When Students Become Doctors: The Blurring of the Lines in Medical Education

Authors: Sherine Salib, MD, MRCP, FACP


Medical education, particularly at the undergraduate medical education level, is shrouded in what seems to be irreducible uncertainty at present. With the explosion of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in our midst, striking our hospitals and our communities, the status of medical education and what it really means to be a medical trainee, be it a medical student or medical resident, becomes a more important than ever question.

This content is limited to qualifying members.

Existing members, please login first.

If you have an existing account please login now to access this article or view your purchase options.

Purchase only this article ($15)

Create a free account, then purchase this article to download or access it online for 24 hours.

Purchase an SMJ online subscription ($75)

Create a free account, then purchase a subscription to get complete access to all articles for a full year.

Purchase a membership plan (fees vary)

Premium members can access all articles plus recieve many more benefits. View all membership plans and benefit packages.


1. Dornan T. Osler, Flexner, apprenticeship and “the new medical education”. J R Soc Med 2005;98:91–95.   2. Mason MV. Are residents considered students or employees? JAMA 1998;279:1668.   3. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Employees under the National Labor Relations Act. Published March 1, 2000. Accessed April 3, 2020.   4. Association of American Medical Colleges. Guidance on medical students’ participation in direct in-person patient contact activities. Published 2020. Accessed April 5, 2020.   5. Bauchner H, Sharfstein J. A bold response to the COVID-19 pandemic: medical students, national service, and public health. JAMA 2020;323:1790–1791.   6. Association of American Medical Colleges. The Core entrustable professional activities (EPAs) for entering residency: core EPA publications and presentations. Accessed April 5, 2020.   7. Emanuel EJ. The inevitable reimagining of medical education. JAMA 2020;323:1127–1128.