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How does your school function during the pandemic? Please share your experience.


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Hey friends. Can you please share your experience as a student during COVID-19? Is your school on-line, hybrid or off-line? Could you share some details of how your program delivery is organized during the pandemic?

I am from a western school.

  • Last term (Fall '21), 50% of our lectures were in-person with a Zoom option, the other 50% were pre-recorded. All hands-on courses and small group sessions were in-person while continuously masking. Shadowing was fully allowed.
  • This term (winter '22), all lectures are on Zoom or pre-recorded. Clinical skills are in-person (for now). Shadowing is allowed. Some small group sessions are on Zoom, some are in-person.

I am really worried about the quality of education when we are on-line. What sort of doctors will we be with this zoom medical school? We will be the first zoom doctors. I am afraid, this won't go well.

Please share your experience.

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6 hours ago, who_knows said:

Hey friends. Can you please share your experience as a student during COVID-19? Is your school on-line, hybrid or off-line? Could you share some details of how your program delivery is organized during the pandemic?

I am from a western school.

  • Last term (Fall '21), 50% of our lectures were in-person with a Zoom option, the other 50% were pre-recorded. All hands-on courses and small group sessions were in-person while continuously masking. Shadowing was fully allowed.
  • This term (winter '22), all lectures are on Zoom or pre-recorded. Clinical skills are in-person (for now). Shadowing is allowed. Some small group sessions are on Zoom, some are in-person.

I am really worried about the quality of education when we are on-line. What sort of doctors will we be with this zoom medical school? We will be the first zoom doctors. I am afraid, this won't go well.

Please share your experience.

I went to western medical school before and then during covid, and am now a resident. Covid started mid way through my clinical years, so I had a mostly hybrid experience (‘school’ stuff went online, Clinical was in person). My personal assessment is that, in terms of prepping you with clinical knowledge, zoom isn’t too much different, and in some ways it is better. Before COVID I barely went to lecture, especially after 1st semester of first year. Mostly watched pre recorded lectures from previous years and did self-directed studies, and only showed up to in-person things that I absolutely had to. I actually worried about the quality of education in lectures in-person, and I didn’t feel like it changed much when it went on zoom. Same for most small group things, aside from clinical skills - the discussion on zoom, not a heck of a lot different from in-person. The thing that sucked about covid was the lack of contact with peers in person, and that continues to be a challenge in residency. But I actually felt like I slept better, ate better, and overall had a better work-life balance and therefore learned more when we went online for the school stuff. I now relish when we have online academic days in residency, because I actually get to sleep in for a change. 

What really matters for getting the skills you need to be a good doctor will be the in-person clinical time you have during clerkship and electives in 3rd/4th year (2nd/3rd if you’re at a 3-year school). This has suffered a little on some rotations because of a strong move to virtual clinics in some predominantly outpatient specialties, but on the whole I found finishing clerkship and doing electives post-covid to be nearly identical to pre-covid. If you’re going to do outpatient medicine, some component of virtual is going to be a reality going forward anyways - and a lot of doctors suck at virtual medicine, so the more practice you get doing it well will be of benefit to you. And if you’re only going to do in-patient/surgery, then you’ll get what you need either way. 

tldr; I don’t think zoom doctors will be any worse doctors (although I think virtual zoom/phone care is often horrible unless only a small component that complements your day/week). 

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Kind of interested in this topic as I happened to create Western's original podcast system for lectures during medical school. It was supposed to supplement things (if you missed a lecture, or wanted to see it again sort of thing). One of the admin's big fears was a loss of class cohesion with the project. Covid is testing that I suspect. 

Preclerkship is where a lot of bonding takes place - which is important as clerkship can be quite isolating at times when you are under quite a bit of stress. 

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1 hour ago, who_knows said:

Thank you, frenchpress, for your insight. I definitely see the advantages of the Zoom and pre-recorded lectures. But overall, it does not feel like "med school", when you have all lectures on-line.

Anyone else please share your experience!!

I guess part of what I was getting at was that the first two years didn’t really feel like medical school for me, and by all descriptions what I went through was pretty classic in-person medical school. But it was not all that like what I imagined it would be! I didn’t actually start feeling like I was training to be a doctor until clerkship started. 

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12 hours ago, frenchpress said:

I guess part of what I was getting at was that the first two years didn’t really feel like medical school for me, and by all descriptions what I went through was pretty classic in-person medical school. But it was not all that like what I imagined it would be! I didn’t actually start feeling like I was training to be a doctor until clerkship started. 

