miércoles, 23 de abril de 2008

The Effort-Only culture and the Privatization of Medical Universities

Next year, four new Faculties of Medicine might open in Madrid, sponsored by the climate of Medical privatization that the Comunidad de Madrid is pushing for. Three of these will be private.

Even worst, teaching Hospital adscribed to public university will be handed over to private ones. Students will lose Hospitals to practice in.

Private university in Spain has, until now, been a low-quality minority option for rich kids who don't have the grades to go to public University. Until now, there were two private faculties of Medicine (and one of them, the University of Navarra, is ancient and has a reputation for excellence). I'm concerned about the quality of teaching. Many of these Universities are famous for taking cash first and teaching as an afterthought. Many of these "pass" kids depending on parental expenditure.

I'm also concerned about my own future. In the 80's, an insane number of doctors were unemployed. That's why Numerus Clausus was created: it was stupid for the State to spend tons on training doctors who then couldn't find jobs in the public health sector. Now there are more private hospitals, but even those need good doctors. I'd much rather we keep importing well-trained professionals from South America (or hell, even pay Spanish-trained doctors better, so they don't leave to work in England), than slap a degree on a couple foreheads and set them lose in hospitals.

A lot of people are arguing that Numerus Clausus was unfair. Requiring people to take an exam before entering University and limiting entrance by grade is deemed "too hard" on the poor kids who have "real vocation" to be doctors. I'm sure there are private tragedies that stem from Numerus Clausus. I'm sure a lot of the kids who don't make the cut would have been great physicians. But I've seen how people struggle through MedSchool. I've taken those exams myself. Dedication, vocation-- these are wonderful things, but sometimes they aren't enough.

I don't care whether you are brilliant or not, but if you can't muster the right combination of brains and study time to get into MedSchool the normal way, I doubt you'll make a good doctor. I know people who scrapped in and they've graduated with honours due to sheer willpower. All of us who made it struggled to keep up high grades through high school and we kept struggling for six years to learn stuff that we thought we might never use. I doubt anyone finds MedSchool easy. It's hard and it's hard for a reason. Not everyone can be a doctor.

I wonder how the private universities are going to manage to keep up the level with their less-than brilliant students. I'm assuming passing in the private universities will be a lot easier. I'm guessing grades will be higher. Since grades are important to take placement exams to specialize, this would be terribly unfair.

Some parents are all in favour of the private option. Their kids "study", they say. They "try hard". They have "medical vocation", they are "motivated and smart".

My question to these parents is: if that's the case, why can't they make it the regular way? Something is missing in their "motivated" kids, either brains or willpower. In my experience, most often, these very "motivated" people simply lack the willpower to apply their ass to a chair and concentrate for more than a couple of hours.

I'm sorry to be so harsh, but we aren't in kindergarten anymore. "Trying" isn't enough.

"Oh, so sorry, your father/mother/sibling/child died because I screwed up, but I tried"

Would you accept that?

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