NMC Guidelines call for Empathy and Compassion from Medical Teachers

New Delhi: While specifying how medical teachers should act as a role model for the students, the Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB) of the National Medical Commission (NMC) has directed the teachers to be empathetic and compassionate.

NMC mentioned in the recent guidelines on “Professional Responsibilities of Medical Teachers” that the medical teachers must “Demonstrate empathy and compassion in their demeanour and dedication to welfare of patients, nursing staff and colleagues and maintain professionalism at all times during their interactions,” 

Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that NMC in the guidelines has discussed about the personal attributes and conduct of teachers including several factors such as teacher as a role model, the teaching-learning process, and assessment and examination process. Apart from this, NMC has also discussed the teacher-student interactions, bedside teaching, responsibilities of teachers to their colleagues, and responsibilities of teachers to the community.

The guidelines have also discussed about the role of teacher as a researcher and a voice of science- including the responsibilities of teachers in the conduct of research. NMC has also specified the support framework to ensure optimal functioning of medical teachers at both National and Institutional level.

While specifying the personal attributes and conduct of teachers, NMC referred to teachers as “Gurus” and mentioned, “The Guidelines mentioned that the teachers must be aware that they are role models for students. Teachers are closely observed, analysed regarding their commitment, behaviour, knowledge and competence by the students who then choose to emulate them or dismiss what they see as undesirable traits.”

In this regard, NMC has specified several attributes that a teacher should possess. The Commission has mentioned that the teachers need to demonstrate their own commitment and devotion to lifelong learning by constantly updating their own knowledge and skills.

Apart from asking the teachers to demonstrate empathy and compassion in their demeanour, the Commission has also asked them to ensure that their behaviour and actions are ethical and inspiring at all times, and they fulfil their duties with utmost integrity. Besides, the NMC Ethics board has also asked the teachers to dress formally, modestly and neatly at workplace.

Teaching- Learning Process: 

The NMC Guidelines have also discussed the personal attributes and conduct of teachers regarding the teaching-learning process. Addressing the ideal teaching-learning process, NMC has mentioned how it is essential for the teachers to be aware of the curriculum and its requirements as enunciated by the National Medical Commission (NMC).

As per the guidelines, the teachers are required to be competent in their chosen fields through Continued Professional Development (CPD). They should prepare thoroughly for the teaching-sessions entrusted to them and should ensure that their teaching is contextual and contemporary.

In this regard, NMC mentioned, “As part of Competency Based Medical Education, their teaching sessions may go beyond a classroom setting to a patient-centred focus.”

The Guidelines further mention that the students need to continually review, revise, and update their teaching-learning materials to reflect advances and current understandings in their field, they need to use wherever appropriate, newer available teaching-learning resources such as computer-aided learning strategies.

Asking teachers not to plagiarise their teaching materials, the Guidelines have asked the medical teachers to provide sources of their information wherever appropriate. It has also mentioned that the teachers have the responsibility to ensure that assigned teaching activities are completed before designated examinations.

“Teachers are required to identify students with special learning needs and undertake remedial / additional sessions to address the needs of such students,” stated the guidelines.

NMC has also mentioned that the teachers are expected to understand their own limitations and seek expert opinion/advice where necessary and they are expected to understand their own limitations and seek expert opinion / advice where necessary.

The guidelines further mentioned that the teachers are expected to work across departments to ensure maximal integration of the teaching-learning process. 

“Teacher must lead the student from known to unknown in order to inculcate inquisitiveness and research instincts in the students,” it added.

However, releasing the guidelines, the apex commission has clarified that “The intention behind these Guidelines is not to penalize or point a finger at any teacher but to remind him/her of the professional role of a medical teacher in the training of medical students & other healthcare professionals and in life of students and the nation. The hope is that they will introspect in light of these guidelines and improve the quality of teaching and reduce gaps in learning in light of expectations of students and society.”

Also Read: NMC releases Guidelines on Professional Responsibilities of Medical Teachers, details

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