Dr. Péter Nyirády, the new Dean of the Faculty of Medicine appointed on July 1, considers it his most important task to make medical education even more practical and student-friendly. As he pointed out, his basic proposition is that the lecturer is there for the student and must have an interest in training a doctor who is as well prepared as possible, blessed with empathy, and able to work in a team. Prominent among his plans is the idea of making education more adapted to the learning habits of Generation Z. He would also like to place a strong emphasis on the mental health of students and staff, as well as a family-friendly attitude.

“Let’s teach students how to learn and what teamwork is because it is one of the greatest assets in healthcare; we need to work together to provide the best for our patients,” said Dr. Péter Nyirády, the new Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (ÁOK). He stressed the need to provide students with a dynamic mindset that enables them to make good use of the exponentially growing body of knowledge in the field of medicine and health sciences, rather than with a one-off, cross-sectional approach to learning. As he put it:

It is therefore necessary to specify what is essential to ensure that our newly graduated doctors leave university equipped with the knowledge and skills expected of them.

In this context, it is a key task of the institutes responsible for theoretical education to pass on and test the vast body of knowledge in a form that provides a complex and solid basis for medical work. This requires the lecturers and the clinical staff to think together, he said, adding that this approach would be emphasized in the design of the curricula that would be in force from September.

Dr. Péter Nyirády considers it important that his application for the position of dean was formulated in line with the goals set by Rector Dr. Béla Merkely, thus the promotion of Semmelweis University to become one of the top 100 higher education institutions in the world is a priority. “I am proud to say that ÁOK is the flagship of the university, and if this ship travels well, it will help the whole university to move forward,” he said. In addition to maintaining current values, he considers the further development of the faculty and the improvement of medical education to be his most important task, with a particular focus on making education more practical and student-friendly. These two things are also the most important messages of the curriculum reform 2.0, which will come into force on September 1, and which Dr. Péter Nyirády was involved in developing. As he noted, he feels personally responsible for its successful implementation.

The new dean received his appointment from Dr. Béla Merkely in the Senate Hall.

Dr. Péter Nyirády considers it fundamental that the university and the lecturers are for the students. As he said, there is much to build on, as his predecessor, Dr. Miklós Kellermayer, paid special attention to students, and Rector Dr. Béla Merkely also constantly sets an example of how to treat them as equal partners. In addition, thanks to his daughter, who is a fifth-year student at ÁOK, and his discussions with the Students’ Union, he received first-hand additional information on the needs of students when preparing his application.

Prominent among his plans is the idea of making education more adapted to the learning habits of Generation Z, for example by making the course material available in audiovisual format. Podcasts, which are also very popular with young people, as well as the use of concise notes in the form of a booklet, are also an opportunity to be exploited.

As an example, the dean mentioned the pocketbook-like notes produced at the Városmajor Heart and Vascular Center, which cover all aspects of cardiology that a student needs to become a doctor and pass the exam. A similar booklet is already available at the Department of Pulmonology and the Department of Internal Medicine and Oncology, and another one will soon be published on urology.

Dr. Péter Nyirády believes that exam results are the best indicators of the quality of education, and that if a lecturer has a very high failure rate, then something has gone wrong. He considers it important to define precisely what the minimum knowledge required for a successful exam is in each field, and to do everything we can to ensure that knowledge is assessed as objectively as possible. In order to transmit knowledge effectively, students must be motivated to engage in continuous learning, since, as in sport, good results can only be achieved through regular training. As an example to be followed, he mentioned the custom at the Department of Physiology that students take a 10-question test at the beginning of the practicals, based on the material they studied the last time.

Dr. Péter Nyirády will be assisted by three vice-deans. Dr. Veronika Müller, Director of the Department of Pulmonology, will play a key role in even closer cooperation with the Asklepios Campus Hamburg and in making education even more uniform. Dr. Attila Mócsai, Director of the Department of Physiology, will take on the role of Vice-Dean for Science, and is an excellent lecturer with a research record of which the whole university can be proud, Dr. Péter Nyirády said. The Vice-Dean for Academic Affairs is Dr. György Purebl, Director of the Institute of Behavioral Sciences, who, in addition to his significant role in the development of the curriculum reform 2.0, is a guarantee of a mindset that puts mental health first, the dean stressed.

A sudden improvement in ranking positions can be achieved by significantly enhancing the university’s research reputation, so it is important to consider which institutions contribute to this with what kind of research excellence, Dr. Péter Nyirády emphasized. He added that ÁOK had to play a leading role in further strengthening internal research networks across faculties that integrate their strengths.

The new leader considers the Family Friendly University Program to be the fourth pillar – alongside education, research, and healing – and an important form of staff appreciation. This is why he would like to pay attention to the number of patients treated by each clinic under the program. Equally important, in his opinion, is monitoring the physical and mental well-being of students and residents.

I believe and profess that talent is a gift from God, therefore it is our duty and responsibility to use it with humility, helpfulness, and deep empathy for the benefit of patients. Let us never forget that we are there for the patients, and we must pass on this mindset to future doctors by example.

Dr. Péter Nyirády sees the role of dean as a service. I serve the interests of the students on the one hand, and of my teaching colleagues on the other; similarly to my room as head of the Department of Urology, as dean my door is always open to everyone in order to achieve the goals of the faculty and the university, he said.

Pálma Dobozi
Translation: Dr. Balázs Csizmadia
Photos by Bálint Barta – Semmelweis University