LUBBOCK, Texas — Medical schools across the country have seen an increase in applications amid the pandemic, and it’s no different at Texas Tech. On Wednesday, students explained how COVID-19 had inspired them to go into the field.
“It has only increased my desire to go into medicine because I really feel that I want to do a job that is needed and is wanted,” said Chuck Guerra, a second-year student at Texas Tech’s School of Medicine.
As Lubbock county remains a major COVID-19 hot spot, more medical students like Guerra are eager to get on the front lines.
“Obviously, I don’t want a pandemic to be happening, but when one happens the need is greater, and that makes me want even more to be doing the work that I want to do,” said Guerra.
Texas Tech’s Health Sciences Center has seen a 20 percent increase in applications just this year.
Across the country, medical schools have seen a 15 percent increase, according to the School of Medicine’s Dean Steven Berk.
“The great thing about the 20 percent increase in students applying to medical school is that they’re not afraid of the pandemic,” said Dr. Berk. “In fact, they see a call to honor or a call to duty.”
The school has also changed its curriculum to include more information about COVID-19 and public health as a whole.
“It’s even made me see ways that I’m helpful, even now, especially in my second year,” said second-year medical student Jaclyn Jones. “We had some lectures on COVID. And that was incredibly helpful to be able to have those, and then even just in day to day conversations, to be able to address times when somebody kind of put something up there that wasn’t 100% accurate, and be able to correct that information in the moment.”
From creating more advanced telemedicine to greater public health awareness, the medical world has changed significantly during this pandemic. Dr. Berk explained that Texas Tech is doing as much as they can to ensure their students are prepared once they go into the workforce.
“I think we’ve emphasized public health and will emphasize public health even more in the future. So that students are ready for whenever that next pandemic may occur,” said Dr. Berk.