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The COVID 19 pandemic and its impact on the delivery of clinical education and training

On Thursday 22 October the College held the first of the series of Zoom seminars on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, exploring the consequences for the delivery of clinical education and training and the implications for future learning.

The series has been designed to examine how the experience of the pandemic has forced changes in our thinking and practice in a number of key areas, in turn affecting how our society and economy might adjust to new and still uncertain realities.

Discussion

Attendance at the meeting was drawn from across the Cambridge medical ecosystem beyond Hughes Hall membership and a number of themes were examined and discussed in breakout groups.

  • First, the use of new modes of learning and how technology may be best adapted to facilitate effective delivery.
  • Second, how the syllabus might be developed to nurture skills needed for effective remote consultation and risk assessment both at the individual and institutional level.
  • Third, assessment of trainees and the use of technology and blended partnerships in the process involving all stakeholders and how this could be more widely applied. Fourth, issues of wellbeing amongst trainees highlighted by the pandemic. This theme examined the health impacts of the pandemic on trainees. Specifically, the cultural change in the pastoral care environment experienced in the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate training and the loss of the concept of the “Firm” that nurtured mutual support. This may be related to the lack of the formal development of leadership skills in training.
  • Fourth, issues of wellbeing amongst trainees highlighted by the pandemic. This theme examined the health impacts of the pandemic on trainees. Specifically, the cultural change in the pastoral care environment experienced in the transition from undergraduate to postgraduate training and the loss of the concept of the “Firm” that nurtured mutual support. This may be related to the lack of the formal development of leadership skills in training.

Conclusions

It was concluded that some clear areas for further development have resulted from the disruption occasioned by the pandemic:

The pandemic has forced inter-professional working and learning.

This has meant the exposure of trainees to an inter-professional working environment and the new opportunities for learning that this offers; this should be worked into the curriculum.

The pandemic has heightened awareness of risk assessment as complex and multifaceted. 

The need to create teaching and learning partnerships that involve learners and service providers as well as traditional educational and regulatory institutions. 

The need of support for teaching staff in areas of educational administration and management and their own mental health.

The Speakers


Arthur Hibble, Senior Member and Tutor Hughes Hall, chair of the seminar.

(Top row: Arthur Hibble and Bill Irish. Bottom Row: Riikka Hofmann and Jackie Kelly.

Riikka Hofmann is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education where she leads the CEDiR Research group strand ‘Dialogue, Professional Change and Leadership’. She is a Fellow at Hughes Hall and her programme of research investigates professional learning and change in educational and clinical settings. She talked about the issues surrounding delivery of the set syllabus.

Jackie Kelly began her career in learning disability nursing then as a psychotherapist into higher education and currently is Dean of Health and Social Work at The University of Hertfordshire whose portfolio covers everything but the doctors.  She presented the issues around the delivery and interpretation of assessments.

Bill Irish had a clinical career as a GP and is now the Regional Postgraduate Dean for the East of England, and leads on clinical education in the region for the NHS. He is a Fellow & Tutor at Hughes Hall with academic interests in high stakes assessment and selection in medicine.  He talked about the well-being and vulnerability protection of trainees.

For more information on this series of webinars and to register for future events please visit our events listings.