Local medical student reflects on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 11:23 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Local doctors have been working double duty to keep the public safe during the pandemic.

But what’s the impact on our future doctors? Like everything, the pandemic forced medical schools to adapt and change the way they did education.

We spoke to staff and a student at the Medical College of Georgia who tell us what the last two years have been like for our future health care leaders.

Amanda Delgado was in her first year of medical school when COVID-19 began, and she is now a third-year student.

“Not only was it shocking, but we also had to adjust very quickly. We were told, on a Friday afternoon, that we would not be returning, and all our classes would be virtual,” she said.

Anatomy is one class, for example.

“It was very overwhelming to think about how some of these hands-on experiences translated into an online curriculum,” said Delgado.

The school had to make classes virtual and introduce new classes about the pandemic.

Dr. Douglas Miller, vice dean of academic affairs at MCG, said: “The protection of the students and their introduction into patients and continued clinical learning had to be balanced. Every step of the way, we had to take little steps towards reintroducing them into a clinical learning environment.”

Students did get to be hands-on again, but it wasn’t without a cost.

“The typical student going through that phase of their training in that time probably lost two to three months of clinical experience. We then had to account for once things opened up again so that by the time they graduated, they were well qualified and competent to go out and practice,” he said.

Miller says the adversity taught them skills you can’t learn from a textbook. He says he anticipates things will return to a pre-pandemic normal as we get closer to endemic status or where COVID becomes similar to the flu, however, he does not think we are there.

Delgado said: “I hope that I can take a lot of lessons I learned at the beginning of the pandemic, and take with me to the end of my medical school career.”

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