As coronavirus is spreading rapidly and increasing the pressure on healthcare workers, hundreds of medical students in Victoria, Australia have reportedly signed up to be on the frontline of the pandemic. In a bid to ensure ample hospital staff, Melbourne University asked almost 1,389 students if they wanted to be a part of the initiative. According to international media reports, the fast-tracked doctors will be helping with coronavirus-related tasks like swab and blood testing or telehealth consulting sectors.
While speaking to the media outlet, Universities Professor Steve Trumble said that the medical students could also be placed in non-coronavirus related areas in a bid to alleviate some the pressure of the experienced in hospital departments. Trumble further informed that hundreds of students are already helping with contact tracing, a process of working through all the people a coronavirus patient might have come into contact with. Moreover, as per reports, Monash University will also ask the same of its 850 final-year students.
A medical student, who signed up, reportedly said that it is the responsibility towards his community and he went to the medical university to help the community. He said that he and a few of his friends are willing to help where it’s ‘safe and suitable’. however, the university made it clear that the students are under no obligation to sign up to the program.
Furthermore, the authorities also made it clear that the role, supervision, insurance and payment are clearly defined in the contract which the medical students will be signing up before taking any responsibility. There will be no grey areas whether they have to look after a patient or do their jobs. Meanwhile, the coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing in Australia as currently, the country has more than 4,500 confirmed cases and almost 19 people have succumbed to the deadly virus.
Similar to the Australian medical universities, US medical schools are also considering early graduation for their senior medical students. Universities including New York University, Boston University School of Medicine have reportedly started to offer the option. According to an international media outlet, in Massachusetts, all four medical schools are in discussion with Massachusetts Health and Human Services to have a fast-track option.