On March 17, 2020, the AAMC released their ‘Guidance on Medical Students’ Clinical Participation‘; please read AAMC’s position, and 2 of our affiliated physicians’s responses:
- the AAMC strongly supports our member medical schools in placing, at minimum, a two-week suspension on their medical students’ participation in any activities that involve patient contact. The rationale for and goals of this temporary suspension are summarized below:
- First and foremost, this temporary suspension will allow medical schools a window of opportunity to develop and implement appropriate programs to fully educate all their students for their return to clinical rotations with (a) up-to-date information on COVID19; and (b) appropriate steps in place to ensure their own and their patients’ safety.
- Second, this temporary suspension will contribute to the conservation of personal protective equipment (PPE) across our institutions. The full extent and likely trajectory of COVID-19 will become better understood as more widespread testing is implemented. Some localities remain relatively unaffected; however, there are currently shortages of PPE in some localities that may become acute, necessitating such resources to be pooled across institutions.
In response to the above, Dr. Mizani contacted an Internal Medicine Residency Program Director in New Jersey, and an internist in Chicago, both affiliates of AmeriClerkships, asking their opinion on if trainees should be removed from clinical rotations during COVID-19 pandemic.
The Program Director’s response was as follows:
“We’ve seen a lot of COVID cases already in our residency. Before a student or graduate decides to delay his/her upcoming rotation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and if that individual is not symptomatic (afebrile, no cough, upper respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath), and not considered at higher risk (older adults, people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease), then they should consider the following:
- At our clinic, all patients are screened by phone and if they are believed to have been exposed, they are sent to a command center to be examined; they will not be brought into our clinic;
- During inpatient rounds, my residents and I gown-up and care for the patient; trainees are not required to do so, but they can if they want to gain the experience;
- The experience gained as a result of participating in a humanitarian effort during a global pandemic like this is a once in a lifetime opportunity;
- We chose to be medical doctors exactly for moments like this.”
The Internist in Chicago stated:
“We have not had any confirmed COVID cases. We heavily screen our patients, and conduct telemedicine with those who are symptomatic. I had one student who complained of some cough and body aches, but afebrile. I sent him home to feel better, and am hoping he returns back to his rotation. And if we need to, we’ll test him, but I do not believe that students should just be stopped because of what’s going on.”