More Chinese students want to study medicine, inspired by doctors fighting against COVID-19: expert

By GT staff reporters Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/20 0:35:20

Medical workers wait to submit COVID-19 samples for nucleic acid test at the center for disease control and prevention in Fengman district of Jilin city, Northeast China's Jilin Province, May 17, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

Motivated by the inspirational work of doctors, the accolades they received and the lives they saved during the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of students applying to study medicine has taken a huge jump.  

Applications to Tsinghua Medical College and Peking Union Medical College are up 30 percent this year, Zhang Shuyang, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said in a video interview with China Central Television CCTV on Wednesday. 

Wednesday was Medical Workers' Day, and stories of the excellent work and sacrifices of medical workers triggered wide public discussion as the topic was viewed 200 million times on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, as of press time.

In a poll by People's Daily on Sina Weibo asking whether people will apply to study medicine, more than 22,000 people answered that they are medical students, and are prepared to save lives with the knowledge they learn. More than 8,684 people said they plan to apply to medical schools, calling for more respect to medical workers. Another 31,000 people said they plan to study subjects that will allow them to make contributions to society in other ways.

"The devotion that Chinese doctors showed in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan inspired me to apply to study medicine. I also want to be a hero to save lives in dangerous situation in the future," a Chinese netizen wrote.

"Do not study medicine unless you have what it takes mentally, have a true passion for medical science and are willing to take on great responsibility and make sacrifices," a young neurosurgeon surnamed Yu from Shenyang, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Yu, who graduated in 2018, said he can understand the enthusiasm of young students, as many saw the heroic images of doctors and nurses during the pandemic and want to emulate them.

To mark China's third Medical Workers' Day, 80 doctors across the country were awarded the "Chinese Medical Worker Medal," by the Chinese Medical Doctors Association.

Those honored include Tao Yong, an ophthalmologist at Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, head of the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital Zhang Dingyu, and Zhang Wenhong, head of the Shanghai COVID-19 medical team.

Earlier in August, Zhong Nanshan, a top respiratory expert who identified the SARS virus in 2003 and has been leading China's COVID-19 fight, was awarded the Medal of the Republic, the highest state honor in China.

Along with Zhong, China's top medical adviser Zhang Boli, top Chinese vaccine researcher Chen Wei and Zhang Dingyu, head of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, were awarded the titles "People's Hero." 


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