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LETTERS TO EDITOR
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 170-171
 

Sustaining academics during the COVID-19 pandemic


Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India

Date of Submission21-Aug-2020
Date of Decision24-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance26-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication19-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Swati Chhabra
Department of Anaesthesiology and Critical Care, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/TheIAForum.TheIAForum_131_20

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How to cite this article:
Chhabra S, Kamal M, Chhabra D, Agha M. Sustaining academics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian Anaesth Forum 2020;21:170-1

How to cite this URL:
Chhabra S, Kamal M, Chhabra D, Agha M. Sustaining academics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indian Anaesth Forum [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Oct 24];21:170-1. Available from: http://www.theiaforum.org/text.asp?2020/21/2/170/295319




Sir,

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected the training in anesthesiology in multiple ways.[1] Various other specialties have carved out ways to further their training in such turbulent times.[2],[3],[4] We wish to share our experience in sustaining the education through the initial few months of the pandemic with a feedback-based analysis of its impact.

With a nationwide lockdown imposed in India toward the end of March 2020, the elective surgeries and outpatient departments were suspended in our institute. The postgraduate (PG) classroom teaching was suspended as well to comply with the social distancing norms. With the anesthesiologists being at the frontlines, the areas of work were expanded to COVID suspect intensive care unit (ICU), COVID ICU in addition to non-COVID ICU and emergency operating rooms. At this time, many organizations across the globe were conducting webinars to discuss various aspects related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in this “infodemic” arose the need to resume the teaching program of the Anaesthesiology PG students as per the preexisting curriculum on an online platform. The choice of the online platform was left to the PG students and they chose Skype for the presentation followed by WhatsApp group-based discussion. Seminars, case presentations and journal clubs were held in this manner Monday to Saturday. A PowerPoint file was shared on the WhatsApp group a day prior to the online seminar and a discussion was also done on the same group. This helped the students working in COVID-19 areas or in the quarantine facilities to follow the topics at their convenience. About 2 months later a Google Forms based feedback was obtained to study the impact of the online classes and to know the scope of improvement [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Feedback form (circulated as Google forms)

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Twenty-four anonymous responses were received out of 32 residents in the department with a response rate of 75%. Fifty percent responded that the online classes were more effective than the classroom sessions, 16.7% found them to be equally effective and 33.3% found the online classes to be less effective than the classroom sessions. Eighteen respondents (75%) felt more confident while presenting on an online platform and one respondent (4.2%) was more confident with classroom presentation while the rest five respondents (20.8%) found no difference in the confidence levels while presenting on the two platforms. The attentiveness in classroom sessions was better as reported by 14 respondents (58.3%). Fourteen respondents (58.3%) found the online classes to be better platform for discussion than the classroom. This might be due to the reason that classroom sessions used to be of fixed duration of 1 h, immediately followed by duty in operating rooms, which limited the time dedicated to discussion. However, on an online platform, the discussion continued for as long as the topic demanded. Eighteen respondents (75%) found the choice of the platforms to be the best option for PG curriculum during COVID-19 pandemic, while five (20.8%) responded that classroom sessions should be resumed with social distancing and one of the respondents (4.2%) felt that self-study would have been better in these times. Technical issues were faced very often, often, occasionally and rarely by 8.3%, 16.7%, 45.8%, and 29.2% of the respondents. Regarding improvement in the online classes, the respondents wanted less frequent classes with smaller topics as compared to the classroom sessions. This might be due to the limited attentiveness or the overwhelming clinical duties.

So far, the feedback has been encouraging with a majority of the students preferring online classes when weighed with no classes at all due to the pandemic. However, this methodology would have limitations once the elective surgeries resume since that might mean lesser number of students being able to join the online classes. The quest for education will find a new way in that scenario as well as it has now in the current stage of the pandemic.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Anwar A, Seger C, Tollefson A, Diachun CA, Tanaka P, Umar S. Medical education in the COVID-19 era: Impact on anesthesiology trainees. J Clin Anesth 2020;66:109949.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Daodu O, Panda N, Lopushinsky S, Varghese TK Jr, Brindle M. COVID-19-Considerations and implications for surgical learners. Ann Surg 2020;272:e22-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Chong A, Kagetsu NJ, Yen A, Cooke EA. Radiology residency preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Acad Radiol 2020;27:856-61.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Alvin MD, George E, Deng F, Warhadpande S, Lee SI. The impact of COVID-19 on radiology trainees. Radiology 2020;292:246-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    


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