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New MBBS curriculum will have elective subjects

Hyderabad: The MBBS curriculum will now have a course called attitude, ethics and communication (AETCOM) to enhance doctors’ responsiveness to the needs of patients and their families.

The new curriculum will have elective subjects students can pick subjects of their choice and dedicate their time accordingly. Anatomy, which comprises most of the syllabus of the first year, will now require medical mannequins and also models for clinical learning. Hence apart from human cadavers, stress is also going to be laid on virtual models for the learning process.
According to sources, this will require major upgrading of systems across medical colleges in India, as methods of teaching will have to be modified. “This will pose a major challenge and the transition is not going to be easy,” said a source. Training programmes for professors will be required as they need to inculcate sensitivity to convey the same to their students. “The present system of learning is based on the fact that it is a human body which is diseased and has to be cured. Emotions and sensitivity are not part of the teaching,” the source said.

Hospitals deal with sickness and death and a sensitive response to these is imperative on the part of doctors, or indeed all hospital personnel. Trauma cases in case of road traffic accidents, victims of disasters, of domestic violence and rape need sensitive handling. Communication between doctors and patients’ relatives needs to be particularly good in case of organ donations too.

In high-risk operations, the assessment of fatality has to be communicated to relatives and the required consent for the operation must be communicated to the patient and family members in a way that they understand the risk factors. This requires dealing with them sensitively and not scaring them away.

These competencies and skills are now going to be part of the bedside training practice in hospitals and a part of the MBBS curriculum which will roll out nationally from August 2019.

The Board of Governors of the Medical Council of India have revised the syllabus after 21 years. Among other changes, clinical exposure is to begin from the first year instead of the second year, and a month-long foundation course is going to be introduced.