Indian Journal of Ophthalmology

: 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 157--158

COVID-19 pandemic—testing times for post graduate medical education

Siddharth Agrawal1, Vivek Tandon2, Rajat M Srivastava1, Apjit Kaur1,  
1 Department of Ophthalmology, King Georges' Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Neurosurgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Siddharth Agrawal
Department of Ophthalmology, King Georges' Medical University, Lucknow - 226 003, Uttar Pradesh

How to cite this article:
Agrawal S, Tandon V, Srivastava RM, Kaur A. COVID-19 pandemic—testing times for post graduate medical education.Indian J Ophthalmol 2021;69:157-158

How to cite this URL:
Agrawal S, Tandon V, Srivastava RM, Kaur A. COVID-19 pandemic—testing times for post graduate medical education. Indian J Ophthalmol [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Feb 26 ];69:157-158
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

From being the mainstay of all teaching institutes, postgraduate medical education has slipped to low in priority during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID 19) pandemic.[1] It should be a cause of concern for those involved as the fixed duration of postgraduate training has always been thought to be suboptimal considering the vastness of the subjects and skills to be learned. Sincere efforts will be required to make up for the loss of time which has occurred and still continues or else we may churn out a generation of specialists with several weak links that will continue to haunt us in times ahead.

In these times, the near absence of patients has limited clinical and surgical exposure.[1],[2] Additionally the need to maintain social distancing has virtually eliminated the demonstration of clinical signs and teacher-student bedside interaction.[2] The faculty and the students have both been given additional duties in the pandemic causing significant anxiety. Attempts of online teaching are being made but they can only make up for lectures and are poor substitutes for clinical rounds.[3] Moreover, widespread usage of these tools will take time to develop.

Trying to see the silver lining we realize that for the first time the teachers and students have plenty of time to think, introspect, and innovate. Research and publications have been at an all-time high with the postgraduate students contributing significantly. The communication technology presently available in every hand was unthinkable 5 years back and additional commitment at both ends is trying to make up for lost ground. We give some recommendations based on our experience of these times and review of published literature to minimize the loss to postgraduate medical education.[4]

Attempt to complete the lecture, seminar, thesis presentations, and journal club schedules by online meetings during the period of the reduced clinical load. Collaborations between institutes are easy on online platforms and may improve the quality of teachingGive credit in internal assessment to candidates who have been posted on the frontline or have contributed actively to the pandemic managementInstitutes may consider acquiring surgical simulators for training and the industry may try to make them affordable for government setups. The government may also subsidize this training equipmentActively involve the residents on teleconsultation platforms and encourage discussion prior to advising the patientsOn resumption of work give priority to final year students in clinical work and remove work hour restrictions for a few monthsFew months prior to examination the teachers may list weaknesses in clinical knowledge and skills for individual students which may be worked uponThe flexibility of the exam schedule will be essential and regularizing the sessions may take some time. There may even be a need to increase the tenure of candidates with no financial penalization.

These are never before seen difficult times for our community. While we are showing empathy to society let us not forget our students who have been at the frontline and presently disillusioned with the choice of their careers. Let us teachers lead by example and move out of our comfort zones for maximizing their time spent on education.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Ferrel MN, Ryan JJ. The impact of COVID-19 on medical education. Cureus 2020;12:e7492.
2Liang ZC, Ooi SBS, Wang W. Pandemics and their impact on medical training: Lessons from Singapore. Acad Med 2020;95:1359-61.
3Mishra D, Nair AG, Gandhi RA, Gogate PJ, Mathur S, Bhushan P, et al. The impact of COVID-19 related lockdown on ophthalmology training programs in India-Outcomes of a survey. Indian J Ophthalmol 2020;68:999-1004.
4Scullen T, Mathkour M, Maulucci CM, Dumont AS, Bui CJ, Keen JR. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on neurosurgical residency training in new Orleans. World Neurosurg 2020;139:718-9.