Medical Knowledge and Learning Gaps In The Era of COVID-19


The COVID-19 Pandemic has not only wrecked havoc upon the healthcare sector and has endangered the lives of millions, but has also almost equally affected businesses and economies. It has also affected each individual person differently. Everyone seems to be affected and stuck under the additional burdens and loads posed by the COVID-19 crisis, and it is almost evident that coming out of this crisis and burden would no doubt be a hard and time-consuming task. 


If we talk in particular about the people who are directly affected by it - that is, the healthcare personnel and the junior doctors and students, then they have undoubtedly had their fair share of loss and have faced a lot of troubles with regards to their studies and practice and clinical rotations. 

How Has COVID-19 Affected Medical Students and Junior Doctors?

As this is a well-established fact that a doctor is useless without any practical implementation of his skills, then this very fact could prove to be very disappointing and discouraging for all the aspiring medical students and junior doctors because they can no longer be exposed like before to the patients and try out their skills. 

With the advent of COVID-19, the entire educational sector was forced to move to virtual platforms. This seemed favorable at that time as keeping the health of both the tutor/facilitator and the student was the main priority.
For medical students, this was not that favorable. More than half of their studies is based on real-life patients and real-time clinical scenarios.
This sudden shift from live, hospital exposure to a screen-bound platform was not only limiting, but also caused an immediate rift to be created in their studies and clinical exposure.

When a group of Final Year Medical students from the UK was asked to give their opinions on how COVID-19 affected their studies and most importantly their clinical observerships, the majority of the students expressed their disappointment and reacted that they were reluctant to continue the upcoming academic year as they had to safeguard both - their lives as well as their future careers at a time as crucial as this.

The Bottom Line:

Medical students and junior doctors who are yet to start their training years feel confused about their next step - there has been a definite and visible education gap which has done no good but only created problems for everyone out there. There still exists an uncertainty about how long this pandemic will last and for how long it will continue to keep us restricted within our homes.
But one thing is evident - the students of today and the doctors of tomorrow would be more well-versed than us on how to deal with large-scale problems and disease outbreaks like the one that they are experiencing at a time like this. 



  1. Hilburg R, Patel N, Ambruso S, Biewald MA, Farouk SS. Medical Education During the Coronavirus Disease-2019 Pandemic: Learning From a Distance [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jun 23]. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2020;doi:10.1053/j.ackd.2020.05.017
  2. Choi, B., Jegatheeswaran, L., Minocha, A. et al. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on final year medical students in the United Kingdom: a national survey. BMC Med Educ 20, 206 (2020).
  3. Yasmeen M. Byrnes, Alyssa M. Civantos, Beatrice C. Go, Tara L. McWilliams & Karthik Rajasekaran (2020) Effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical student career perceptions: a national survey study, Medical Education Online, 25:1, DOI: 10.1080/10872981.2020.1798088
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Medical Knowledge and Learning Gaps In The Era of COVID-19
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