By Prarthana Mitra
The Medical Council of India (MCI) announced this week that it has decided to update the graduate medical curriculum, for the first time in 21 years. Called ‘Competency-based UG Curriculum for the Indian Medical Graduate’, the revised MBBS syllabus will include courses on mental health, public health, and ethics, including a module on counselling patients and their relatives about organ donation.
To fill crucial gaps in the country’s medical advice delivery system, the new curriculum will also teach aspiring medical professionals to base their diagnosis on the patients’ social status and take their gender into account.
Focus on soft skills and outcome
“The new undergraduate curriculum regulations are more learner-centric, patient-centric, gender-sensitive, outcome-oriented, and environment appropriate. The result is an outcome-driven curriculum, which conforms to global trends,” read the syllabus booklet on MCI’s website.
Lessons on logging patient information and maintaining clear records will also be imparted, along with a separate programme for communication skills and professional behaviour, known as AETCOM (Attitude, Ethics, and Communication). Students will be groomed to interact better with patients and their kin and become better equipped at avoiding miscommunication under this initiative, which will expose them to real-life situations right from their first year. Students will also be evaluated on their ability to handle patient relations, with particular emphasis on how to handle sensitive issues like obtaining a patient’s consent before a procedure.
In a brand new move, the board has further decided to introduce a foundational course from aspiring MBBS students hailing from diverse backgrounds, to help them transition better.
Why it matters
With an interdisciplinary approach, MCI hopes to solidify the foundation for medical students, by teaching soft skills that play an equally important role in delivering health services today. Medical education can no longer bank on clinical training in the classroom and rote learning alone; it has to acknowledge the importance of ethics and responsiveness through a practicable pedagogy. The current health needs of the country, and the existing system’s inability to meet them, suggest that an overhaul has been long overdue.
The revised syllabus, which hopes to create doctors adept at clinical treatment and communication both, is likely to be implemented from the next academic year starting August 2019.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius