A Phenomenological Study of Postgraduate Medical Trainees’ Incidental Learning Experiences and Psychological Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

A Phenomenological Study of Postgraduate Medical Trainees’ Incidental Learning Experiences and Psychological Well-Being During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Publication date: Feb 01, 2024

During the COVID-19 pandemic, postgraduate medical trainees contributed significantly to the healthcare workforce, as multiple vulnerabilities in the healthcare system and medical training were expounded. The burden of training, learning, and working at this time introduced unique psychological and emotional stressors within a context of generalized volatility and radically different ways to work and learn. This study explored postgraduate trainees’ experiences with coping, managing, and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a phenomenological approach, semistructured interviews were conducted with an intradisciplinary sample (n = 8) of postgraduate trainees in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, between May and October 2022. Five researchers performed inductive and deductive thematic analysis to develop a coding structure and identify common themes. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the use of restrictive public health measures and an unprecedented shift from in-person to virtual learning. This affected trainees’ exposure to normalized learning experiences, training rotations, and opportunities to learn from peers and staff. Certainly, trainees reported that virtual learning improved their educational experiences in unique ways, increased engagement and attendance, and enabled regular meetings and learning when in-person options were unavailable. Trainees also reported enhanced self-directed learning skills, greater ownership of and leadership in their education, and increased confidence and experience with virtual care. Some also reported a perceived increase in elements of emotional intelligence (e. g., self-awareness, empathy, and compassion). Trainees reported a variety of incidental learning experiences from working and training during COVID-19. Although some experiences were challenging, there was a perception that such experiences led to new learnings that were beneficial to one’s professional development and future career, as well as implications for future training provided to trainees. While there was a reported shift in the culture surrounding postgraduate trainees’ health and safety, respondents also described the need for additional support for postgraduate trainees’ well-being during a pandemic.

Concepts Keywords
Canada covid-19
Deductive graduate medical education
Healthcare interviews
Interviews learning
October psychological well-being
qualitative

Semantics

Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
disease VO time
disease VO Canada
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone

Original Article

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