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Are you an international student? Are you interested in learning more about Medical Education? Do you get overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting information you see online? If so, you need not search further because you will find the answer to that question in the article below.

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Medical education is education related to the practice of being a medical practitioner, including the initial training to become a physician (i.e., medical school and internship) and additional training thereafter (e.g., residency, fellowship and continuing medical education).

Medical education and training varies considerably across the world. Various teaching methodologies have been used in medical education, which is an active area of educational research

Medical education is also the subject-didactic academic field of educating medical doctors at all levels, including entry-level, post-graduate, and continuing medical education. Specific requirements such as entrustable professional activities must be met before moving on in stages of medical education.

Common techniques and evidence base

Medical education applies theories of pedagogy specifically in the context of medical education. Medical education has been a leader in the field of evidence-based education, through the development of evidence syntheses such as the Best Evidence Medical Education collection, formed in 1999, which aimed to “move from opinion-based education to evidence-based education”. Common evidence-based techniques include the Objective structured clinical examination (commonly known as the ‘OSCE)  to assess clinical skills, and reliable checklist-based assessments to determine the development of soft skills such as professionalism. However there is a persistence of ineffective instructional methods in medical education, such as the matching of teaching to Learning styles and Edgar Dales ‘Cone of Learning’

Entry-level education

Entry-level medical education programs are tertiary-level courses undertaken at a medical school. Depending on jurisdiction and university, these may be either undergraduate-entry (most of Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania), or graduate-entry programs (mainly Australia, Philippines and North America). Some jurisdictions and universities provide both undergraduate entry programs and graduate entry programs (Australia, South Korea).

In general, initial training is taken at medical school. Traditionally initial medical education is divided between preclinical and clinical studies. The former consists of the basic sciences such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology. The latter consists of teaching in the various areas of clinical medicine such as internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, general practice and surgery.

There has been a proliferation of programmes that combine medical training with research (M.D./Ph.D.) or management programmes (M.D./ MBA), although this has been criticised because extended interruption to clinical study has been shown to have a detrimental effect on ultimate clinical knowledge.

The LCME and the “Function and Structure of a Medical School

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) is a committee of educational accreditation for schools of medicine leading to an MD in the United States and Canada. In order to maintain accreditation, medical schools are required to ensure that students meet a certain set of standards and competencies, defined by the accreditation committees. The “Function and Structure of a Medical School” article is a yearly published article from the LCME that defines 12 accreditation standards.

Entrustable Professional Activities for entering residency

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has recommended thirteen Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) that medical students should be expected to accomplish prior to beginning a residency program. EPAs are based on the integrated core competencies developed over the course of medical school training. Each EPA lists its key feature, associated competencies, and observed behaviors required for completion of that activity. The students progress through levels of understanding and capability, developing with decreasing need for direct supervision. Eventually students should be able to perform each activity independently, only requiring assistance in situations of unique or uncommon complexity.

The list of topics that EPAs address include:

  1. History and physical exam skills
  2. Differential diagnosis
  3. Diagnostic/screening tests
  4. Orders and prescriptions
  5. Patient encounter documentation
  6. Oral presentations of patient encounters
  7. Clinical questioning/using evidence
  8. Patient handovers/transitions of care
  9. Teamwork
  10. Urgent/Emergency care
  11. Informed consent
  12. Procedures
  13. Safety and improvement

Postgraduate education

Following completion of entry-level training, newly graduated doctors are often required to undertake a period of supervised practice before full registration is granted; this is most often of one-year duration and may be referred to as an “internship” or “provisional registration” or “residency”.Dean’s office at the First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague

Further training in a particular field of medicine may be undertaken. In the U.S., further specialized training, completed after residency is referred to as “fellowship”. In some jurisdictions, this is commenced immediately following completion of entry-level training, while other jurisdictions require junior doctors to undertake generalist (unstreamed) training for a number of years before commencing specialization.

Each residency and fellowship program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), a non-profit organization led by physicians with the goal of enhancing educational standards among physicians. The ACGME oversees all MD and DO residency programs in the United States. As of 2019, there were approximately 11,700 ACGME accredited residencies and fellowship programs in 181 specialties and subspecialties.

