ARRS 2022 Abstracts


E1940. Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Medical Student Education and Specialty Choice
  1. Vishaal Gudla; Cooper University Hospital
  2. Ankit Mohla; Cooper University Hospital
  3. Titilope Aluko; Cooper University Hospital
  4. Sabina Amin; Cooper University Hospital
Medical student education has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lectures, small group sessions, and didactic training transitioned entirely to online platforms. Clinical activities were also halted for all medical students after the AAMC recommended all medical students should avoid direct patient care. This particularly limits clerkship level students who have a finite number of clinical opportunities and rotations in an already compacted medical training system. Moreover, the anticipated restrictions on away rotations for sub-internships further limits medical students' experience and opportunities. In light of these events, medical students have expressed increasing uncertainty about their medical specialty considerations. The purpose of this survey-based study is to gauge the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical students’ specialty choice and clinical education.

Materials and Methods:
This is a single institution survey-based study conducted among medical students of all years. Multiple choice and free response answers were provided. Data were processed by the statistics department. Responses were reviewed by authors.

Thirty-eight medical students responded to the survey. The most popular specialty prior to the pandemic was internal medicine (21.05%). Internal medicine remained the most popular after the pandemic (18.42%). Most respondents (66%) stated their decision has not changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; 18% stated that reduced clerkships and inability to perform away rotations affected their specialty decision; 45% stated that virtual interviews will negatively impact their chances at obtaining a residency position. Twenty-nine (70%) respondents believed the changes implemented during the pandemic have decreased the quality of their clinical education.

Medical students generally did not feel that the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on their choice of medical specialty. Students believe their clinical education and residency readiness was significantly hampered by the limited in-person clinical experience received during the pandemic. Students believed the virtual interview format will negatively impact their ability to obtain a residency position. This is particularly important as we enter the next interview cycle and decide which format to pursue. The study is limited due to it being conducted at a single institution with limited responses.