Rope in AYUSH Doctors, say MBBS interns

The government decision to utilise the Final year MBBS students and interns in Covid wards has drawn a mixed response from the medical fraternity.

Published: 13th May 2021 07:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th May 2021 12:37 PM   |  A+A-

Covid-19 temporary Care Centre at Shehnai Banquet Hall attached to LNJP Hospital | Parveen Negi

Express News Service

The government decision to utilise the Final year MBBS students and interns in Covid wards has drawn a mixed response from the medical fraternity. A few interns, junior doctors and senior medical staff, who are working relentlessly in Covid hospitals, give us their side of the story.

Dr Prajakta More, Intern, DY Patil Hospital, Pune
For the past one year, final year MBBS students have had almost zero clinical exposure or hands-on experience in handling patients. Even after internship, an MBBS doctor under the current system of education and training is at best capable of managing basic outpatient clinics and doing simple procedures. They cannot be trained in a few weeks to handle serious patients. The government should also conduct the NEET-PG exam sooner, so that medical colleges get a fresh batch of first year resident doctors who will work more effortlessly and prevent existing resident doctors from getting worn off by the long working hours.

Dr Vishawjeet, Sundla Primary Health Center, Himachal Pradesh
In my opinion, deploying final year MBBS students for Covid duties is a perilous idea as it can have different outcomes but to what I see, they are not well trained enough to handle such major situations on their own at such an early stage of their professional life. We, as a whole medical fraternity, should come together and help each other in these testing times. The AYUSH doctors should come forward to join us. Doctors, who have completed their internships and are preparing for competitive exams, should be offered good job opportunities as they are more trained than raw MBBS final year students. In my personal experience, students are more focused on their MBBS exams as passing it is a big task. If they are being used as potential resources, they should be promised grace marks and incentives for PG exams to encourage more students into participating in this drive.

Dr Aparna Prem, DY Patil Hospital, Pune
Final year MBBS students can be assigned Covid duties but only for surveillance and monitoring of Covid patients remotely through tele-consultation and Covid data. But those who are interning, can be hired to treat and monitor non complicated Covid cases under the supervision and guidance of their faculty. In my opinion, this out-of-control situation can be managed by hiring more MBBS graduates who are willing to work in Covid wards by encouraging them in the form of incentives like good salary or grace marks in the upcoming NEET PG exam. The more number of trained doctors, the more successful will be our fight against this crisis. We should be united as a medical community and ensure fair adequate changes happen and reduce the mishandling and confusion that is plaguing our country.

Dr Vanshika Kapoor, Junior Resident Doctor at Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Hari Nagar (Last year, she interned at Covid wards)
Final year students should not be deployed in Covid wards. Rather they should be used as a resource in the war rooms and in the office of Covid Nodal Officer for monitoring non-critical patients in home isolation in their areas. They can be deployed for surveillance purposes or work under doctors to help monitor patients that do not require admission. These students are a great resource to enhance the vaccination drive. But they cannot be trained in a single day or few weeks to handle serious patients. Instead, the government should provide benefits to doctors preparing for their PG entrance exams so that they are motivated to leave their studies and work in the field.

Dr Sakshi Chhibber, Intern, Deen Dayal Hospital, New Delhi
I agree with the government decision to bring those talented and versatile upcoming doctors into the drive against Covid. These new enthusiastic doctors should get to see the current situation of the country, learn to standby and stay prepared for any further crisis in the health system. There is a saying, ‘If your mind is trained well, there is no chance that you will sink’. Likewise our young doctors can make patients mentally strong, much needed in these times. Eventually, our upcoming doctors will have to work in hospitals. It’s just a matter of months for them to take this role in their hands. We have our own individual role to play in this crisis. It is high time we come forward for ourselves and for the country’s defence, given the high scarcity of manpower in healthcare.

Dr Viraj Misra, Intern, Northern Railway Central Hospital, New Delhi
MBBS final year students can definitely be deployed for helping out doctors working in non-critical Covid patient wards. They can be used for tele-consultancy for home-isolated patients under supervision of seniors. They can help with monitoring of vitals and follow ups. All this will reduce the burden of doctors and hospitals. It is not wise to deploy them for critical patients. They still need to complete their final year studies and internship to get that exposure. Doctors and seniors will not get the time to teach them while on Covid duty and would further burden the seniors with more responsibility. I am also of the opinion that the final year students should be given incentives for their work either monetarily or in the form of grace marks in their exams.  

Dr Deepak Sangwan, Intern, AIIMS, Rishikesh
As an intern, giving all my efforts and learning new things under guidance and supervision of our faculty and resident doctors feels good when people recover and go home happy. We interns are helping hands, doing monitoring, writing progression notes, lab sampling, and accompanying patients for radiological investigations. Covid duties has its pros and cons. In normal times, we would have been sent to different departments, and would have learned only that department’s speciality. But now, most of us are posted in Covid wards with compulsory rotation twice a month; the fallout being we are not able to learn as much we should.

Dr Shubham Vishnoi, Intern, DY Patil Hospital, Pune
Final year students are still in the process of learning and vertical integration of basic and clinical sciences, so putting them at the front might not be wise. But they don’t have a choice. While the post MBBS doctors get to choose whether they want to do a job or sit back and prepare for the upcoming NEET PG, final year students are being forced to go at the front with bare minimum experience, whether or not they want to do it. It is just cheap labour in most states because employing a post MBBS doctor means shelling out more money.

Dr Ayushi Mehta, Maharishi Markandeshwar University, Mullana, Ambala
I don’t think this is a right decision because interns are not fully trained to manage the patients as they should be. Some of the medical colleges don’t even have proper equipment and staff to teach the students about the management and care of Covid patients. Also, they are not provided with PPE kits, face shields and other incentives. In Himachal Pradesh, the government has announced an incentive of Rs 3,000 per month (approximately Rs 100 per day). Is this what we deserve after five years of intense study and efforts? It is being said that the government will give grace marks to students who perform Covid duties for NEET PG. I would like to ask them, what if we get infected and are not able to make it till the exam? And how would those students, who have been preparing since the very beginning to secure a good rank and good branch, feel after someone who is just qualified and got these grace marks and secured a better college? That is not even fair! Students who have passed their MBBS and are now preparing for the exam at their home for 1-2 years… how can they serve and get the grace marks?

Let them only assist with non-critical Covid patients in home isolation, pay them a good stipend, grant them grace marks in their NEET PG exams... a few suggestions from the medical community after the government decided to put MBBS students and interns on Covid duty


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