Education theory itself is becoming an integral part of postgraduate medical training. Formal qualifications in education are also becoming the norm for medical educators, such that there has been a rapid increase in the number of available graduate programs in medical education.

Continuing medical education

In most countries, continuing medical education (CME) courses are required for continued licensing. CME requirements vary by state and by country. In the USA, accreditation is overseen by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). Physicians often attend dedicated lectures, grand rounds, conferences, and performance improvement activities in order to fulfill their requirements. Additionally, physicians are increasingly opting to pursue further graduate-level training in the formal study of medical education as a pathway for continuing professional development.

Online learning

Medical education is increasingly utilizing online teaching, usually within learning management systems (LMSs) or virtual learning environments (VLEs). Additionally, several medical schools have incorporated the use of blended learning combining the use of video, asynchronous, and in-person exercises. A landmark scoping review published in 2018 demonstrated that online teaching modalities are becoming increasingly prevalent in medical education, with associated high student satisfaction and improvement on knowledge tests. However, the use of evidence-based multimedia design principles in the development of online lectures was seldom reported, despite their known effectiveness in medical student contexts. To enhance variety in an online delivery environment, the use of serious games, which have previously shown benefit in medical education, can be incorporated to break the monotony of online-delivered lectures.

Research areas into online medical education include practical applications, including simulated patients and virtual medical records (see also: telehealth). When compared to no intervention, simulation in medical education training is associated with positive effects on knowledge, skills, and behaviors and moderate effects for patient outcomes. However, data is inconsistent on the effectiveness of asynchronous online learning when compared to traditional in-person lectures. Furthermore, studies utilizing modern visualization technology (i.e. virtual and augmented reality) have shown great promise as means to supplement lesson content in physiological and anatomical education.

Telemedicine/telehealth education

With the advent of telemedicine (aka telehealth), students learn to interact with and treat patients online, an increasingly important skill in medical education. In training, students and clinicians enter a “virtual patient room” in which they interact and share information with a simulated or real patient actors. Students are assessed based on professionalism, communication, medical history gathering, physical exam, and ability to make shared decisions with the patient actor.

Medical curriculum and evidence-based medical education journals

Medical curriculum vary widely among medical schools and residency programs, but generally follow an evidence based medical education (EBME) approach. These evidence based approaches are published in medical journals. The list of peer-reviewed medical education journals includes, but is not limited to:

  • Academic Medicine
  • Medical Education
  • Advances in Health Science Education
  • Medical Teacher

Open access medical education journals:

  • BMC Medical Education
  • Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development

Graduate Medical Education and Continuing Medical Education focused journals:

  • Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions
  • Journal of Graduate Medical Education

This is not a complete list of medical education journals. Each medical journal in this list has a varying impact factor, or mean number of citations indicating how often it is used in scientific research and study.

Medicine courses are offered in various specialisations including Medical and Biomedical Sciences, Pharmacy, Allied Health, Nursing, Health, and Fitness. A course in Medicine and Health Sciences requires students to learn and abide by the Hippocratic Oath for ethical conduct which says, that as a medical practitioner a person needs to practice arts and science of medicine honestly in all aspects i.e. patient care, teaching and research. Students holding a degree in Medical and Health science will get career opportunities in hospitals, and private clinics in the healthcare sector. A Medical and Health Science graduate can also work with research centres, laboratories, and Pharmaceuticals Industry.

Medicine & Health Sciences Eligibility and Entrance Exams

The eligibility criteria for Medical & Health Sciences aspirants, which they must fulfil to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate level courses are as follows:

  • Candidates must have passed Class 12/Higher Secondary/Pre-University qualifying examination with Science subjects i.e. Physics, Chemistry and Zoology/Botany.
  • They also must have studied English as the main subject for their qualifying examination.
  • Moreover, candidates also need to fulfil the age limit criteria i.e. they must have completed 17 years of age at the time of admissions.
  • There are also additional eligibility conditions mentioned by the regulatory authorities for respective disciplines i.e. Medical Council of India (MCI), Dental Council of Indian, and Indian Nursing Council, Pharmacy Council of India, Indian Association of Physiotherapists and respective associations/council for other medical and health science courses.

