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Food For Thought---------Towards Competence: Overcoming Hurdles In Final Year Medical Education

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Khurram M. Food For Thought---------Towards Competence: Overcoming Hurdles In Final Year Medical Education. JRMC [Internet]. 2024 Jun. 28 [cited 2024 Jul. 17];28(2). Available from:


Final year medical students face a multitude of challenges that affect their attendance in lectures and clinical wards, as well as their performance in assessments. These challenges range from personal health issues to family responsibilities and academic difficulties. This report aims to analyze the pros and cons of the current situation and provide recommendations for improvement.

Challenges Faced:

  1. Health Issues: Many students struggle with health problems, both physical and mental, which can impede their ability to attend lectures and participate in clinical activities effectively.
  2. Family Obligations: Responsibilities towards ill parents, domestic issues, or childcare can significantly disrupt a student's regular attendance and focus on studies.
  3. Academic Performance: Students who miss lectures and clinical sessions often perform poorly in continuous internal assessments, affecting their overall grades and readiness for final professional assessments.
  4. Attendance Requirements: Failure to meet the required attendance percentage due to various reasons leads to ineligibility to appear for final professional assessments, delaying graduation.
  5. Exemptions and Fines: Some students resort to applying for exemptions or paying fines to meet attendance criteria, which may compromise the quality of medical education and professionalism.

Pros and Cons:


  • Flexibility in accommodating personal and health-related challenges enhances student well-being and reduces stress.
  • Exemptions and fine payment options provide a safety net for students facing unavoidable circumstances, preventing them from being unfairly penalized.


  • Inconsistent attendance and academic performance may lead to inadequate preparation for clinical practice, potentially compromising patient care and safety.
  • Dependence on exemptions and fines can undermine the importance of regular attendance and commitment to professional responsibilities.


Feasibility of Becoming a Doctor:

Completing essential training in medicine and surgery during the final year of medical school is crucial for individuals aspiring to become doctors. Medical training is designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to practice medicine safely and effectively. Each rotation provides hands-on experience under the supervision of experienced physicians, allowing students to apply theoretical knowledge in clinical settings, develop clinical reasoning skills, and learn how to manage patients with different conditions. Failure to complete essential training in medicine and surgery would leave significant gaps in a student's education and preparation for medical practice. Without this training, they would lack the necessary clinical skills, experience, and competence to diagnose and treat patients independently. Moreover, they would not meet the standards expected of a qualified physician, potentially jeopardizing patient safety and well-being.


  1. Flexible Attendance Policies: Implement flexible attendance policies that consider valid reasons for absence, such as health issues and family emergencies, while ensuring students meet essential learning outcomes.
  2. Support Services: Enhance support services for students facing health or personal challenges, including access to counseling, medical assistance, and academic accommodations.
  3. Early Intervention: Introduce early intervention measures to identify struggling students and provide timely academic support, mentorship, and guidance.
  4. Alternative Learning Platforms: Utilize technology to provide recorded lectures, virtual clinical simulations, and online resources to accommodate students unable to attend in-person sessions.

5. Professionalism Education: Incorporate professionalism education into the curriculum to emphasize the importance of regular attendance, accountability, and ethical behavior in medical practice.
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Copyright (c) 2024 Muhammad Khurram