Training in Health Professions Education
The role of a teacher is invaluable in molding the students and facilitating the progress in education. In professional fields like medical, dental or nursing, their role is even more crucial and many-a-times not felt important. It is assumed that adult learners gain the necessary skills by themselves unlike school, where there is a meticulous systematic training protocol. It is true that the children are different from adults. But the role of teacher in health professions education, is even more demanding. It is a well proven fact that school methods of teaching or training may not be effective for a college learner. The adult learning principles as outlined by Dr.Malcolm Knowles, show the difference between the learning processes in an adult and also outline special requirements of such a learner and the facilitator.In reality, the health care provider is assumed to be an experienced teacher in an institution. He/She is expected to deliver the duties as a teacher without any formal training. Some teachers in health professions education do not accept the fact that delivery of curriculum is a science of education by itself. In the past few decades, the awareness crept-in owing to the efforts of some leaders in education. This has propelled some of the motivated teachers to deliver their best, realizing education as a science that need to be learnt and mastered.Faculty development programs and constant endeavors in education have attempted to hone skills of the teacher and present them as quality trainers in health profession. Against all odds, these attempts were made to benefit the stake holders i.e., the students and patients.Ancient teaching and training was carried out through transfer of knowledge and skills through disciplining and apprenticeship. With the evolution and advancements of science and education, formal systematic training developed core competency based training and evaluation based on education principles primarily developed for school education with some modifications to suit the adult learners.The steps taken by health care providers and veterans in education technology to bring in sound scientific principles of education into health care education are commendable.
On the other hand there has always been a belief that traditional delivery of curriculum in medical education have yielded better results. It was felt that the doctors of yester years have been found to be more competent and intuitive than the recent years. Their belief have also attributed the reasons of failure in expected outcomes in the recent years, to rampant increase in training institutions and poor selection process, which have affected the input quality of students. It was also commented that provision of rich clinical resource material and experiential learning are more important in health professions education than intensive training of faculty involved in the training.
In many countries, demand for health professions is more with increase in disease burden of the society. Complex diseases and conditions emerge due to change in environment and lifestyle which have altered the presenting disease and the health care provider need to be equipped to deal with such conditions. Family medicine and Personalized medicine still seem a far-fetched concept in the developing country like India.
India as a developing country has its own setbacks with lack of technology in hospitals and training institutions which could deliver training through such a model.
The river is becoming more turbulent. Challenges and changes are to be realized, accepted and internalized by the trainers. Although clinical acumen and practice based knowledge remain the core of the medical training, other attributes like patient centered care, professionalism, digital proficiency carry equal weightage in the list of competencies expected from a health care provider. It is high time that the teachers of the profession wake up to the words of Dr. K. R. Sethuraman, that “current education system is taught by doctors of today, with the curriculum of yester years to the doctors of tomorrow”. The popular “Lancet’s commission on Medical Education” which is a collaboration of 20 of world’s leading professionals, proposed a shared vision that, “all health professionals in all countries should be educated to mobilize knowledge and to engage in critical reasoning and ethical conduct so that they are competent to participate in patient and population-centered health systems as members of locally responsive and globally connected teams”. They are talking about strengthening “the bridge” over troubled waters. The doctors and other health professionals are the bridge which should be flawlessly constructed to withstand the turbulence by evolution of digital era, increasing disease burden and changing generation.