Medical students join the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. Encourage them (opinion)

It’s easy to shake the heads of students who flouted public health advice and flooded Florida beaches even as COVID-19 spread across the country. But the anger aroused by the egocentric and selfish behavior of some students should not overshadow the remarkable courage and character displayed by another group of students.

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc across all types of post-secondary education, and medical schools were no exception. Many medical students have had their courses terminated and their clinical placements cut off. But rather than taking a vacation on what was an extensive and intensive educational journey, many felt called to serve. So they set up hotlines for patients, volunteered as first responders, and raised funds to buy and even manufacture protective equipment for hospital staff.

Now, medical schools across the country, such as the Grossman School of Medicine at New York University and Rutgers University New Jersey School of Medicine, organize virtual graduation ceremonies. And many of these new doctors are raising their hands, reciting the Hippocratic Oath, and volunteering to work in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – New York.

Shortening the length of education during a national crisis is not entirely new. During World War II, West Point and the US Naval Academy shortened their programs to get young officers to the front lines as quickly as possible. Young men (and they were all men at the time) willingly went.

Today, these young doctors show the same commitment and the same idealism. While World War II unfolded around the world, today the front lines can be found in hospitals spread across the country. If there’s one word to sum up what these young idealists share with this previous generation of heroes, it’s courage.

Courage is a curious character trait because it is not seen in advance. It is impossible to tell if someone has it until they are placed in a situation where they demonstrate it.

Allison Horan, a medical student who urged NYU to bring her class into combat, the a. “I sign up with the understanding that I am here to help and serve, even if necessary,” she said. The New York Times.

His classmate Evan Gerber too, who added, “It was a really easy decision to do that. You have a moral obligation to society.

All generations tend to think of those who follow them as spoiled, sweet, self-centered, and worldless. May be. But it is also true that all generations produce idealistic people, determined and ready to take on the great challenges of the world. And while these young medics may not launch an assault on the battlefield, they willingly and eagerly march – no, run – in a modern battlefield. And veteran medics who are pushed to their limits to save lives will be grateful for the reinforcements.

As we criticize young people, including students, who think only of themselves, we must recognize and applaud those who put their education and training at the service of the public good, even if it puts their own lives in danger. . Courage is an old virtue that never goes out of style. And it’s important to shine the spotlight on her when you see her.

We live in depressing times. Daily news is difficult to read, and serious planning for the future seems like a wild ride. Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote: “You don’t need to know… exactly where this is all going. What you really need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges of the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.

This is why these medical students educate and inspire. Idealism married to courage is a powerful force. How wonderful and rare to see him so vividly displayed.

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