Ukrainian doctors visit Maastricht to modernise their medical education

In the context of the Medical Education Development Ukrainian-Swiss project, an enthusiastic Ukrainian delegation of healthcare educators visited Maastricht University and Maastricht UMC+ to explore the education, training, and development of healthcare workers within the Dutch education system.

The purpose of this four-day study trip was to provide medical educators with more knowledge and insight into the organisation and collaboration between universities and hospitals in the Netherlands, the structure of the medical curriculum, the organisation of quality in medical education, and the setup of the general practice training. The program was comprehensive, covering all levels of medical education: students, teachers, organizations, national education, healthcare, and the connections between them.

Compared to medical education in the Netherlands, education in Ukraine is highly theoretical, according to Wim Groot, one of the organisers of the project. During the study trip, special attention was given to problem-based learning, the relationship between the university and the hospital, and patient contact. "In our case, students start working on practical skills and patient contact almost immediately," says Groot. The team from the Medical Educational Development in Ukraine, therefore, visited for example the Skillslab, where students can practice their skills in a simulated environment.

The delegation from Ukraine was very enthusiastic about the visit. One of the participants expressed, "I am certain that the medical education community will be regularly shaken by comments from those who were in Maastricht in June 2023. They will want to implement certain processes and say, 'as we have seen in Maastricht...'" Wim Groot adds, "What I personally appreciate the most is that our Ukrainian partners have witnessed a completely different organisational culture and values of people in medical education: open, respectful, sincere, and professional."

The project started in 2018 and has since faced both a pandemic and a war. Therefore, it is not easy to modernise medical education in Ukraine during these times. However, there is a prevailing sense that this is the perfect moment for change. It is important to work towards building a stronger country now instead of waiting until after the war.