PRP061: COVID-19 Clerkship Innovation: Can medical students achieve expected competencies through a partially-virtual clerkship?

Alyssa Anderson, MD; Eric Messner, PhD, FNP-BC; Jessica Parascando; Shou Ling Leong, MD; Joy Bowen, MPIA


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, medical students were removed from direct patient care at the beginning of their clerkship year. Penn State College of Medicine (PSCOM) developed a new curriculum which divides the clerkship into two parts, an indirect patient care phase and a direct patient care phase (clinical immersion). Objective: The indirect patient care phase of our Family Medicine Clerkship (FMC) will provide students with knowledge and virtual experiences that prepares them to be successful once direct patient care resumes. With clinical skills taught remotely, the goal will be to see if purposeful practice and coaching from faculty enables students to achieve the same level of competency in communication compared to prior years. Specifically how do virtual activities (virtual visits and virtual rounds) add value to training in communication? What works and what are the barriers? Study Design: Mixed methods. Setting: PSCOM. Population: Third year medical students. Intervention: Medical students will participate in an indirect patient care phase of FCM clerkship that focuses on communication, particularly patient care notes and oral presentations through purposeful practice combined with feedback and coaching. To simulate clinical learning, students will participate in virtual hospital rounds and telemedicine. Outcome measures: Qualitative data including student narratives of their experience. Specifically how did the FCM indirect sessions prepare students for in-person patient interactions, and for presenting patients orally and in writing? Faculty surveys at same points in clerkship curriculum asking how students entering virtual and in-person clinical encounters after indirect care training compare to students in past traditional clerkship models in terms of communication skills. Quantitative data: Compare grades on summative SOAP-V notes this year to previous years. Compare communication summative clinical evaluations from this year to previous years. Results: It is anticipated that the COVID-19 pandemic will likely continue to force students in and out of direct patient care. As we look for ways to address this challenge, it will be important to embrace this new curricular format that incorporates various forms of remote and virtual learning and ensure that students can meet clerkship competencies to the same degree as prior years.
Leave a Comment
Megan Mendez Miller 11/21/2020

Excellent work, team! I like how you are future-thinking in using worthwhile lessons-learned from forced alternative structure to the FMC "post-COVID". Was their assessment towards the most beneficial or best-received IPC educational activities?

Susan Veldheer 11/22/2020

Other professions are most certainly feeling this pinch too. Nursing, PA, CRNP, PT, OT... the list goes on. They are all concerned about what will happen when their students return to in person clinical rotations. Will they be ready!? Nice that you are ready to assess preparedness!

Tim Riley 11/23/2020

Tremendous value in understanding the most effective elements of adaptive medical student education during the pandemic. Well done!

Social Media


11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood, KS 66211