Zoom and pre-recored ONLY sucks also for the fact that I now have to be at the computer desk the ENTIRE day. I am 100% sure that I would not have gone to all the in person classes. However, it is nice to enjoy the walk to your class, listen to some music, say hi to friends on campus, grab a coffee, chat with the nice Tims lady, walk around the library, think about reading X book but never doing it and instead working on some random research project. Now all I get is endless Zoom sessions in my room. Bleah.

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14 hours ago, dooogs said:

Zoom and pre-recored ONLY sucks also for the fact that I now have to be at the computer desk the ENTIRE day. I am 100% sure that I would not have gone to all the in person classes. However, it is nice to enjoy the walk to your class, listen to some music, say hi to friends on campus, grab a coffee, chat with the nice Tims lady, walk around the library, think about reading X book but never doing it and instead working on some random research project. Now all I get is endless Zoom sessions in my room. Bleah.

and this is going on 2+ years now. I will be honest I am bit worried about the impact on med student mental health (ha and maybe physical health as well with the sit in the room and watch the screen all day mode). Med school is a stressful thing at times - people use different supports but without the class meeting it does knock the pillars out of many things. 

 

 

 

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Ottawa here and sadly, preclerks have not been able to do ANY in-hospital shadowing at all. We got a few sessions of family practice shadowing but that barely added up to 10 hours total. So we honestly had close to zero clinical exposure or exploration prior to clerkship rotation.

All lectures are online and most are recorded - this is the only part of the online curriculum that I prefer since I doubt in-person lectures would make any difference.

We had a brief window of in-person small group learning, but that's since been shuttered with Omicron. Clinical skills classes have been in-person where needed, but interview skills and stuff have been online.

OSCEs have been done online and honestly, I wasn't a fan. Very little time and opportunity to practice my hands-on clinical skills and interviewing SPs over Zoom is a lot more challenging that I expected :/

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sucks for those who can't do shadowing, I think that's way more important than zoom lectures. Any chance to do shadowing in non-academic places like rural hospitals or outpatient clinics? Still better than nothing.

way back in the day I never felt the lectures were too useful as a whole. I mostly self studied using USMLE material and lots and lots of youtube. 

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It's definitely tough that there is much variability with observerships/shadowing. A lot of people build relationships or get their foot in the door at least by shadowing. We havent been able to do much at Western. Very narrow windows. We were able to do some in the summer tho which was very nice

 

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6 hours ago, shikimate said:

sucks for those who can't do shadowing, I think that's way more important than zoom lectures. Any chance to do shadowing in non-academic places like rural hospitals or outpatient clinics? Still better than nothing.

way back in the day I never felt the lectures were too useful as a whole. I mostly self studied using USMLE material and lots and lots of youtube. 

The school is actively discouraging people from seeking external shadowing, citing lack of liability insurance and even coming close to strike us with a "professionalism" infraction so I'm guessing not.

I've seen isolated instances of people finding ways to get insurance coverage to do some rogue shadowing somehow but one doesn't simply get that unless they're incredibly connected.

6 hours ago, jb24 said:

I never shadowed, its not a big deal, you get plenty of clinical time later. Just enjoy pre-clerkship while it lasts.

Ya I agree with you... I don't expect to learn a whole lot on shadowing either. It's just things like that I'm still getting super nervous taking simple histories or I still don't know if I can handle the sight of copious blood that are making me anxious going into clerkship.

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15 hours ago, DrOtter said:

The school is actively discouraging people from seeking external shadowing, citing lack of liability insurance and even coming close to strike us with a "professionalism" infraction so I'm guessing not.

I've seen isolated instances of people finding ways to get insurance coverage to do some rogue shadowing somehow but one doesn't simply get that unless they're incredibly connected.

Ya I agree with you... I don't expect to learn a whole lot on shadowing either. It's just things like that I'm still getting super nervous taking simple histories or I still don't know if I can handle the sight of copious blood that are making me anxious going into clerkship.

The shadowing policies have changed so much back and forth in recent years but I think it is currently allowed for the new classes, at least at our school.

It is not uncommon for students to feel uneasy with their first sight of copious blood (usually during OB) so don't feel bad if it happens to you but from everyone I heard they were able to get used to it!

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