Medical Education in the Time of COVID-19: A Didactic Curriculum for Rising Urology Rotators

Student: Justice Clark ’22
Research Mentor: Tasha Posid (The Ohio State University Department of Urology)

COVID-19 has impacted medical education, which resulted in the cancelation of clinical rotations, which affects the educational progress of 4th-year medical students. In this study, researchers have created a virtual curriculum, consisting of nine lectures, which provide supplemental education on core Urology topics, which originally would be taught in-person. Nine lectures were created and distributed either “live” or as recordings to these medical students as well.

COVID19 has profoundly impacted the world, with critical changes to Medical Education both immediately following the peak onset of the pandemic and in months to follow. In particular, all in-person away rotations were canceled in late spring and summer of 2020, meaning that rising third-year medical students would not have the opportunity to rotate with Urology prior to their sub-internships, and away rotators joined departments virtually as well. In summer 2020, our Education Leadership designed and implemented a virtual didactic curriculum to minimize lost learning and provide rising 4th-year medical students or virtual urology rotators with core urology education to supplement what they would have typically received in person.

Nine lectures covering foundational urology topics were created and delivered by faculty via Zoom; either “live” for our institution’s medical students (n=9), or as recordings for virtual rotating sub-interns (n=9). A post-curriculum survey evaluated gains in content knowledge, curriculum satisfaction, and usefulness to education.

18 students participated, and 38.4% of lectures were viewed ‘live’ with 61.6% as recordings. Students demonstrated significant pre- to post-curriculum gains and this was also true for each individual topic presented (all ps<0.001). Both live and recorded formats resulted in significant gains in content knowledge overall, with greater gains for those participating live. More than 90% of participants ‘Agreed’ or ‘Strongly Agreed’ that the curriculum better prepared them to rotate with Urology, increased their knowledge of the subject matter, and said they would recommend it to a peer.

In conclusion, Virtual Sessions led by expert Urologic educators can make a significant impact on trainee learning, despite the limitations imposed by remote education. These advantages can be leveraged for future learning as we transition back to more traditional models.