Principles of medical sciences or medical education sciences in postgraduate education


Principles of medical sciences or medical education sciences in postgraduate education


Principios de las ciencias médicas o ciencias de la educación médica en educación de posgrado



Guillermo José López Espinosa1, Norberto Valcárcel Izquierdo2, Elia Rosa Lemus Lago3, Mariela Valdés Mora3

1 Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences. Cuba.
2 "Enrique José Varona" University of Pedagogical Sciences. Havana. Cuba.
3 Havana University of Medical Sciences. Cuba.




In the medical sciences there are principles that govern postgraduate education, and in a particular way, they condition the organization, implementation and control of the teaching-learning process. The authors intend to socialize them as sustenance of the sciences of medical education, since the phase of construction of a science has a scientific basis given by its objectives, contents, methods and forms of scientific activity, and it is in close relationship with its origin, based on generalized theoretical and practical knowledge; In addition, the hierarchical logical structure as one of the characteristics that make up sciences makes reference to the evolution of the theories of medical sciences, as contributing sources of medical education sciences.

MeSH: education, medical, graduate, health sciences, education, medical.


En las ciencias médicas existen principios que rigen la educación de posgrado, y de manera particular, condicionan la organización, ejecución y control del proceso docente educativo. Los autores pretenden socializarlos como sustentos de las ciencias de la educación médica, a partir de que la fase de construcción de una ciencia posee un fundamento científico dado por sus objetivos, contenidos, métodos y formas de la actividad científica, y se encuentra en estrecha relación con su origen, basado en el conocimiento teórico y práctico generalizado; además la estructura lógica jerarquizada como una de las características que componen las ciencias hace referencia a la evolución de las teorías de las ciencias médicas, como fuentes nutricias de la ciencias de la educación médica.

DeSC: educación de posgrado en Medicina, ciencias de la salud, educación médica.



The higher education of the 21st century should emphasize a solid formation as a consequence of prioritizing the learning processes with an eminently productive character, so that postgraduate education is sustained by a graduate who is endowed with the intellectual and human resources that guarantee him/her self education throughout the professional life.1

The role of postgraduate education in the development of human capital is unquestionable. This is a concept linked to strengthening and maintaining professional skills to guarantee the quality of work performance and is divided into two different or complementary modalities or aspects:

Continuous postgraduate education or professional improvement: refers to a system of learning activities and professional consolidation, as an expression of intellectual creation. As its forms can be considered: courses, workshops, trainings, pre-congress courses, post-graduate seminars, specialized conferences, scientific debate, diploma courses and studies supervised by highly qualified professionals.

Formal postgraduate education or academic training: refers to a system of demanding learning activities, regulated at the national level and implemented in institutions with due authorization and grants an academic and scientific degree. As its forms are considered specialties, master's degrees and doctoral studies.2

In the speech delivered by Castro Ruz,3 at the closing of the national medical sciences teaching staff meeting, in the "Karl Marx" theater, on April 16, 1983, he said: "... we have to worry a lot in the future about the upgrading of doctors, although they are not professors, and we will have to establish improvement systems for our doctors. It is essential, because medicine evolves constantly, and they cannot be updated in medicine without constant study, without constant improvement ...".

The postgraduate education in the Cuban National Health System (CNHS) has, among its fundamental objectives, the continuous and systematic upgrading of professionals, as well as the development of skills and abilities, which together with the social health policy, generates opportunities to establish a dynamic alternative in the search for the closest contents to the needs and contextual social values.

In the medical sciences, there are principles that govern education and, in a particular way, condition the organization, implementation and control of the educational process, such as: the teaching-assistance-research integration, the study-work relationship and theory with practice, in-service training as a form of organization of the predominant education, tutored education, as well as continuous and permanent education.4

In Cuba, the faculties of medical sciences are an integrating part of the unique health system and its teaching staff works with total dedication in their own services, where conditions are created that facilitate the integration of the university with the health organization, that is, the teaching-care integration, which promotes the implementation of scientific researches.

The study-work and theory with practice linkages constitute principles of the Cuban national education system and have deep roots in José Martí Pérez's conceptions of education, who summed up the need to erase the existing divorce between theory and practice, and advocates the merging of these. The training of human resources in medical sciences has been structured on the activities principle of in-service training: learning and improving in health services and in the community.5

Tutorial teaching as a model of knowledge transmission is repeated and developed in medical education, in the different teaching sites of primary and secondary care. meanwhile, the continuous and permanent education, recognized like set of experiences that follow to the initial formation, allow to the health worker to maintain, to increase and to improve its competence so that this is pertinent to the development of its responsibility.6

The authors consider that the aforementioned principles of the medical sciences can be identified as principles of the sciences of medical education, from the successive referents; the process of construction of the sciences has a scientific basis given by its objectives, contents, methods, forms of scientific activity and it is closely related to the origin of sciences, based on generalized theoretical and practical knowledge, valid for all processes.

