During the COVID-19 pandemic, most face-to-face courses were cancelled in line with government and trust guidelines reducing the risk of virus transmission and, if possible, delivered virtually. Given that this is not feasible for all courses, cancellation would have resulted in suspension of essential training for healthcare staff subsequently impacting on career progression.
We aimed to deliver Internal Medical training skills and simulations course, face-to-face with measures taken to minimize virus transmission as well as maintain good-quality teaching.
Fewer delegates per course to accommodate social distancing – infection control guidedTemperature check on registrationWearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) whilst inside the teaching centreEmail instructing to notify if exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and advise not to attendMaintain social distancing during courseIncrease ventilation of roomsCleaning of equipment after each use and encouraged regular use of hand sanitizerUse of register for track and trace purposes
Feedback forms of courses that were run pre-pandemic (2019/20) and during pandemic (2020/21) were collated and compared.
Four editions of the course were run over a period of 3 months and a total of 19 participants in 2019/2020. Four editions of the course were run over a period of 7 months with a total of 17 participants in 2020–2021. Feedback response was on a Likert scale ranging from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. For ease of comparison, Figure 1 shows ‘strongly agree’ and ‘agree’ responses only. The pre- and post-SARS-COVID-19 results from the feedback are similar across the board.
Implications for practice:
The results from the feedback forms are very similar for both courses run pre- and post-SARS-COVID-19. Free-text feedback and feedback on the day from the delegates were positive. The results suggest that the changes made to the course during the pandemic to allow for social distancing and to ensure that the courses were run COVID secure have not affected the quality of the teaching and the learning opportunities for delegates. Furthermore, written feedback showed that most candidates appreciated the opportunity to practice new skills and gain confidence and work fatigue did not dampen their motivation to learn. This highlights the importance of continuing to run face-to-face courses during the pandemic.