Objectives: The transition from face-to-face to remote teaching is yet to be fully understood. In clinical training, traditional teaching must prevail because it is essential for the acquisition of skills and professionalism. However, the responses of each school to the pandemic and the decision on when to resume clerkship rotations were mixed. In this study, we aimed to analyze whether the time to resume clerkship rotations was associated with the performance of the students by using a multi-institutional Progress Test.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted at nine different Brazilian medical schools that administer the same annual Progress Test for all students. We included information from 1,470 clerkship medical students and analyzed the time of clinical training interruption as the independent variable and the student's scores as the dependent variable.
Results: The comparisons of the students' scores between the schools showed that there are differences; however, they cannot be attributed to the time the clerkship rotations were paused. The correlation between the schools' average scores and the time to resume clerkship rotations was not significant for the fifth year (r= -0.298, p=0.436) and for the sixth year (r= -0.440, p=0.240). By using a cubic regression model, the time to resume clerkship rotations could explain 3.4% of the 5-year students' scores (p<0.001) and 0.9% of the 6-year students, without statistical difference (p=0.085).
Conclusions: The differences between the students' scores cannot be attributed to the time when the schools paused the clerkship rotations.