All the theories that make up sciences should express the following characteristics that ensure their scientific and systemic character:

  • Internal logical consistency
  • Hierarchical logical structure
  • External consistency
  • Ideal reflection of the essential relationships of reality
  • Subject to development

Specifically, the hierarchical logical structure refers to the evolution of the theories that make up the medical sciences and health sciences, as contributing sources of the medical education science since its origin, which has brought with it the appearance and evolution of new principles and laws that reflect the theoretical and practical systematization of their premises and become the guiding nucleus of each educational theory, in the process of contraction and expansion of its objects of study or research.7

The systematization of these premises distinguish five principles that enrich the epistemological base of the medical education sciences, in-service training, autonomy, not doing evil, professional ethics and beneficence.8

In-service training is considered the guiding principle of the medical education sciences, an element that identifies and typifies it as a developing science, while the objects, methods and procedures of the profession become contents, forms, methods and aids for the formation and development of their human resources.

The main objective of the in-service training is to contribute to the training of the skills and practical habits that characterize the professional activities of the graduate of medical sciences; the acquisition of the most advanced methods of work and the formation of the traits that make up its personality in the socialist society. It contributes to consolidate, expand and apply the knowledge acquired during the development of the educational process.9

In this sense, from the epistemological base of the medical and health sciences, in the relation of its object of study with the sciences of medical education, the strong impact of new knowledge must be carefully considered, its access from the development of technologies, the ever-increasing demands of society on the problems of health and the quality of life of the population and the development of sciences in general that are currently moving from more holistic, multifactorial and transdisciplinary positions, which provoke new and substantial questions in the epistemological thought.10

The authors expressed the relationships that enrich, in a general way, the sciences of medical education, and in a singular way offer an internal logical consistency, according to the principle of in-service training, which leads health professionals towards an improvement in work performance, so that it meets social demands.


Declaration of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.



1. Herrera Miranda GL, Horta Muñoz DM. Superación pedagógica y didáctica: necesidad impostergable para los profesores y tutores del proceso de especialización. Educ Med Sup [Internet]. 2016 [citado 19 Dic 2017];30(3):[aprox. 11 p.]. Disponible en:

2. Ministerio de Educación Superior. Reglamento de Postgrado. Resolución 132/04. La Habana: MES; 2004.

3. Castro Ruz F. Discurso pronunciado en la clausura del claustro nacional de ciencias médicas, en el teatro "Karl Marx". La Habana; Consejo de Estado; 1983.

4. Cardentey García J, González Rodríguez R. Aspectos acerca de la superación profesional en la educación médica. Educ Med Super [Internet]. 2015 [citado 21 Mar 2017];30(1):[aprox. 4 p.]. Disponible en:

5. Fernández Sacasas JÁ. El principio rector de la educación médica cubana. Educ Med Super [Internet]. 2013 [citado 8 Oct 2017];27(2):[aprox. 8 p.]. Disponible en:

6. Urbina Laza O. La educación de posgrado en las universidades médicas cubanas. Educ Med Super [Internet]. 2015 [citado 6 Ene 2016];29(2):[aprox. 8 p.]. Disponible en:

7. La Epistemología de las Ciencias de la Educación Médica. En: Epistemología de las Ciencias Médicas. La Habana: Centro de Desarrollo Académico en Salud; 2016.

8. Mendoza Rodríguez H. Apuntes para el examen estatal de mínimo de la especialidad de Ciencias de la Educación Médica. La Habana: Ciencias Médicas; 2016.

9. Lemus Lago ER, Valcárcel Izquierdo N. Discusión clínica familiar como de forma de enseñanza para la Medicina General Integral. Educ Med Super [Internet]. 2016 [citado 9 Oct 2017];30(2):[aprox. 6 p.]. Disponible en:

10. Vicedo Tomey AG. ¿Quién debe enseñar qué cosa en educación médica? El papel del profesor y el conocimiento pedagógico del contenido. Educ Med Super [Internet]. 2015 [citado 28 Ene 2016];29(3):[aprox. 4 p.]. Disponible en:



Submitted: Jun 5 2018.
Accepted: Sept 3 2018.



Guillermo José López Espinosa. Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences. Cuba. E-mail:



This article is published under the license Creative Commons

Copyright (c) 2018 EDUMECENTRO