Top Entrance Exams for Medicine & Health Sciences

The following list brings the top Medical and Health Sciences exams conducted in India:

  • NIPER Joint Entrance Examination
  • Central Universities Common Entrance Test
  • Jamia Milia Islamia Entrance Exam

Becoming a physician, nurse or other health care specialist requires many years of education. But the learning doesn’t stop once a license and board certification have been earned and practice begins—learning continues by way of continued medical education, or CME.

CME is crucial to the prosperity of health care providers—it allows a practitioner to learn and discover viable ways to improve on the patient care they deliver and effectively manage a career in the ever-changing landscape of the medical industry. The requirements or acceptable level of CME vary across medical disciplines, but they are equally important no matter the specialty or scope of practice in which a provider is engaged. Continuing medical education allows health care providers to:

  • Refine skills to improve overall patient care
  • Stay current with the latest developments within their specialty
  • Address real-world challenges that health care professionals face day to day
  • Gain professional growth and a means to advance career status
  • Meet licensing/certification requirements
  • Learn effective medical team management skills
  • Earn membership in professional organizations

There are many continuing medical education program choices available. In order for a CME program to be viable in meeting licensing and credentialing requirements, the program must be accredited.

The premier CME accrediting agency is the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). The ACCME accredits over 2,000 CME providers as approved for offering continuing medical education programming and courses. This includes 700 independent agencies and 1,300 state-based organizations. The ACCME is committed to ensuring that medical practitioners have access to quality learning opportunities and a solid means to obtain and meet licensing and credentialing requirements. ACCME’s accreditation ensures that a CME program meets rigorous high standards of relevance, effectiveness and independence for today’s medical practitioners. Additionally, the American Osteopathic Association offers CME accreditation to facilities and programs that support osteopathic medicine.

Choosing the right certification program doesn’t have to be difficult, but should be done wisely to ensure that it will help you achieve your goals. Select a program that offers a diverse collection of courses, allowing for growth within your specialty and advancement beyond, if desired.

Medicine & Health Sciences Skill Set

Every Medical and Health Sciences practitioner must have below mentioned skill sets to be the best in the industry:

  • Ability to work in a critical and dynamic environment
  • Dedication towards professional commitments and medical ethics
  • Desire for knowledge and learning new research
  • Scientific research and development skills
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Sharp memory and prompt approach
  • Counselling and caring skills
  • Approachable and empathetic skills
  • Medical writing skills
  • Patience and perseverance

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Medicine & Health Sciences Syllabus

Students can check the syllabus for Medicine and Health Science courses in the table below:

