The COVID-19 pandemic has altered education at every level, including residency training. That fact has been evident to Sheila M. Seddon, assistant director of graduate medical education at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, throughout the pandemic. Most recently, Seddon was charged with onboarding a new class of residents through digital mediums, largely using platforms such as Zoom and WebEx rather than in-person workshops.

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“What we’ve all learned [during the pandemic] is that we can do things remotely,” Seddon said. “It’s harder when you’re a physician, but in GME, our staff and residents have proven we can still do online.”

Limits on in-person learning

Even in typical times, scheduling didactic lectures for residents is a somewhat challenging exercise, considering their schedules. With limitations being placed on the number of people who should present in many physical spaces, having resident trainees meet for lectures has been viewed as an unnecessary risk.

For programs looking for alternative options, the AMA’s GME Competency Education Program is a vehicle through which residents and residency programs can continue to meet educational objectives.

Rowan School of Medicine has, for a number of years, relied on the courses as a learning tool to aid the nearly 250 residents and fellows it trains.

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“[The GME Competency Education Program] has always been part of our curriculum, COVID or not, but It has been vital to help move residency education forward in the age of COVID,” Seddon said.

With contributions by subject-matter experts from around the country, courses in the GME Competency Education Program aim to help residents fulfill core competency requirements necessary to complete training. Fulfilling those requirements is increasingly difficult in light of present circumstances.

“The fact that it is web-based and can be done anywhere is perfect,” Seddon said. “With it being based on the core competencies, it can be hard to get that information in the regular curriculum.”

Rowan uses the platform across all phases of its graduate medical education training, including as part of the onboarding process. The program’s module on sleep deprivation is one of the first educational activities residents perform.

“It’s a key wellness area,” Seddon said. “Going from being a student to a resident where they have call and longer hours, they need to understand the value of sleep and rest to function.”

An improved user experience

In recent weeks, the more than 230 graduate medical training institutions who subscribe to the GME Competency Education Program have been introduced to a new-and-improved version of the program touting several key changes.

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  • Course updates: Content for all 33 courses has been updated to include timely and relevant case studies.
  • Ten ready-to-use GME curricula options: Based on industry trends and vetted by GME subject-matter experts and designed to reduce administrative burden.
  • Redesigned professional dashboard: Helps administrators quickly share results with leadership and accrediting bodies quickly and accurately with the click of a button.
  • Meaningful and convenient results reports: Delivered to each administrator’s inbox as often as they’d like.

To aid residency programs during the pandemic, six modules have been made available to residency institutions free of charge through year’s end. Visit the AMA GME Competency Education Program for more information on this and other offerings or to request a demo

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