The Impact of COVID on Medical Education

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives have been significantly affected on every level. Different countries reacted in various ways and almost everybody was under lockdown at a certain point. With time, everyone has adapted to the new “normal”. Masks are on all the time, no handshakes or hugs, and if anyone gets slightly closer physically, we tend to get extremely uncomfortable. On the professional side, all health care workers were impacted too. At the very beginning, all elective procedures were delayed, there were long working hours, more stress, and a lack of personal protective equipment. Patients who were legitimately sick did not seek medical advice and hospitals were at full capacity. Additionally, didactics were canceled, medical students were asked to stay at home, in-person national and international conferences were canceled, and many more. As a result, training and education were disrupted but the medical community stepped up to the challenge and explored different avenues to ensure steady and proper education for all healthcare workers.

In the past several months, all professional societies (AHA, ACC, ESC, TCT, ASE, and many more) did a phenomenal job in reducing the impact of the pandemic on medical education. All conferences were switched to a virtual platform, different ideas were applied to keep everyone engaged, registration fees were reduced significantly or completely waived. I must point out that now it is possible to attend all national and international conferences from the comfort of your living room, listen and interact with experts in the field, and attend the sessions that you have missed at your convenience. Additionally, for grand rounds and didactics, remote education facilitated learning from experts from all over the world. Although all these efforts helped mitigate the effect of the pandemic on education, however, everyone is still hoping for in-person conferences. Unfortunately, the ESC has decided to deliver its full portfolio of congresses and events virtually up to the ESC Congress in September 2021. Moreover, the ACC annual meeting was pushed back to May 2021 and it is expected to be in-person and virtual. Although recently, promising news about the vaccine has been published however it is unclear for how long will the pandemic last. In my opinion, the COVID pandemic expedited the development of remote education and eventually, it will become a cornerstone in medical education. In the time being, we have to work on overcoming this pandemic without impacting our education and most importantly staying safe.


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