each ward has 15 to 20 patients plus caregivers. Right now, I'm an intern. My internship will be over in a month. The last year has been filled with a lot of worry and uncertainty. The various COVID responsibilities, especially during summers, were terrible. Wearing PPEs is uncomfortable and many health workers were seen fainting and vomiting. Our COVID ICU was operational until the end of February. We're hoping we won't have to reopen it anytime soon.
— Anamika Das, final year, MBBS, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Assam.
It had been a long time since I had seen my college friends. My academics suffered as a result of my inability to visit wards and clinics. After the pandemic, things have undoubtedly changed. When I leave my room, donning a mask and carrying sanitiser has become a bare minimum. PPE in the wards and adequate handwashing after clinics are must. The course structure has remained largely unchanged but the duration has been shortened. We used to get a year, but now we’re just getting eight to nine months.
— Prayash Dhar, third year, MBBS, Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata.
It's been extremely hectic since the resumption of regular activity in medical colleges, with an ever-increasing patient load in practically all departments and a significant lack of time for students to adjust. Since the pandemic, a lot has changed but not much for medical students other than taking extra precautions while visiting wards, OTs, and laboratories. There has been no significant change to the structure of the course. Regular sanitisation, social distancing during lectures and tests, wearing masks, and avoiding large crowds have all been the norm post-pandemic, and we continue to do so.
— Prithwi Banerjee, Final Year, MBBS, IQ City Medical College and Multispeciality Hospital, Durgapur.