If your program is anything like mine, you’ve got a group of students who’ve been sidelined in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, still trying to figure out how to map their careers. Perhaps they were in the midst of their clinical clerkships and haven’t yet experienced each of the core specialties, or perhaps they’ve finished those experiences and were looking to begin more advanced work in the form of sub-internships or away electives. I always have at least a handful of students at this point who are still deciding between two careers and need this time to double back to each specialty for more experience to inform their decision-making.
Last week, leadership from APPD, COMSEP and AMSPDC published a compilation of recommendations for residency programs to adopt and incorporate into their planning processes as well as for students navigating these unchartered waters. Their recommendations included loosening some of the requirements characteristic of most residency applications such as completion of sub-internships and Step 2 CK/CS prior to application, pushing back the timeline for the ERAS submission, and planning for virtual experiences like visiting rotations and residency interviews. Most importantly, they advocate that programs utilize a holistic approach to considering each applicant in recognition of the unique obstacles students face in this unprecedented time in history. If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to review the compiled recommendations, engage your UME and GME colleagues in planning dialogue, and reassure your learners that the community of medical education is there to support them.
Maribeth B. Chitkara, MD
Co-chair, APA Medical Student Education SIG
Co-leader, COMSEP Post-Clerkship Collaborative
Check out the UME During COVID webinar recording in the APA Connect App now!