Student BMJ celebrates 20 years and finds debt and competition big concerns for tomorrow’s doctors
Poll reveals most important changes to medical education in the past 20 years
In spring 1992, Student BMJ was launched as one of the first international peer reviewed journals written by and for medical students.
Twenty years on, and with a monthly print readership of 21,000 and 24,000 online visitors each month from around the world, Student BMJ continues to support medical students on their journey to become tomorrow’s doctors.
Although much has changed in medical education, a poll published by Student BMJ today finds concerns about debt and competition for jobs remain high on the list for many trainees.
Last month, we asked BMJ and Student BMJ readers what they thought was the most important change to medical education in the past 20 years.
Teaching methods and resources (40%) topped clinicians’ and educators’ list, whereas students and junior doctors felt that competition for jobs when qualified (24%) and quality of teaching (21%) were the main challenges to their education.
Student debt and competition to get into medical school featured for both groups.
It’s no surprise that debt looms high on the list of concerns for trainees, says Neil Chanchlani, Editor of Student BMJ. This year, UK university tuition fees hit an all time high of up to £9,000 a year (€11,000; $14,000). Similar spikes have occurred in the United States and Canada, where students pay $20,000 more a year on average for tuition than they did in 1995.
Reasons for concern over competition are not so clear as, although applications to medical schools have increased since the 1990s, competition ratios to enter medical schools have remained stable at about 2.3 applications per place in the UK and 2.19 applications per place in the United States.
“We’ve come a long way, but we want to go further,” adds Neil. “As we look forward to the next 20 years, we anticipate constant changes to the medical curriculum, workforce planning, clinical practice, and student life. We want to find new ways to support tomorrow’s doctors, so that they learn to make rational decisions about diagnosis and treatment, to design and manage high quality systems of care as well as treating individual patients, and above all, to practise medicine with integrity and compassion.”