Yoga, sports in foundation course for aspiring doctors to beat stress
A one-month foundation course preceding the start of formal medical education will advise aspiring doctors to take up yoga and meditation to beat stress and participate in sports and extracurricular activities to develop resilience during their undergraduate years.
The course, which will be introduced from this academic year (2019-2020) as part of a revised MBBS syllabus, is meant to orient a student on the skills and attitude required during their medical studies and later in their professional career.
The framework for the course, drawn up by the Medical Council of India Board of Governors (MCI-BoG), has been sent to medical colleges across the country and recommends yoga and meditation demonstration by an expert, followed by reflection on the experience.
“The students are challenged with many changes, including the new place, peers, atmosphere, environment and a major leap in the learning styles and contents. This induces stress, making them vulnerable… Hence, it is important to address the role of stress during their learning period,” reads the course guideline.
The experts recommend identifying the stress source, and handling it with “…various stress management techniques, including yoga and meditation”. They have also suggested compulsory participation in sports for four hours a week and extracurricular activities for two hours per week.
“These have been included to demonstrate importance of work-life balance, and provide an opportunity to have compulsory physical activity and to showcase their talents,” the guidelines read.
The course includes a crash course in English for non-English speaking students. Others may be coached in a regional language, depending on need.
A senior health ministry official, who did not wish to be named, said, “What we have created is a framework based on best practices available in institutions across the country, but institutions are free to make modifications depending on their local requirements.”
“Yoga and meditation are very effective relaxation techniques but when it comes to introducing it in the curriculum, the challenge will be to see how well it is implemented,” said Dr Rajesh Sagar, professor of psychiatry at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi.