Virtual medical student radiology clerkships during the COVID-19 pandemic: Distancing is not a barrier

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Background: Stress on medical education caused by COVID-19 has prompted medical schools to bar their students from onsite education at hospitals and clinics, limiting their educational experiences. Radiology is uniquely positioned to be a virtual rotation during this health crisis and beyond. Purpose: To implement virtual radiology clerkships and evaluate educational outcomes. Methods: We developed virtual radiology clerkships using best practices from adult education theory; empha-sizing self-directed and interactive learning through recommended reading materials, pre-recorded lectures, video conferencing, web-based learning modules from the ACR, as well as multimodality radiology resources to allow students flexibility in their individual approach to the subject matter. Results: The mean performance on standardized exams for our cohorts was 75% (range 50-96%), matching the national average of 75%. Surveys of medical students after the clerkship showed positive subjective feedback on the content and structure of the course. Conclusions: Understanding of medical imaging is vital for student doctors to have a better understanding of applied anatomy, patient care strategies, appropriate use, and image interpretation. Radiology is uniquely positioned to be taught in a virtual format, or in a combination of online and in-person activities. Standardized examination performance for our institutional virtual radiology clerkships is comparable to performance on traditional courses. Virtual clerkships designed with adult learners in mind can help student doctors prepare for residency and future independent practice as they build knowledge and skills needed to provide high quality patient care.



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