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
BiochemistryCommunity Medicine
PhysiologyDermatology & Venereology
Forensic Medicine & ToxicologyMedicine
MicrobiologyObstetrics & Gynecology
Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
General Human Anatomy including Embryology, Osteology and HistologyGeneral Human Physiology, BiochemistryGeneral Medicine
Nutrition and DieteticsGeneral Surgery
Dental materialsOral Pathology and Microbiology
General PathologyOrthodontics
General and Dental Pharmacology and TherapeuticsPedodontics
Oral and Dental Anatomy, Physiology and HistologyProsthodontics and Crown & Bridge 
Conservative Dentistry and EndodonticsOral Surgery, Local Anesthesia and General Anesthesia
Oral Medicine and RoentgenologyCommunity Dentistry
BSc Nursing
BiochemistrySkin & Communicable diseases
Fundamentals of Nursing, First aid with appliedGynae
Sciences and PharmacologyGeneral Med. Surg.
Introduction to community healthApplied pharmacology
PsychologyPsychiatric Nursing
Introduction to medical-surgical nursingO.T. Technique
Med. Surg. NursingMicrobiology
Health Education & A.V. Aids.M.C.H.
Med. Surg. Nursing (speciality nursing) ICUSociology & Social Medicine
Pediatric Nursing & Growth & DevelopmentTrends in Nursing & Professional adjustment
Public Health NursingMidwifery & Obstetrical Nursing
Principles of administration & supervisionElective-Introduction to Research and statistics
Public Health (The discipline is offered at certificate, diploma, postgraduate or doctorate level only)
Social and Preventive PharmacyIntroduction to Public health
Pharma Marketing ManagementEpidemiology
Pharmaceutical Regulatory ScienceBiostatistics and Data Management
PharmacovigilanceSocial and behavioural sciences in health
Quality Control and Standardization ofEnvironmental (incorporating climate change) and Occupational Health
HerbalsHealth Policy & Management
Computer-Aided Drug DesignResearch methods
DemographyNon-communicable diseases including Mental Health
Seminar on National Health programmesSeminars on gender, vulnerable population, emerging issues
Global HealthDisaster preparedness & management
Leadership, Communication and Training Skills Reproductive and Child Health Urban HealthMonitoring& Evaluation (including RHIS)
Public Health NutritionPublic Health Ethics and Laws
Communicable diseases including surveillanceScientific writing
Bachelor of Physiotherapy
AnatomyOrientation to Physiotherapy
PsychologyExercise Therapy
Basic NursingResearch Methodology & Biostatistics
First Aid & CPROrthopaedics and Sports
Introduction to TreatmentPhysiotherapy
Clinical Observation PostingCardio-Respiratory & General Physiotherapy
General MedicineSupervised Rotatory Clinical Training
General SurgeryNeurology & Neurosurgery
Orthopedics & TraumatologyCommunity Medicine
Neuro-PhysiotherapySupervised Rotatory Clinical Training
Community-Based RehabilitationEthics, Administration and Supervision

Medicine & Health Sciences Jobs and Career Opportunities

As seen above, there are various courses which fall under the category of ‘Medical Courses’. Therefore the job and career opportunities for these courses are also varied. Candidates can refer to the table below to know about the career options they would get to choose from if they opt for any of the above-mentioned medical courses.

Job ProfilesAverage Salary (in INR)
Registered Nurse2.90 lakh and above
Medical Researcher7.20 lakh and above
Medical Science Liaison7 lakh and above
General Surgeon5 lakh and above
Physiotherapist3 lakh and above
Anesthesiologist12 lakh and above
Healthcare Consultant12.20 lakh and above
Medical Officer5.80 lakh and above
Medical Laboratory Technician2 lakh and above
Environmental Health and Safety Manager9 lakh and above
Healthcare Manager6 lakh and above
Nurse Educator/Trainer3.50 lakh and above

Medicine & Health Sciences Top Recruiters

The top recruiters for Medical and Health Sciences degree holders are majorly Hospitals, Medical Research Centres, Pharmaceuticals, etc. A person holding a degree in Medical and Health Sciences can also practice from their own clinic after getting a Licence from their regulatory authority:

  • Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals
  • Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre
  • Medanta Hospitals
  • Wockhardt Ltd.
  • Fortis Healthcare Ltd.
  • Apollo Hospitals Enterprises Ltd.
  • All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)
  • Cipla Ltd.
  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
  • Religare Health Insurance Company Ltd.
  • Apollo Munich Health Industries Co. Ltd.
  • Omega Healthcare
  • Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research
  • United Healthcare Group
  • Sri Ganga Ram Hospital
  • Max Healthcare

The courses offered under Medical and Health Science are – MBBS, BDS, BPharm, BSc in Nursing, Public Health, Bachelor in Optometry, and more specialisations. To become successful in the Medical and Health Science field, one needs to specialise by pursuing post-graduation and research studies in medicine.

As a service industry sector, healthcare is multifaceted. It encompasses sub-sectors such as hospitals, medical equipment, clinical procedures, telecommunication and IT for the medical field, medical tourism, and health insurance.

How Long Is Medical School and What Is it Like?

Medical school professors and administrators say aspiring doctors should come to terms with the amount of studying and training required to become a licensed physician before they make the decision on whether medicine is right for them. Pursuing a medical degree is a serious commitment that should not be taken lightly, experts say, and it should mark the beginning of a lifelong commitment to fighting disease and promoting wellness.

