South Med J. 2023 Aug;116(8):690-695. doi: 10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001588.
OBJECTIVES: Inpatient rounding is a foundational component of medical education in academic hospitals. The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic disrupted traditional inpatient rounding practices. The objectives of this study were to describe how Internal Medicine inpatient team rounding changed because of COVID-19-related precautions and the effect of these changes on education during rounds.
METHODS: During February to March 2021, we conducted four virtual focus groups with medical and physician assistant students, interns, upper-level residents, and attending physicians at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas, and designed a codebook to categorize focus group commentary.
RESULTS: Focus groups revealed that students believed that certain physical-distancing measures in place early on during the pandemic were ineffective and significantly limited their ability to evaluate patients in person. Residents described increased stress levels related to potential severe acute respiratory-coronavirus 2 exposure and limited time at the bedside, which affected their confidence with clinical assessments. Rounding-team fragmentation precluded the entire team learning from all of the patients on the team's census. Loss of intrateam camaraderie impaired the development of comfortable learning environments.
CONCLUSIONS: This study evaluated Internal Medicine team member focus groups to describe how the COVID-19 pandemic affected medical education during rounds. Academic teaching programs can adapt the findings from this study to address and prevent pandemic-related gaps in medical education during rounds now and during future potential disruptions to medical education.