Medical school is supposed to teach students how to be doctors. Or so we think.
The University of California, San Francisco implemented a new policy for its medical students regarding academic credit. Medical students who update Wikipedia pages on diseases will receive medical credits, and frankly I couldn’t be more disheartened.
Wikipedia is probably one of the most unreliable sources on the Internet. It is pretty widely accepted that Wikipedia is not highly respected or particularly accurate. There is no doubt in my mind that medical students are some of the most brilliant and respected people in the world.
I highly doubt that the most brilliant students need or want to gain their credits by editing a website that is commonly thought of as unreliable. I have no doubt that these edits will not change the unreliable reputation of Wikipedia and I don’t believe that it should.
Medical students are still learning; they are the babies of the medical field, unaware and naïve about how to handle the ER and or research diseases. Shouldn’t experienced professionals be the ones editing online resources? They are the ones who know what diseases look like and have seen how they affect people. Medical students should be focused on becoming professionals and finding solutions for diseases, not writing about the causes on a website.
I truly believe that professors and the general public will still never accept Wikipedia as being valid, so why waste the precious time? What are my future doctors doing posting information on the Internet—shouldn’t they be learning about biology, chemistry, anatomy and medicine? Why use up time on the Internet that could be spent learning?
I know receiving credits and getting good grades is important, but learning and understanding the material seems more crucial to me as a future patient. I don’t think updating websites is worthy of academic credit and don’t believe that students should receive them.
I know that if I’m getting wheeled into an emergency room, I want the comfort of knowing that the person who has my life in his or her hands will know exactly what to do. How can I expect my doctors to know exactly what to do when they are wasting time updating the Internet? There is something that doesn’t seem ethically right in giving medical students, the people who perform 20-hour surgeries and take oaths to save people’s lives, academic credits for website updating.
I question where in society the line is drawn for what is acceptable and what isn’t. I don’t think giving medical students credits is acceptable nor should be tolerated. Should architects be given credits for every advanced calculus problem they help fellow students solve? Should professional athletes be paid more money for publicly dispelling rumors about players or their sport?
I certainly don’t think so, and therefore, I believe that the University of California, San Francisco and any other educational institutions that are permitting these credits should rescind these policies and think long and hard about the consequences.