Medical school typically lasts four years, but once someone receives either an M.D. or a D.O. degree, they generally go onto the next phase of their medical training, typically a residency in their desired specialty, such as surgery or radiology. Aspiring sub-specialists who want to focus on a particular niche of a medical specialty, such as someone who wants to develop expertise in treating a specific type of cancer as opposed to becoming a generalist oncologist who treats multiple kinds of cancer, will ordinarily complete a fellowship in addition to a residency program.

For a medical student who subsequently completes a residency and fellowship, it may add up to a combined decade or longer of training to become a physician.

Whether someone can make that long-term commitment is really a personal decision,” Dr. David Rose, associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the Howard University College of Medicine in the District of Columbia, wrote in an email. “From an advising standpoint, we remind students that despite the long training, physicians will be in practice for a longer time than they have been in training, so students who have the ability to work towards the so-called light at the end of the tunnel to reach their goals will do well.”

Dr. Inna Husain, an assistant professor in the department of otolaryngology at Rush University Medical College in Chicago, also cautions students to be aware that the time demands are equivalent to working a full-time job. “Medical school isn’t something where you can have a different job or career with it,” she says. “You really need to focus on medical school.”

Husain, who also serves as the institution’s assistant residency program director for simulation education, says med students in clinical rotations often have unpredictable and irregular schedules, so flexibility and adaptability is paramount for these students. “That’s where you need to be prepared for not having weekends off, not being able to plan ahead,” she says. “You can’t really book anything more than a month or two in advance, because you might have to work on that Saturday.”

Husain adds that medical school courses tend to be exceedingly rigorous, so premed students who did not perform well in college science classes should think twice about whether they are ready for the academic challenge. “If you’re struggling in their undergrad science classes, it’s going to be very hard to get through at least the basic requirements for science in medical school,” she says.

Dr. Janelle Luk – the medical director of Generation Next Fertility, a fertility clinic in New York City, who earned her medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine – says most med students are in their 20s and 30s, which is a momentous stage of their personal lives. It can be difficult for these students to see their same-aged peers settling down and starting families while they are still students, she suggests, warning that medical students often have anxieties about falling behind on their relationship and family goals.

Husain advises medical school hopefuls not to be deterred from their career goals simply because they intend to pursue serious romantic relationships or because they want to start a family. “I don’t think that should scare people away who are interested in this,” she says.

She adds it is common for medical students to start families during their residency and fellowship training programs, and she says these programs strive to achieve work-life balance among trainees.

Luk says one thing medical school hopefuls should consider is whether they have enough interest in medicine and compassion for sick patients that they can sustain strong motivation throughout their multiyear medical training. “At the end, it’s the passion,” she says. “It’s the compassion that you have in your heart. If you have it, no matter how long that road is, if this is a calling, if this is what you want to do in life, then it will trump everything. It trumps long years. It trumps loans. It trumps other parts of life.”

Dr. McGreggor Crowley, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and an admissions counselor with the IvyWise admissions consulting firm, says medical school requires a high degree of both emotional resilience and academic aptitude, so any prospective medical student should honestly assess whether he or she has those two qualities.

“A student might gauge whether they are prepared for the rigors of medical school through self-reflection,” Crowley wrote in an email. “When their biology lab experiment exploded, or when they received a C on a paper they worked incredibly hard on, were they distressed and did they fall apart? Or did they learn from the experience, revise their experimental method, and edit their essay with their professor’s feedback?”

“Having resilience and being able to identify strategies that build resilience are two of the most important qualities an applicant can have to weather the rigors of medical school,” Crowley says. “Additionally, reflecting on their academic transcript is also important. If the applicant looks back and sees a preponderance of B’s, even in straightforward in-her-major classes, this would be for me a warning sign that the applicant may need additional fortification to prepare for the rigors of med school.”

Luk says med school courses build upon the foundation of knowledge that students established as premeds in difficult college courses. She says that, because med students tend to be studious and ambitious, classes tend to move at a fast pace.

The hardest transition in medical school is also the most important moment, Luk says: when students progress from classroom learning to clinical rotations, where they learn how to diagnose and cure diseases in real-life patients.