So you want to be a Medical Student Technician?

Katrina Z Freimane, Jonathan P Callaghan, Grainne P. Kearney, Nigel D. Hart

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In March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought life as we knew it to an abrupt halt and the world of medical education was no different. In-person clinical placements were temporarily suspended for medical students across the United Kingdom (UK) and worldwide. The Medical Schools Council promptly released guidance on employment or volunteering of medical students within the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK to support the pandemic response1.Within a day of this guidance being issued, discussions between the medical school at Queen’s University Belfast(QUB) and the five Health and Social Care Trusts across Northern Ireland led to the establishment of the role of the “Medical Student Technician” (MST). Similar arrangements were seen across the UK2, and indeed the world3,4,5, with some medical schools even temporarily pivoting their entire medical curricula to aid the COVID-19 response, claiming that “medical students are needed just as urgently as ventilators”6.The wide-ranging implications of this nascent MST role are of interest to medical students, medical educators, health care service providers and patients alike. Here we present what the role has involved, some insights into being an MST and some reflections on how the role might evolve. It will reflect our personal experiences in addition to conversations with peers who participated in these roles. It is worth remembering that these roles were developed in a time of uncertainty and unprecedented flux.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-196
JournalThe Ulster Medical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 03 Sep 2021


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