Using Technology to Maintain the Education of Residents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Robert Connor Chick, Guy Travis Clifton, Kaitlin M. Peace, Brandon W. Propper, Diane F. Hale, Adnan A. Alseidi, Timothy J. Vreeland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

640 Scopus citations


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique challenge to surgical residency programs. Due to the restrictions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations, the educational landscape for surgical residents is rapidly changing. In addition, the time course of these changes is undefined. Methods: We attempt to define the scope of the problem of maintaining surgical resident education while maintaining the safety of residents, educators, and patients. Within the basic framework of limiting in-person gatherings, postponing or canceling elective operations in hospitals, and limiting rotations between sites, we propose innovative solutions to maintain rigorous education. Results: We propose several innovative solutions including the flipped classroom model, online practice questions, teleconferencing in place of in-person lectures, involving residents in telemedicine clinics, procedural simulation, and the facilitated use of surgical videos. Although there is no substitute for hands-on learning through operative experience and direct patient care, these may be ways to mitigate the loss of learning exposure during this time. Conclusions: These innovative solutions utilizing technology may help to bridge the educational gap for surgical residents during this unprecedented circumstance. The support of national organizations may be beneficial in maintaining rigorous surgical education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-732
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • distance learning
  • flipped classroom
  • surgical videos


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