Medical Student Education and Residency Applications during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  1. AAEM/RSA recognizes that traditional medical education has been unrecognizably altered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cessations of clinical rotations and newly implemented travel restrictions represent new challenges to gaining necessary clinical experience. These obstacles to the traditional third and fourth year will need to be considered by residency program directors during the 2020-2021 application season. 
  2. AAEM/RSA believes that Standardized Letters of Evaluation (SLOE) requirements for residency applications need to be re-evaluated during this time. Many students are experiencing shortened third and fourth years leading to limited rotation availability. Additionally, many institutions have canceled or restricted away rotations. These extenuating circumstances should not lead to applicants being penalized for not having the traditional number of SLOEs during this application cycle. For further insight into SLOE alternatives and away rotation considerations, we recommend the Consensus Statement Regarding SLOEs and Away Rotations published on 3/13/20 by the Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine (CORD EM). 
  3. AAEM/RSA believes that clinical experiences in emergency medicine are especially vital. In situations where students are unable to complete in person clinical rotations during the COVID-19 pandemic, alternative experiences must be provided. A virtual learning platform can only teach so much, and if this continues, a generation of physicians will not fully comprehend the operations and demands on emergency departments. In addition to virtual learning, activities such as simulations of patient cases and procedure techniques should be considered as a supplement to a virtual curriculum to allow for skills teaching in emergency medicine.
  4. AAEM/RSA supports and encourages a fluid response to this shifting situation. Frequent re-evaluations of policies concerning medical students will be necessary in the upcoming months to maintain the best interest of the students who will soon become physicians themselves.  
  5. AAEM/RSA exists to support all emergency medicine residents and medical students. We understand the severity of this pandemic and the major impact it has on medical student education. We will continue to advocate for a dynamic response to emergency medicine education during this time and encourage flexibility from program directors during this unprecedented residency application season. 
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Approved: 4/10/2020