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Distance Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Using Virtual Group Discussion to Teach History Taking Skills to Medical Students

Purpose: To determine an alternative to in-person history taking for second year medical students learning how to take an obstetric and gynecologic history.

COVID-19 pandemic has forced educators to find innovative ways to teach students remotely. Creation of virtual curriculums and alternatives to in-person patient interactions is vital to continued medical education.

We created a curriculum for virtual faculty-led small group of second year students. Five minute recordings of simulated patient with an Ob/gyn complaint were made. The interviews were scripted with obvious deficiencies. Students were divided into small groups of 15-17 students and each group watched a simulated patient encounter. They were then given 20 minutes to write a history. Students were also given a template and an example of an ideal Ob/Gyn history. After 20 minutes, students returned to the small group and presented virtually to the faculty facilitator. They received in-time feedback on their presentation from the faculty and their peers. They were encouraged to point out the deficiencies in the interview. At the end, they were given a survey to complete. The entire session took 2-2.5 hours per small group.

Overall the results from the survey were positive. 100% of students felt that faculty interaction helped them identify areas of history taking that need improvement. Furthermore 94% found that watching the disorganized history taking helped improve their own skills. Student comments included, “hearing feedback for each student helps me correct my own misconceptions,” “very different from prior clinical experiences..even though we were virtual, this was the most beneficial small group session we have had,” “Even when this pandemic is over, I think it was really helpful to hear everyone present the same case and gave me the chance to see other styles/perspectives that I did not get in medical school so far.”

Implementation of virtual curriculum has been essential to continued medical student education during the pandemic. We have found that these virtual sessions provide an acceptable alternative to in-person patient encounters. This exercise can also be an excellent addition to curriculums for in-person clerkships, to minimize patient encounters and reduce potential exposure to COVID-19.

Topics: CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2021, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, UME, Assessment, Virtual Patient, Team-Based Learning,

General Information

Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,
Patient Care,Medical Knowledge,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,
Assessment,Virtual Patient,Team-Based Learning,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Sarah Villarreal, Assistant Professor, UTMB; Sangeeta Jain, MD; Parin Patel, MD; Brandie Denton

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