Impact and Challenges to the Neurology Residency Training in The Medical City During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Introduction. The COVID-19 pandemic presented an extraordinary challenge to the operations of private hospitals involved in neurological residency training. Numerous adaptations were made to restructure the hospital, including the special units and diagnostic centers. Teaching and training activities were swiftly transitioned to online platforms and research activities were streamlined. Manpower allocation into teams with active duties followed by mandatory quarantine periods became the norm.
Objective. To evaluate the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the neurology training program by comparing two periods: pre-pandemic and pandemic periods.
Methods. We reviewed the changes implemented by the hospital in response to the pandemic. We also looked into our residency training program pre-pandemic and the subsequent changes instituted to adapt to the pandemic.
Results. Due to the community quarantine imposed by the government, there was a drastic drop by as much as 70.5% in the out-patient census, 38.4% in the in-patient census, and 46.9% in neurodiagnostic (electroencephalography and electrodiagnostic medicine). The residents were reorganized into three teams of 4 residents, further divided into COVID and non-COVID rotations for 5 days straight duty. Consultants were also stratified into high-risk (on-call for emergency referrals in a work-from-home scheme) and non-high-risk (COVID patient rounds). Teleconsultation was likewise utilized. Academic activities were shifted to blended online learning.
Conclusion. There was a need to reorganize resident staffing brought about by the hospital changes as well, to ensure safety during the pandemic. The pandemic has forced us to shift to alternative methods of teaching and examination, such as teleneurology. Regular assessments and adjustments to the training program will need to be done to adapt to an evolving situation.