Anesthesiology Training in the Time of COVID-19: Problems and Solutions

J Educ Perioper Med. 2021 Jan 1;23(1):E659. doi: 10.46374/volxxiii_issue1_streiff. eCollection Jan-Mar 2021.


From March to June of 2020, Montefiore Medical Center faced one of the most acute surges in hospital admissions and critical illness ever experienced in the United States due to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 pandemic. The pandemic had not yet spread to most of the country, and there was a relative deficit of knowledge regarding treatments, prognosis, and prevention of the virus, making this experience relatively unique and challenging. As part of a surge plan, our institution converted nonclinical spaces, such as conference rooms, to inpatient care settings and placed elective surgeries on hold to free up resources. A central deployment office suspended anesthesiology resident rotations and instead assigned them to intensive care settings based on need. For the Montefiore Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology, preserving its academic mission and commitment to Graduate Medical Education was essential. Adaptations included changing the residency rotation structure to biweekly, converting didactics online, ensuring adequate case numbers for graduating residents, actively pursuing wellness interventions, and prioritizing the safety of the residents caring for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this brief report, the authors discuss solutions devised to maintain the quality of anesthesiology resident education and training as much as possible during the COVID-19 surge.

Keywords: Anesthesiology residency; COVID-19; SARS-COV-2; curriculum design; graduate medical education; pandemic; well-being; wellness.