June 1, 2020 / Lydia Coutré
In mid-March, nursing and medical students’ clinical experiences with direct patient care were quickly put on hold, leaving schools scrambling to find new ways to continue to train medical professionals.
They got creative, expanding virtual options for classroom learning and finding other, safer experiences for students, including helping to answer COVID-19 hotline calls or consulting with patients via video or phone call.
“The decision to remove medical students from the hospital was a difficult and painful one,” said Steven Ricanati, interim vice dean of medical education and associate dean for student affairs at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
But university and hospital leaders agree that pausing these experiences was the right call for everyone’s safety. The schools wanted to ensure there were appropriate patients for their students to work with, safety guidelines in place and a sufficient supply of personal protective equipment so students could learn without depleting hospitals’ PPE resources or their faculty’s attention, Ricanati said.
Now that the economy is reopening, the anticipated dramatic surge didn’t happen and all have had time to put appropriate safety measures in place, many nursing and medical students will return to clinical sites Monday, June 1.