The educational process of young doctors should be a topic of high interest, since it is central to preparing the new generations of healthcare providers. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the medical system on multiple levels, including medical education.
We conducted a descriptive survey study, designed to reflect the impact of the pandemic on the training of general surgery residents. Two questionnaires were delivered to general surgery residents at two different periods: one in the pre-COVID-19 era (December 2019) and one in the COVID-19 era (December 2020). Data were gathered on participants’ characteristics, current clinical practice and knowledge, extracurricular activities, and involvement in the management of COVID-19 cases.
We registered 33 responses in the pre-COVID-19 era and 45 responses in the COVID-19 era. Most participants felt that the pandemic significantly affected their training in classic and laparoscopic surgery. The number of days per week that the residents were active in the operating room and the possibility of training in laparoscopic surgery outside the hospital decreased significantly in the COVID-19 era. Most participants consider they have not gained sufficient knowledge to practice laparoscopic surgery or to assure their employment in another hospital after finishing their residency program.
The pandemic reduced the hands-on activities of general surgery residents, while training in laparoscopy was deficient both before and during the pandemic. New training methods should be sought and used in order to adapt the educational system to the current context.