Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has unequivocally disrupted medical education. Medical students have been removed from clinical rotations despite continued desire to participate in patient care during the pandemic. Many medical schools are adopting online learning while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but the role of medical students in patient care and value of COVID-19-related education remains unclear. Methods: Rising third and fourth year medical students were placed in a 4-week long curriculum designed to prepare students for leadership during times of crisis, to educate students about COVID-19, to understand the societal and public health impacts of the pandemic, to develop tools to maintain personal wellness and resilience, and to engage students in activities related to service, education, research, and reflection. Students partook in didactic sessions, small group meetings, and weekly written reflections. The course heavily emphasized service opportunities, including service to patients, humanity (via communication and education, art and creativity, and scholarship), and self and peers. Following course completion, students answered a pre-post survey to gauge how effectively the course achieved the aforementioned educational objectives. Results: Of the 245 students who participated in the course, 41 students completed the pre-post survey. The course successfully increased student confidence in how students can personally contribute to patient care during COVID-19 (p =0.006). While no additional student attitudes significantly changed, students continued to highly rank a desire to contribute to patient care despite risks to themselves and their families. Discussion: The course gave students the tools to directly impact patient care during the pandemic and demonstrated that medical students have a strong commitment to their communities likely from an intrinsic sense of altruism and calling.
Casale, Fiore; Sally Midani; Elizabeth Lawrence; Felisha-Rohan Minjares; Rebecca Williams; and Rebecca Hartley. "COVID-19 in 2020: Defining Medical Student Roles During the Pandemic." (2021). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hsc_ed_day/76