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Challenges of students and residents of human medicine in the first four months of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic – Implications for future waves and scenarios

Citation

Wohlfarth, Benny; Gloor, Beat; Hautz, Wolf E. (2021), Challenges of students and residents of human medicine in the first four months of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic – Implications for future waves and scenarios, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.37pvmcvj2

Abstract

Introduction: In the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, medical students and residents are expected to adapt and contribute in a healthcare environment characterized by ever-changing measures and policies. The aim of this narrative review is to provide a summary of the literature that addresses the challenges of students and residents of human medicine in the first four months of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in order to identify gaps and find implications areas for improvement within the current situation and for potential future scenarios. 
Methods: We performed a systematic literature search and content analysis (CA) of articles available in English language that address the challenges of students and residents of human medicine in the first four months of the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Results: We retrieved 82 articles from a wide range of journals, professional backgrounds and countries. CA identified five recurring subgroup topics: «faculty preparation», «uncertaintiesy and mental health», «clinical knowledge», «rights and obligations» and «(self-) support and supply». Within these subgroups the main concerns of «(re)deployment», «interruption of training and career», «safety issues», «transmission of disease», and «restricted social interaction» were identified as potential stressors that hold a risk for fatigue, loss of morale and burnout.
Discussion: Students and residents are willing and able to participate in the fight against Covid-19 when provided with appropriate deployment to areas of need, thorough supervision, legal guidance, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)safety measures and, clinical necessary knowledge, thorough supervision, social integration and mental health support. Preceding interviews to decide on reasonable voluntary deployment, the use of new technology and frequent feedback communication with faculties, educators and policymakers can further help with a successful and sustainable integration of students and residents in the fight against the pandemic.Faculties and policymakers should be in close contact with the youngest in training and be cognizant of their concerns and intrinsic creativity on the scenario. The use of new technology for interaction and knowledge provision, preceding interviews to decide on reasonable voluntary deployment and the provision of mental health support seem important measures to aid students and residents in the fight against the current pandemic.
Conclusion: It is critical that faculties, educators and policymakers have a better thorough understanding of the needs and concerns of medical trainees during this pandemic times. Leaders should facilitate close communication with students and residents, value their intrinsic creativeness and regularly evaluate their needs in regards to deployment, knowledge aspects, safety measures, legal concerns and overall well-being.

Methods

We retrieved articles in English language focusing on the challenges in preparation of students and residents in human medicine within the first four months of the Covid-19 pandemic. With Wuhan Health Authorities initially reporting on December 31 2019, we set the timeframe for the literature search from January 1 2020 accordingly. The main search was performed via PubMed, resulting in 1108 articles. After exclusion of inappropriate articles, we ended up with 162 student- and resident-related articles. We then excluded 80 more articles, solely focusing on the adaptation of curricula (e.g. moving classes online), resulting in a final pool of 82 articles. BW reviewed titles, abstracts, and full text of the final articles and performed a content analysis (CA). Categorization and analyzation has been done in Microsoft Excel 2016 under Windows 10.