Logging Clinical Teaching During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Keeping Students Safe While Recognising Clinical Teaching

Windrim, Catherine, Higgins, Mary, O'Hanlon, Emily, Ardill, Ray and Fagan, Jane (2021) Logging Clinical Teaching During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Keeping Students Safe While Recognising Clinical Teaching.


Background: The initial wave of COVID-19 saw swift changes to the medical education landscape as
universities were closed, clinical rotations cancelled, and learning moved online. To facilitate the safe
return of medical students to the clinical setting, a robust method of contact tracing for clinical and
educational interactions to isolate any outbreaks and interrupt the chain of transmission was described.
Here a quick response (QR) code system for comprehensive contact tracing is described and its use in the
quantification of clinical teaching during a pandemic reported.

Summary of Work: Following institutional approval, a prospective, observational study utilising a secured
web-based form with a QR code to log all interactions and clinical teaching was designed by a shared
partnership team of final year medical students and academics. This QR code was distributed to all clinical
staff and students so as to capture all clinical-teaching encounters and enable contact tracing if necessary.
From September to December 2020, 144 students returned to clinical practice. Every clinical interaction
with staff or lecturers was logged using the QR code.

Summary of Results: All students participated in the project. In total 5,803 hours of clinical teaching were
logged from 3,453 encounters, with a median of 31.9 hours per student. Of the 212 clinicians logged as
educators, the median hours teaching were 27.3. The log was not required for contact tracing during this

Discussion and Conclusions: The response to the Covid-19 pandemic requires practical solutions and
medical education should be no different. The QR code system enabled the safe reintroduction of students
to the clinical environment and for the first time quantified the amount of teaching students receive on
clinical placements. The continued commitment to teaching from all levels of staff and each discipline
within the hospital was evident.

Take-home Messages: Despite some of the benefits to online teaching, it would be an unrealistic
expectation that online content could replace the 5,803 hours of in-person clinical teaching that the
students received. We believe that this work supports the safe return of medical students to the hospital

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