Aside from treating patients with Coronavirus and researching the virus, universities for medicine are currently focusing on finding solutions to continue teaching in universities.
„We set up a task force and we advise on the upcoming steps”, reports Matthias Frosch, president of the Medical Faculty Association (MFT). This takes place continuously because, given the dynamic development of the pandemic, the recommendations of the task force could only reflect the current status and would have to be adjusted if necessary
The task force of MFT consists of 15 deans, study deans and research deans from various medical universities who meet online twice a week. A video conference takes place every Friday with representatives of the 38 medical universities in Germany. This guarantees a mutually coordinated approach and the publication of uniform recommendations for changing the teaching process.
This is urgently required, as all federal states have postponed the start of the summer semester 2020 or initially stopped face to face teaching. „These measures are necessary to contain the pandemic and are supported unconditionally by the medical faculties and the university clinics,” emphasizes the MFT President.
To reduce the risk of infection and pool resources for healthcare, all the seminars, lectures and practical courses would be suspended with immediate effect.
However, for the medical studies, further specifications are necessary to ensure the continuous training of the doctors and thus a complete assurance of the next generation of doctors. This is socially important, especially in times during and after the pandemic.
Of course, medical students could also take on healthcare tasks during the pandemic. The faculties support this. The respective activities of medical students should be contractually regulated. „The faculties will recognize these activities as a course achievement in individual cases upon request,” said Frosch.
The decision on the recognition of the subject and the form of teaching (teaching at the bedside, block internship or nursing internship) should be made in individual cases according to the individual regulations by the faculties in consultation with the state governments, Frosch said.
Students who are currently in the practical year (PJ) in the university clinics or teaching hospitals and medical practices should complete their PJ sections as planned. Courses during the PJ should only take place virtually.
The MFT also wants to take into account the students’ worries about absenteeism in PJ, which the Federal Representation of Medical Students in Germany (bvmd) has already expressed: When PJ students show symptoms of COVID-19 infection when they are in contact with patients quarantined with COVID-19 infection, or would have to stay at home to take care of their children, there should be flexible arrangements for recognizing the PJ section.
According to the MFT Task Force, internships should be able to be continued and started anew based on an individual decision of the respective institution. However, a medical examination should take place before the start of the internship.
What is new is that during the COVID-19 pandemic, interns without direct patient contact can also be recognized, to support the public health service and laboratory diagnostics. In addition, the MFT believes that an internship that has started and that must be terminated prematurely due to the pandemic should also be recognized if the minimum period of 14 has not be reached.