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Has COVID-19 Hurt Resident Education? A network-wide resident survey on education and experience during the pandemic

By Alexander Ostapenko, Samantha McPeck, Shawn Liechty, Daniel Kleiner

Posted 15 Aug 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.13.20171256

Purpose: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the healthcare system has been forced to adapt in myriad ways. Residents have faced significant changes in work schedules, deployment to COVID-19 units, and alterations to didactics. This study aims to identify the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on resident perception of their own education within the Nuvance Health Network. Methods: We conducted an observational study assessing resident perception of changes in education and lifestyle during the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey was developed to assess the quality and quantity of resident education during this time and administered anonymously to all residents within the healthcare network. Results: Eighty-four (68%) residents responded to the survey from five different specialties, including general surgery, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pathology, and radiology. The average change in hours per week performing clinical work was -5.6 hours (SD=16.8), in time studying was +0.02 hours (SD=4.6), in weekly didactics was -1.7 hours (SD=3.1), and in attending involvement was -1.2 hours (SD=2.3). Additionally, 32% of residents expressed concern that the pandemic has diminished their preparedness to become an attending, 13% expressed concern about completing graduation requirements, and 3% felt they would need an additional year of training. Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic thus far, residents perceived that time spent on organized didactics/conferences decreased and that attending physicians are less involved in education. Furthermore, the majority of residents felt that the quality of didactic education diminished as a result of the pandemic. Surprisingly, while many residents expressed concerns about being prepared to become an attending, few were concerned about completing graduation requirements or needing an extra year of education. In light of these findings, it is critical to devote attention to the effects of the pandemic on residents' professional trajectories and create innovative opportunities for improving education during this challenging time.

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