Coping With COVID-19

Am J Clin Pathol. 2020 Sep 2;aqaa152. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/aqaa152. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: The first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case in the United States was reported in Washington State. The pandemic caused drastic disruptions to medical institutions, including medical education. The Department of Laboratory Medicine at the University of Washington responded by rapidly implementing substantial changes to medical student clerkships.

Methods: In real time, we converted one ongoing case- and didactic-based course, LabM 685, to remote learning.

Results: Fifteen of 17 scheduled sessions proceeded as planned, including two sessions for student presentations. Two didactics were canceled as the functions of the teleconferencing platform were not sufficient to proceed. One grand rounds speaker canceled due to COVID-19 precautions. Elements of an immersive clinical laboratory clerkship, LabM 680, were repurposed to accommodate 40 medical students per class via remote learning, highlighting clinical laboratory activities that continue throughout the outbreak. A new remote clerkship, MedSci 585C, was developed incorporating distance learning and guided small-group sessions. This coincided with parallel efforts to make resident and fellow service work, conferences, and didactics available remotely to comply with social distancing.

Conclusions: The changes in medical education described reflect the dynamic interplay of current events affecting the world of clinical pathology. Throughout this, technology-while with some limitations-has provided the platform for innovative learning.

Keywords: COVID-19; Clinical pathology; Coronavirus; Laboratory medicine; Medical student education; SARS-CoV-2.