“At TNMU we study in a mixed format: the lectures are taught in Microsoft Teams, and practical classes are offline in the university classrooms or classrooms in different hospitals in the city. In previous years, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we only studied online; we had no access to patients, so we felt the lack of a practical component. The situation is better now. Practical classes are held in different hospitals in the city where we have access to patients. The patients are friendly to students during this training, understanding the importance of preparing future doctors. And although air-raid alerts and hiding in shelters have become an integral part of the educational process, we keep on studying.
This year I would like to improve my clinical skills as much as possible, practice as many of them as possible at the simulation training centre and hospital. I am happy that, despite all the difficulties, our university is creating opportunities for working with patients and conducting classes at the simulation training centre. The teachers help us to practice not only the skills planned for this semester but also those that we were supposed to master during the pandemic and at the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion when we studied purely online.
“Although air-raid alerts and hiding in shelters have become an integral part of the educational process, we keep on studying.”
And my personal achievement is participation in the mentoring programme of our university, which has been active for five years. I am a mentor for a group of first-year students and help them to better adapt to the student’s life, specifics of studying at the university, a new city, and share the knowledge that I have acquired during my studies.”
Diana Galiiash is a fifth-year medical student at the Ternopil National Medical University.
”Despite studying online, the academy manages to improve the theoretical and practical preparation of future healthcare professionals. I particularly like mastering new skills at the simulation training centre. The centre looks like a compact clinic with proper equipment where we participate in various clinical situations to practice the necessary skills. Unfortunately, during the full-scale war, the conditions have changed not for the better…
Constant shelling, air-raid alerts make their adjustments in the educational process. We are trying to be flexible for the quality of our knowledge not to deteriorate. Today, as never before, we feel our responsibility for Ukraine and its future.
During the last year of studies at the academy, I want to get maximum knowledge. Indeed, it is not easy to study in today’s realities. But I want to be a professional nurse. I am grateful to the teachers who support, motivate and encourage.”
Iryna Buga is a fourth-year nursing student at the Rivne Medical Academy (RMA).
“This year the institute offered students to choose the form of education themselves due to the war. The majority of students chose offline classes. However, all the extracurricular activities, i.e. cultural and educational activities, are held online. Their orientation has also been changed – we pay more attention to volunteering and charity. I am an organizer of numerous charity events: charity lotteries, movie nights, and auctions. Money raised during these events is used for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, internally displaced people living in our dormitory and to help stray animals.
In addition, we continue to hold cultural and educational events for the institute students as well: competitions, exhibitions, and performances. We would like the first-year students to not only remember sirens but also have pleasant and real memories of student years from these times. We would like life and education to come back to healthy and calm 2018, where there were no masks or sirens, virus or war, where Mriya flew but not missiles…
So, of course, I am looking forward to the war to end to celebrate my graduation in a peaceful country. In the future, I would like to enter medical university to become a surgeon.”
Maryna Iurchenko is a six-year nursing student at the Zhytomyr Medical Institute (ZhMI).
“We are now studying online due to the constant threat of missile attacks on Kharkiv. Transition to distant learning was not a challenge, as the HEI had the established processes already. Over the years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the university launched an online platform with all the necessary materials, and we mastered the apps for online conferences, i.e. Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. All these developments helped us to take up the usual pace of studying, as much as it was possible, and the quality of education did not deteriorate.
Of course, the previously unpredicted obstacles are added, for instance, blackouts that last 12-16 hours a day. But we still study. All the teachers are in Ukraine, in the same circumstances as the students, and they are doing their best to teach the material as planned. Many of them are ready to present the topic or answer the questions on phone when there is no internet or power supply.
Some teachers, who work at hospitals, although remotely, but are still trying to teach practical skills: connect with the students during the collection of anamneses, complaints, and discuss possible diagnoses, necessary tests, and treatment with the students. And it proves that the teachers are motivated to teach us, they find possibilities even in such difficult conditions.
"We are now studying online due to the constant threat of missile attacks on Kharkiv. Transition to distant learning was not a challenge, as the HEI had the established processes already."
It is also a pleasure to feel international support. Since the full-scale invasion began, the scientific community and medical schools of different countries have provided access to their training facilities, online libraries, and some have even invited us for free internships.
"All the teachers are in Ukraine, in the same circumstances as the students, and they are doing their best to teach the material as planned. "
I was also able to use my medical education to help the city community during the war. In the first days of the war, having seen how many people were hiding at the Kharkiv subway stations, I opened a small first-aid post where I provided necessary care for three months. Back then, I was a fifth-year student, but I had sufficient knowledge, and I was ready for that. During our studies, we used to be told that if the war started, we would have to provide care to everyone in need, because we are doctors.
"I opened a small first-aid post where I provided necessary care for three months. "
I realize that this year will be difficult. It’s my last year, so I should master a large number of clinical disciplines and prepare for state exams. Meanwhile, the war goes on, we are all in danger. But despite this, I aim to be well prepared for the exams and show that in any circumstances one can get a quality education if desired. And, finally, I really want to feel confident during the Internatura.”
Serhii Alkhimov is a sixth-year medical student at the Kharkiv National Medical University (KhNMU).
About the MED Project
The student testimonials were originally published in the Newsletter of the Ukrainian-Swiss Project “Medical Education Development” in Edition 3/2022 (11).