To cope with COVID-19 pandemic control precautions, many surgical residency programs have adopted a Declared Health Emergency rotation to minimize exposure to the COVID-19. We evaluated the experience and educational value of virtual education activities by reviewing the perceptions of the Declared Health Emergency rotation participants through survey questionnaire analysis.
Participants of the Declared Health Emergency rotation virtual educational activities were asked to complete a survey questionnaire describing their perception and experience.
The survey response rate was 100% (faculty, n = 13; residents, n = 8; nurse practitioners/physician assistants, n = 4). The majority reported that virtual activities required minimal technical skills (n = 17, 68%). Compared to the traditional in-person conferences before the pandemic, the majority reported that they participated in virtual rounds more often or the same (n = 22, 88%), that the overall level and quality of interactions were the same or better (n = 19, 76%), and that the knowledge gained was the same or more (n = 22, 88%). All respondents reported that virtual conferences educational objectives were met.
The quality of education and the knowledge gain during the virtual educational activities are equivalent or better than in the traditional face-to-face activities. The use of technology in virtual educational activities is a practical and convenient approach to achieve the desired educational objectives during and potentially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The wide and rapid spread of COVID-19 followed by the declaration of a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, forced residency training programs to adopt Declared Health Emergency (DHE) rotations. Under such a strategy, residents are divided into 2 groups. The first group is assigned to hospital duties (ie, direct patient care, rounding on inpatients, and covering urgent surgeries). At the same time, the second group is to stay home and participate in virtual learning. The goal of this restructuring has been to minimize exposure to both residents and patients, optimize the workforce to ensure maintenance of providing optimal patient care, and promote residents' well-being.
Our program curriculum restructuring was specifically designed within the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although part of the curriculum is directed toward disaster management and emergency preparedness, it did not lose focus on continuing surgical training in all 6 aspects of core competencies.
In this study, we sought to examine and evaluate our faculty and trainees' experience with the restructured virtual educational activities by analyzing data collected through survey questionnaire.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, DHE rotation was introduced on an urgent basis to accommodate the new social physical distancing and other pandemic control precautions. Therefore, the residents were divided into 2 groups that alternate weekly on 2 different rotation curricula. One group would be involved in the in-hospital patient surgical care and activities while participating in the group and department virtual activities. The second group does not participate in the in-hospital patient surgical care activities for that week. Instead, they participate in the Disaster and Emergency Preparedness (DMEP) curriculum, study/SIM laboratory training plan, and the department virtual meeting and group learning activities.