Education In Isolation: Teaching Clinical Skills During The Covid-19 Pandemic

Higgins, Mary, Sloan, Sarah, Power, Edmond, O'Reilly, Conor, Phipps, Madison and Hicks, Eleanora (2021) Education In Isolation: Teaching Clinical Skills During The Covid-19 Pandemic.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in the delivery of medical education across the
globe. Medical students have seen a large part of their in-person learning replaced by online teaching, and
efforts to replicate patient-clinician interactions have proven difficult. Recent COVID-19 guidelines have
precluded students from their first clinical learning opportunity which normally takes place during their
Reproductive, Psychiatry & Paediatrics module.

Summary of Work: We developed peer assisted educational content that closely resembled previous
clinical exposure.

Summary of Results: An educational video in which a doctor performs a head-to-toe examination of a new born baby was developed. This was edited with a voiceover explaining the steps of the examination with
an emphasis on what is necessary for student success at this stage of their medical education. Important
moments of this examination were accompanied by pauses and questions to consolidate key concepts. A
short questionnaire was designed to assess students confidence and knowledge regarding their ability to
complete a neonatal examination both prior to and after watching the video, which can be used as a
measure to assess the effectiveness.

Discussion and Conclusions: While there is no true substitute for in-person clinical experiences, the video
has resulted in a number of benefits for the students affected. These include the ability to work at their
own pace, review the examination numerous times, and greater preparedness for their future clinical
placement. Finally, the formative assessments allowed students to discover, and rectify, any gaps in their

Take-home Messages: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of innovation within many
spheres, including medical education. Adaptations to medical student education are necessary to ensure
the same standard of clinical education as in previous years. Students and educators who have experienced
the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical education are in a unique position to develop a curriculum
that overcomes the associated challenges. We believe that this educational resource will outlive the
pandemic from which it originated and will be utilised as a learning and revision tool by students in the
years to come.

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