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Urology Departments Reflect on Resident Education in the Era of Covid-19

Given the global pandemic, resident education has suffered during this unprecedented time. A group of Urology residents from UCSF Department of Urology reviewed the direct effects on how the 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic is impacting the residents opportunities to learn the critical tasks necessary to complete their medical education. As demonstrated below, reported changes in clinical experience at urology programs drop drastically this spring.

How have the constraints of the pandemic changed resident education?

  • Decrease in outpatient programs by 75.2%

  • Decrease in inpatient volume by 64.9%

  • Decrease in operating room procedures by 77.7%

  • In-person conferences and workshops cancelled

How did the academic training programs adapt?

  • A coalition was formed with 8 academic training programs: UCSF, the University of Washington, the University of California-Davis, Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Michigan, Northwestern University and the University of Virgina.

  • A lecture series was creating, offering a wide variety of education available to residents from many different programs.

  • The webinar format was delivered by Zoom and all 84 lecture slots were filled through May 2020 by volunteer faculty.

SIM's Opinion

The ability for the resident academic programs to evolve and ensure resident education continues is applaudable. It can be especially hard for academic institutions to make quick changes. The ability to take medical training virtual should continue to develop, beyond the time of a pandemic. One of the unique qualities of SIM's surgical training phantoms is that they do not contain biohazards like cadavers or animate training tools (such as animals). If we could find a safe way to get surgical tools and SIM's training phantoms in the hands of students for training webinars, the students could gain hands on access they are missing. Training stations and independent labs may be the answer to allow education to continue with unforeseen interruptions such as we are experiencing today.

*This blog post was inspired by an article written in the September 2020 edition of The Journal of Urology entitled "Multi-Institutional Collaborative Resident Education in the Era of COVID-19" written by Yi Li and her colleagues at UCSF Department of Urology

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