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Title

Medical students' perceptions and coping strategies during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic: studies, clinical implication, and professional identity

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Published in BMC medical education. 2021, vol. 21, no. 1, 620
Abstract

Background: The unfolding of the COVID-19 pandemic during spring 2020 has disrupted medical education worldwide. The University of Geneva decided to shift on-site classwork to online learning; many exams were transformed from summative to formative evaluations and most clinical activities were suspended. We aimed to investigate the perceived impact of those adaptations by the students at the Faculty of Medicine.

Methods: We sent an online self-administered survey to medical students from years 2 to 6 of the University of Geneva, three months after the beginning of the pandemic. The survey explored students' main activities during the first three months of the pandemic, the impact of the crisis on their personal life, on their training and on their professional identity, the level of stress they experienced and which coping strategies they developed. The survey consisted of open-ended and closed questions and was administered in French.

Results: A total of 58.8% of students responded ( n  = 467) and were homogeneously distributed across gender. At the time of the survey, two thirds of the participants were involved in COVID-19-related activities; 72.5% voluntarily participated, mainly fueled by a desire to help and feel useful. Many participants (58.8%) reported a feeling of isolation encountered since the start of the pandemic. Main coping strategies reported were physical activity and increased telecommunications with their loved ones. Most students described a negative impact of the imposed restrictions on their training, reporting decreased motivation and concentration in an unusual or distraction-prone study environment at home and missing interactions with peers and teachers. Students recruited to help at the hospital in the context of increasing staff needs reported a positive impact due to the enriched clinical exposure. Perceived stress levels were manageable across the surveyed population. If changed, the crisis had a largely positive impact on students' professional identity; most highlighted the importance of the health care profession for society and confirmed their career choice.

Conclusion: Through this comprehensive picture, our study describes the perceived impact of the pandemic on University of Geneva medical students, their training and their professional identity three months after the start of the pandemic. These results allowed us to gain valuable insight that reinforced the relevance of assessing the evolution of the situation in the long run and the importance of developing institutional support tools for medical students throughout their studies.

Keywords Adaptation, PsychologicalCOVID-19HumansPandemicsSARS-CoV-2Students, Medical
Identifiers
PMID: 34915888
PMCID: PMC8674407
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Other version: https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12909-021-03053-4
Structures
Research groups Acquisition de l'expertise médicale (662)
Raisonnement clinique et contextes de soin (1018)
Etiologie des pneumonies et marqueurs inflammatoires chez l'enfant fébrile (183)
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(ISO format)
WURTH, Sophie Marie Marthe et al. Medical students' perceptions and coping strategies during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic: studies, clinical implication, and professional identity. In: BMC medical education, 2021, vol. 21, n° 1, p. 620. doi: 10.1186/s12909-021-03053-4 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:157848

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Deposited on : 2022-01-11

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