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“Pits were drawn into the throat of the girl during each breath. The veins were tense. And the face turned from pink to light purple” is part of a message that appeared in the messengers of 5th-year students of Bukovinian State Medical University late in the evening. Time is short. You need to diagnose and prescribe treatment.

This case, borrowed from Mikhail Bulgakov’s story “Steel Throat,” was solved by students on the eve before the lesson about diphtheria. As a result, Olena Korotun, Associate Professor of the Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases of the Bukovinian State Medical University, received more than 30 detailed answers from students, some of which reached 17 pages. For their activity, participants received additional points to the modules.

Pediatric challenge – this is how Olena called her system of additional knowledge for students. Within this challenge, students (mainly from India and Africa) voluntarily participate in various tasks, receiving incentives in points. Optional tasks involve each of the 103 students in 8 groups of the course. “It’s not about points. We’re just interested in an interactive learning format. Lectures and presentations are, frankly, boring. Olena Korotun, on the other hand, has a lot of interaction and communication with us,” explains one of the students.

“Through quarantine, we have moved to an online learning format, while I have a very responsible and key course in pediatrics. I didn’t want the students to lose this semester and started giving them extracurricular assignments. It was very motivating for the children,” says Olena.

During the course, students shot videos, prepared clinical cases for other groups, and competed for the best description of medical history. They received messages in chats with tasks, exciting videos, or, for example, X-rays images, which needed to be described quickly. Students did not have much time to study additional material to answer clinical cases. In real life, the doctor has to make decisions quickly.

“Students discuss cases in chat rooms and joint documents. Such creative tasks and problem-oriented training form clinical thinking and teamwork skills in future doctors. They learn to communicate, hear the opinion of colleagues and be able to make decisions independently and quickly, “explains Olena’s colleague.

For students to prepare for the tests and have the opportunity to read abstracts on all topics, Olena invented the “super challenge.” Each group summarized the module in graphs, diagrams, and mnemonics – visualizing information in images, symbols, or objects to create associations and facilitate memorization. All abstracts were available on a joint disk, and each student voted for the best project.

Olena was inspired to develop such a system by the “Feedback” cycle from our project. She started implementing a feedback form after each pair. Students’ answers helped to understand what motivates and interests students.

Students value professionalism and humanity. “Personally, it is precious to me that my teacher tries to pronounce and remember our names correctly. They are not easy to pronounce, but this individual approach to everyone allows you to feel accepted in a new environment,” explains the head of one of Olena’s groups.

It is unbelievable – Olena speaks several languages, teaches mainly to international students, and prepares students for thematic conferences. She also writes grant applications, is responsible for the scientific work of the department, takes an active part in our projects (including leading “peer groups”), and raises two children with her husband! In addition, Olena has a separate chat with each group, and each student has the opportunity to write to her.

“Our chats inspire me a lot. Students can discuss both learning and organizational issues. I know what it’s like to be a student in a foreign country and how difficult it is to adapt, so I help whenever possible. As for studying, at first, when students wrote to me in the chat at 5 am on Saturday due to the time difference, I was angry. But when I realized that the first thing a child does on a weekend morning is study pediatrics, I decided not to quarrel. We agreed to turn off the sound in the messengers and respond when it is more convenient for each of us. “

However, a friendly attitude towards students does not eliminate the demands and responsibilities to future patients: “I will not grade for ignorance. Today, a student makes a wrong diagnosis while studying, and tomorrow he will kill someone like that at work. Pediatrics is a key course, and here I am pretty tough with students. “

One of Olena’s professional interests is developing a communication course for future doctors: “I see a great demand for this. Doctors often feel helpless. And what appears to patients and their relatives to be rude is inner confusion and stress. It is not easy for a doctor to report bad news, to deal with frightened patients and relatives. They are also scared. They were not taught communication, while specific algorithms and rules would help them better interact with patients. “

Finally, we would like to add: the whole team of the Ukrainian-Swiss project “Development of Medical Education” is happy when such a powerful example can inspire as many professionals as possible. We value your feedback. Share more!