Enlightenment of COVID-19 for medical students as a major public health event

Xianqiang Yu reflects on the role of medical students in the COVID-19 pandemic…

We read with great interest an article in your journal about the roles of medical students during COVID-19 [1]. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread and worsen, it raises questions surrounding medical students. From the articles published in your journal, I have gained a deeper understanding and interest in the performance of medical students during the pandemic. There is no doubt that the global pandemic has an unpredictable impact on all human activities, including medical education. To some extent, the effect of the pandemic on medical students is a double-edged sword.

Medical science has made unprecedented progress, but it is still helpless when the virus ravages the world. In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, whether medical students should protect themselves as much as possible from infection or go out of school and actively participate in anti-pandemic activities has become a hot issue in the medical community.

We are seeing many districts or schools seeking medical students to respond to COVID-19 by suspending classes, staying home, or teaching online to reduce the chance of infection [2]. Others, however, question such measures. What is the future mission of medical students? Isn’t COVID-19 a great opportunity for medical students to learn and test medical education? COVID-19 can inspire the generation and application of new technologies for medical students. At the same time, major public health events can provide medical students with precious opportunities to deal with public health stress and effectively temper their psychological responses to complex health events.

One thing is for sure, in the face of major public health events, our society needs mature and experienced medical professionals to respond to them, in order to give people a sense of security [3]. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and unsettling the entire society, maybe it’s time for medical students to get out of campus and fight the virus while protecting themselves. In addition, in the context of major public health events, medical students should have special growth opportunities. Perhaps this is the biggest difference between medical students and other majors in this situation. In this sense, the reasonable guidance of the whole medical community and public opinion is particularly important. Medical students should fully assess the risk of COVID-19, protect themselves and participate in the response process to a limited extent.



1 Wang, S. and M. Dai (2020). “Status and situation of postgraduate medical students in China under the influence of COVID-19.” Postgrad Med J 96 (1142): 728-730.

2 Menon, A. and E. J. Klein, et al. (2020). “Medical Students Are Not Essential Workers: Examining Institutional Responsibility During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Acad Med 95 (8): 1149-1151.

3 Drain, P. K. and A. Primack, et al. (2007). “Global health in medical education: a call for more training and opportunities.” Acad Med 82 (3): 226-30.


Xianqiang Yu (PhD, Southeast University)

87 Dingjiaqiao, Gulou District, Nanjing, China

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