COVID pandemic sees 30 per cent upsurge in medical school applications in Spain’s Valencia
As a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, Spain has seen an increased interest in health and wellbeing, diet and fitness, but the health crisis has also had an impact in the choices youngsters are making about their future careers. According to data released by the Department of Universities, applications to study Medicine at Valencian public colleges has jumped by a substantial 30 per cent for the 2021-2022 academic year.
According to Jesús Andicoberry, coordinator of the Valencian Community of the State Council of Medical Students (CEEM), while Medicine has always been a very popular course, the reasons for the increased demand this year are twofold:
“The romanticization of the profession and the humanitarian raison d’être of Medicine, which lies in helping others.”
The upsurge may seem surprising since the coronavirus pandemic highlighted the stressful working environment for those in the medical profession, who, for more than a year now have put their own lives at risk in order to treat those less fortunate. One attraction may be the fact that a university course in Medicine sees students receive six continuous training years, compared to a maximum of four offered by most other courses.
Third-year resident physician in the Endocrinology department of the Hospital Doctor Peset de Valencia, Enrique Cunat, told news outlet Levante that while the pandemic has emphasised the vital role of doctors, it has also shown the tough conditions they are expected to work under.
“Medicine calls for its low unemployment rates, it is a profession highly valued socially but does not stand out for good working conditions,” he says. Cuñat added that doctor suffers a “very high temporary employment rate” together with a “very great” responsibility that isn’t always reflected in their pay.
It is also his opinion that many of those studying Medicine choose to leave Spain once qualified to work in other countries. “We are very badly off” as doctors in this country, Mr Cunat said, adding that “those who can, go away.”
“When you finish high school you think that things are not going to go wrong for you. You idealize your future and you imagine it with a job and economic security,” he concluded.