Surgical training during the COVID-19 pandemic – a single institution’s trainee survey

Keywords: COVID-19, education, medical, graduate, specialties, surgical

Abstract

Background: Few studies have assessed the impact of COVID-19 on surgical training in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of this study was to survey the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on postgraduate surgical training, research and registrar wellbeing in South Africa.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted as an online survey from 5 October 2020 to 1 December 2020. The study population was registrars from all surgical disciplines at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of Stellenbosch University. The survey consisted of 26 multiple-choice and five open-ended qualitative questions on the impact of COVID-19 on physical and mental wellbeing, skills acquisition and postgraduate research.

Results: Of 98 surgical registrars, 35 (36%) responded. Twenty-three (65.7%) reported missed planned surgical rotations, 30 (85.7%) decreased surgical training time, and 22 (62.9%) reported a perceived decrease in training quality. Simulated skills training was only available to eight (22.9%) participants. Twenty-four (68.6%) experienced burnout and/or depression symptoms during the pandemic. Twenty-seven (77.1%) reported that postgraduate research was unaffected by the pandemic.

Conclusion: During the COVID-19 pandemic, surgical trainees at this institution reported a decrease in the quality of surgical training and skills acquisition and a negative impact on their mental wellbeing.

Author Biographies

R Botha, Stellenbosch University

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

J H Cardoso, Stellenbosch University

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

A Lombard, Stellenbosch University

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

V Vermeulen, Stellenbosch University

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

T R Forgan, Stellenbosch University

Division of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, South Africa

S Al-Benna, Stellenbosch University

Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, South Africa

K M Chu, Stellenbosch University

Centre for Global Surgery, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Published
2022-04-10
How to Cite
Botha, R., Cardoso, J., Lombard, A., Vermeulen, V., Forgan, T., Al-Benna, S., & Chu, K. (2022). Surgical training during the COVID-19 pandemic – a single institution’s trainee survey. South African Journal of Surgery, 60(1), 40-43. Retrieved from http://sajs.redbricklibrary.com/index.php/sajs/article/view/3604
Section
Surveys