Virtual Emergency Medicine Clerkship Curriculum during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Development, Application, and Outcomes.West J Emerg Med. 2021 Apr 28; 22(3):792-798.WJ
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant catalyst for change in medical education and clinical care. The traditional model of bedside clinical teaching in required advanced clerkships was upended on March 17, 2020, when the Association of American Medical Colleges recommended removing medical students from direct patient care to prevent further spread of the disease and also to help conserve scarce personal protective equipment (PPE). This created unique challenges for delivering a robust, advanced emergency medicine (EM) clerkship since the emergency department is ground zero for the undifferentiated and potentially infected patient and has high demand for PPE. Here, we describe the development, application, and program evaluation of an online-based, virtual advanced EM curriculum developed rapidly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.Starting March 23, 2020, we began rotating fourth-year medical students through a four-week rotation. We completed a total of four virtual clerkship experiences comprised of 56 students through July 27, 2020. Through analysis of the students' performance on a national standardized EM shelf exam, students participating in this virtual clerkship demonstrated a fund of knowledge that was not significantly different from that of their peers who completed a traditional clerkship in the specialty prior to the pandemic interruptions. Additionally, the critical review of the traditional course created the opportunity to make improvements and enrich the medical student educational experience in a virtual environment and upon resumption of the traditional course when students returned to the in-person environment. The resources provided for those interested in adopting our pedagogical approach include a course syllabus, calendar, and learner summative assessment.