COVID-19 pandemic has affected all dimensions of day to day life across the world and medical education was no exception. In Qatar, two institutions provide undergraduate medical education; Qatar University - College of medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College, Qatar and post graduate medical education is provided by tertiary care public hospitals under Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) through Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education -International (ACGME-I) accredited residency and fellowship programs. With this study we aimed to understand the impact of nationwide restrictions on medical education in Qatar.
We conducted a cross sectional study utilising an online questionnaire between April and October 2020. Two questionnaires for the faculty and trainees each were designed to address the objectives. The questionnaires addressed barriers to delivery of medical education and perceptions on the models of education used.
Majority of trainees (58.5%) responded that the pandemic has adversely affected medical education at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Trainees (58.5%) and faculty (35.7%) reported an increased reliance on e-learning. Trainees preferred face to face education (33.5%) while the faculty (37.1%) preferred a combination of different models of education delivery. Although 52.5% of the faculty had no previous experience of delivering education using e-learning modalities, but 58.9% felt confident in using e-learning software.
Faculty and trainees agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the provision of medical education and training in Qatar, with an increased dependence on e-learning. As trainee’s prefer face-to-face models of education, we may have to consider restructuring of medical curricula in order to ensure that optimum learning is achieved via e-learning, while at the same time enhancing our use, knowledge and understanding of the e -learning methods as they may be an essential way of delivering education in the future.