Challenges to Medical Education on Surgical Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jonathan Schaffir, Katherine Strafford, Brett Worly & Amber Traugott

Medical Science Educator, August 2020

INTRODUCTION – The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic to the USA in March of 2020 had a profound and unforeseen effect on education of
American medical students. Students and faculty in the middle of academic programs were given little advance notice that learning would be disrupted. As the epidemic spread, concerns grew for medical systems becoming overwhelmed with new cases and needing to conserve personal protective equipment (PPE). Medical schools moved to cancel classes and restrict students from participating in clinical activities or even setting foot in their affiliated medical centers. With recommendations for social distancing and state-ordered mandates to stay at home, students were additionally forbidden from getting together in groups and had to remain physically separated from anyone other than immediate family.