No one can deny that 2020 was a year of change. I think it opened a clean canvas for us to reflect on the way we did daily activities previously and how they can become more efficient while maintaining safety during the pandemic.
Online teaching was definitely challenging for everyone at first. In the last two years, RCSI quickly achieved a delicate balance between online and on-site teaching. While many other medical students were pulled out of wards, it was very noticeable how much RCSI advocated for us to stay on the wards for as long as possible to help us become more competent physicians. Whenever this was not possible, there was a quick and smooth transition to online teaching.
Moreover, when students were not allowed on the wards but on-campus teaching with surface models was allowed, RCSI took full advantage to help us maintain and develop our clinical skills. This was done through innovative ideas like simulated ward rounds, emergency simulations, OSCE practice stations, procedural skills practice and constructive critique of previously video-recorded histories performed by one of our colleagues.
Now that I reflect on the new style of teaching, I find that I’ve received broad exposure to scenarios and cases that are common and extremely important. Previously, you were attached to a single team and mostly saw patients under that specific specialty. But now, with simulated ward rounds, simulated emergencies and intensive online teaching, we are frequently exposed to common cases across all disciplines, while affording the luxury of still having a hands-on experience.
This allows us to approach cases autonomously, make mistakes and learn from them. I found this to be very useful to help me become more confident with my own clinical reasoning and skills. Overall, I found RCSI to be quite flexible and it adjusted quickly to the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Aser Labib, 5th Year Medicine