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Engaging Medical Students During Covid-19 – Challenges and Novel Opportunities for Clinical Training


M. R. Mohideen

IMU Clinical Campus, 6, Jalan Indah, Taman Sri Kenangan, 83000, Batu Pahat, Johor, MY
About M. R.
Department of Internal Medicine
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Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted undergraduate clinical training in an unprecedented manner. With face-face student-patient interaction severely curtailed and hands-on training limited, the pandemic has upended experiential learning in a major way.


Methods: The aim of this review was to examine the challenges faced and actions taken by medical schools and explore opportunities to overcome the loss of clinical training due to constrains by the public health measures to the COVID-19 crisis. The relevant literature was searched in PubMed, and Google Scholar using specific keywords, e.g., “COVID-19 “medical education,” “challenges,” and “opportunities.”


Results: Four themes were explored; initial response, mitigation measures, innovative solutions and future plans. Halting undergraduate clinical training was widespread except in a few countries where student’s graduation was fast-tracked to serve the national healthcare workforce or assigned to nonclinical work. The loss of experiential learning was replaced by successfully transitioning to emergency remote online teaching through lectures, videos, quizzes and webinars. These are perceived as stopgap measures and falls short of replacing the authentic face to face learning in a clinical environment. Several innovative immersive methods were showcased using telehealth and virtual reality technologies and found to be useful and meaningful solutions to the loss of clinical interactions in the circumstances. Although these are attractive technological solutions, it is unlikely to be adopted in low resource setting until cost and training issues are resolved. Future plans will need to take the new-normal post covid environment into consideration and embrace the emergent technology to mitigate against further disruption.


Conclusions: Significant widespread disruption to medical education has impacted clinical learning and delayed graduation. The rapid institutional response has mitigated the impact and kept students educationally engaged. The pandemic has highlighted that the immersive clinical experience in wards and interactive small group sessions are not easily replaceable. The challenge is to develop an innovative post-COVID medical education plan that will ensure a continuity in learning with academic competency.
How to Cite: Mohideen, M.R., 2020. Engaging Medical Students During Covid-19 – Challenges and Novel Opportunities for Clinical Training. South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education, 14(2), pp.23–30. DOI:
Published on 31 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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