Education as a Whole is Changing, Ezekiel Akande Acknowledges, and Healthcare Students Need to Adapt
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused schools across the globe to close. Many universities were the first to cancel classes, switching to an online forum. It allowed students to finish their courses. While online courses are an option, healthcare students need hands-on labs. Ezekiel Akande, an anesthesiologist and medical director of pain management for Somerset Regional Pain Center in Somerset, Kentucky explores how education in healthcare will be evolving.
Ezekiel Akande explains that medical students depend heavily on labs and clinics. They need to physically see what’s happening. They need to be able to pick up instruments and perform various procedures. Without being able to gather in a classroom, it can make it harder for students to get an education in healthcare.
While technology is evolving, Ezekiel Akande fears that it won’t be enough. Technology is already allowing students to watch videos. Students can collaborate using whiteboards. There are even some sites that allow for gamification. It involves the ability to turn learning activities into games.
What about using microscopes? Dissecting cadavers? This is where Ezekiel Akande fears that education in healthcare will be difficult. These are necessary for medical students as it provides them with a firm understanding of how the body works.
Virtual dissection labs are already being created. It allows students to use a computer mouse or a tablet to trace what needs to be cut. They can zoom in to see nerves, organs, and other critical information. However, it doesn’t allow them to hold a scalpel in their hands. They aren’t able to move organs with their gloved hands in order to “feel” their way around – and that’s where Ezekiel Akande wonders how virtual labs will translate when medical students find themselves face to face with a real patient.
The answers aren’t completely known yet, Ezekiel Akande admits. Some colleges and universities are planning on opening in the fall with no changes to the classroom or curriculum. Others are requiring masks. Others are reducing the number of students in the classrooms to allow for social distancing.
There’s already a physician shortage occurring in the United States, Ezekiel Akande states. Some of this has to do with the student debt involved. Many students simply don’t want to go to school for eight to ten years and end up with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Combine this with the pandemic and limited educational opportunities and Ezekiel Akande wonders what education in healthcare is going to look like.
Getting an education in healthcare will be more important than ever. It’s not just for those who want to become doctors, however. Education in basic healthcare should start in grade school. Virtual lessons are not enough. Ezekiel Akande warns that there has to be hands-on learning, which will involve taking a new approach now that the pandemic has changed the way that education happens.