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A Summary of Study MBBS in China

In recent years, study MBBS in China has undergone significant reforms. As the world’s largest MBBS education system, it is critical to comprehend the state of study MBBS in China in our interdependent world. This paper examines the current state of medical education in China, focusing on the advancements made in recent years. It also investigates current topics and challenges confronting China’s medical educators today, as well as proposed recommendations for improving medical education in China.

A Summary of Study MBBS in China

China, the world’s most populous country and second-largest economy has built the world’s largest Study MBBS in China system since the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949. With the advancement of China’s healthcare reform, the country is attempting to modernize and standardize its medical education and has passed through several watershed moments. Stand-alone medical institutions were merged into comprehensive universities beginning in 1998 [1]. Clinical MBBS education accreditation was established in 2008 [2]. In 2013, the standardized residency training (SRT) initiative was launched as a national strategy [3]. The World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) recognized China’s Working Committee for Accreditation of Medical Education (WCAME) as the accreditation body in 2020 [2]. With the release of the “Healthy China 2030” blueprint, China elevates the preservation of people’s health to the pinnacle of national strategy, ushering in a new era of MBBS education reform [4]. The COVID-19 epidemic has also imposed new educational requirements for health professionals. In this commentary, I will summarise the progress of medical education in China, focusing on the system, scale, structure, and quality of health professional education, as well as discuss the challenges and countermeasures of medical education in the aforementioned areas.

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The scope and organization of MBBS professional education

China has the most extensive MBBS education system in the world. In 2018, China had 420 undergraduate medical education institutions (excluding military institutions), with 286,219 medical undergraduates, 81,128 masters, and 14,044 doctors matriculating in 2018-2019.

Medical education provides strong support for the Chinese people’s healthcare needs. At the moment, China has more health personnel per 1,000 people than most moderately developed countries. China had 12.9 million healthcare workers at the end of 2019, with 2.8 doctors and 3.2 nurses per 1,000 people. In public health institutions, there were 6.4 health workers and 2.6 general practitioners per 10,000 people [5].

Chinese medical graduates’ educational backgrounds have steadily improved. In clinical medicine, for example, graduates with bachelor’s degrees or higher accounted for 75% of higher clinical medical graduates from 2015 to 2018. Higher medical education, which includes junior college, undergraduate, and graduate education, has made a significant contribution to the advancement of China’s health personnel’s educational degrees (Fig. 1). The organization of health workers has also been improved. Before 2014, China had more doctors than nurses, but this situation has improved.

System of clinical MBBS education

The first consists of five years of undergraduate study MBBS in China (resulting in a bachelor’s degree) and three years of standardized residency training (SRT). The second option is to complete 5 years of undergraduate education before taking the postgraduate entrance examination and completing 3 years of a professional master’s degree (master of medicine, MM) program (including SRT). The third difference is that the 5-year undergraduate program is followed by a 3-year MM program with no postgraduate examinations. By integrating the SRT and the equivalent professional master program, the three types will gradually realize the link between professional graduate education and professional qualification.

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Furthermore, there is an eight-year program beginning in senior high school to produce high-level innovative medical professionals. The eight-year program began at Peking Union Medical College and was expanded to other high-level universities in 2001 by Peking University Health Science Centre. The program follows an 8-year integrated model, with graduates receiving bachelors and doctoral degrees. In September 2018, Peking Union Medical College began piloting the 4 (non-medical education) + 4 (clinical medicine) education program, which is similar to the US Medical Doctor (MD) program [7].

Reform of medical education training modes in China

China has been exploring the reform of study MBBS in China training mode by optimizing educational objectives, integrating teaching contents, enriching teaching modes, improving the education system, and innovating the evaluation and assessment system [8]. China is currently actively promoting competency-based medical education to improve the quality of medical student training[9].

According to a survey conducted by the National Center for Health Professionals Education Development at Peking University, during the 2018–2019 academic year, 14.6 % of institutions implemented problem-based learning, and 15.7 % of institutions adopted disciplinarily integrated curricula.

Using Peking University Health Science Center (PKUHSC) as an example, the “new pathway” medical education reform was implemented in 2008, resulting in a shift in curricula from subject-centered to organ-system-centered, and the implementation of learning in small groups. In 2019, the “New Era” medical education reform was launched in PKUHSC, aiming to realize the integration of basic and clinical medical courses, and the development of student’s independent learning capability was paid more attention.