Joshua T. Olson
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic brought with it a new lexicon of phrases to describe daily resident life. At our radiology residency program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, we don appropriate “personal protective equipment,” or “PPE,” for clinical encounters and at the reading station. We also practiced “distance learning” for a month, rotating between essential rotations and studying from home as our institution prepared for COVID-19. We came away with a renewed appreciation for the value of one-on-one teaching and the irreplaceable learning that comes from the patients we are humbled to serve. We understand the concept of “hyper-locality” and how our local COVID-19 environment is radically different from others.
Similarly, we have been presented with new challenges. The rescheduling of the American Board of Radiology Core Exam has necessitated multiple redesigned call schedules. With the necessity for safe distancing practices, residents have found creative strategies to collaborate and celebrate milestone personal and professional achievements. Attentiveness and flexibility in meeting the ongoing and changing educational and personal needs during this stressful time have promoted cohesiveness and trust between residents and our program’s leadership.
Integrating these adaptations will allow us to grow stronger as we look toward the post-COVID-19 resumption of a “new normal” residency environment. The Mayo Clinic’s history is one of perseverance and innovation, borne in the wake of a devastating tornado which nearly destroyed the town almost 140 years ago. Together, I am confident our residency will persevere through the present pandemic—maintaining our strong tradition of innovation to ensure a world-class training environment, prioritizing resident wellness and the old adage that “the needs of the patient come first.”
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