At certain stages of the pandemic, Flo Mouy (Cardiac Teaching Fellow, South Bristol) encountered situations where some students could attend ward rounds, whilst others were self-isolating. A pragmatic, hybrid approach entailed remote students taking a history, and those on the ward examining patients. By switching roles when self-isolation finished, students continued to benefit from the full experience. While this worked well, Flo would only repeat the approach if circumstances dictate eg another lock down. If possible, Flo would return to the in-person approach, supplemented by fully remote ward rounds. (See separate case study).
Tools: COW (Computer on wheels) microphone, Zoom or Webex.
One of the complications of the pandemic for medical education is that students often have to isolate at different times. A subsequent challenge for lecturers was how to cover the curriculum when some students were self-isolating whilst others were still in attendance. The absent students were missing lots of teaching, but teaching still needed to be provided for the students in university. Flo solved this issue by adapting her teaching to include hybrid ward rounds. The students who were present would carry out the patient examination, whilst the virtual students would take the patient’s history.
Flo found this relatively easy to set up and to implement. See Virtual ward rounds case study. Consequently, self-isolating students missed very little. The only potential issue was that if they had already attended the session and had taken the history rather than conducted the examination, then they would miss out on one of the experiences. Otherwise, the sessions were very positive for self-isolating students. Hybrid teaching benefitted students academically by keeping them up with the curriculum, but also in terms of emotional wellbeing, in helping them to feel that they were still involved with the course and their cohort during what could be a very lonely and challenging experience.
Despite the positive responses, Flo doesn’t plan to repeat the hybrid sessions. She feels that they filled a need at the time and were very much tailored for students in self-isolation. Flo would reuse this model in the same circumstances, such as another wave.