IS PUBLIC HEALTH WORTH STUDYING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC? A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
Medical University of Warsaw (POLAND)
About this paper:
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
A module in “Public speaking and the art of presentation" was one of the core courses in the second year of second-cycle studies in the field of public health in the academic year 2020/2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this course was run online at the MS Teams platform. As part of the course, students were required to prepare a presentation on "Why is it worth studying Public Health in the COVID-19 pandemic?".
The aim of the study was to analyse the opinions of second-year students of first-cycle studies in Public Health at the Faculty of Health Science of the Medical University of Warsaw on studying public health in the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 29 second-year students of first-cycle studies in public health at the Faculty of Health Sciences of the Medical University of Warsaw participated in the study in the academic year 2020/2021. Among the study participants, women were the vast majority (women n = 25), 3 students were foreigners (1 male student from Belarus and 2 female students from Ukraine). The mean age in the study group was 21.05 years (SD = 0.954).
Students' recordings were transcribed into written form and a qualitative analysis of the submitted presentations was carried out.
The qualitative analysis was performed using the Atlas.ti program. Content analysis was performed in five steps:
1) selection of empirical material, with particular emphasis on formal uniformity, enabling the comparison and juxtaposition of individual texts,
2) repeated analysis of texts for the topics and content presented there,
3) creation of a categorization key constituting a structured set of thematic categories present the analysed material,
4) creating a glossary of categories in the key for a better understanding of how they were established and understood by the investigator,
5) creating tables with citations to ensure access to empirical data, without having to directly refer to the whole of the published texts.
The transcript contained a total of 9,129 words, with an average of 336 words (min. 253; max. 497) per presentation. Content analysis allowed us to distinguish three content dimensions and analytical categories:
I. The education process, organisation and course of study (1. Curriculum content. 2. From theory to practice of applying specific solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 3. Curriculum content referring to the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. 4. Academic staff involved in the management of the health system in Poland during the COVID-19 pandemic).
II. Online studies (1. High quality education. 2. Possibility to stay at home and no risk of infection).
III. The certainty of finding employment and stable work environment immediately after graduation (1. Lack of public awareness regarding the field of public health activities. 2. Graduates who completed their studies in public health before the COVID-19 pandemic were underestimated on the job market. 3. The need for public health professionals to act was recognized during the COVID-19 pandemic. 4. The future after college).
The outbreak of the SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19 pandemic improved the image of public health professionals in Poland. The position of graduates of this faculty on the job market increased, and they became sought-after specialists in the health care system. Moreover, according to students, a shift to online teaching improved the quality of student education in the field of public health.
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, public health, on-line program, undergraduate program, motivation, effectiveness, assessment of quality, employment, qualitative analysis.