Coronavirus COVID-19

Medical students have online clinicals during COVID-19

By Nellie Leavens

When COVID-19 began spreading throughout the United States and the world, schools across the nation either canceled their classes for the rest of the semester or switched to online platforms until further notice. Many medical students are now taking what were designed to be face-to-face classes online now as a result.

Alonna Real, a senior nursing student at the University of Louisiana — Lafayette, provides details about her department’s switch to online classes and what that looks like. She said the department has always had tests online, so the major shift was now finishing this semester’s clinicals online rather than in-person.

There has been some hesitance at the idea of medical students not having those face-to-face clinicals as practice before entering medical careers. Autumn Fuson, an EMT basic in Houston, Texas, said she is concerned because those clinicals teach life-saving skills that can become life-threatening if done improperly. Fuson said while more medical personnel are needed, she worries that something could go wrong and not only could a patient lose their life, but that medical provider could be haunted with guilt for the rest of their lives.

Real said in her department every semester begins with “check-offs” for skills that are essential, such as the ones Fuson mentions, before they are allowed into the hospital for their clinicals. She said this means that even though these students aren’t given as much practice as initially planned, they have already proven to have the skillset required.

Below is the full audio interview with Real and Fuson.

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