The COVID-19 pandemic began to impact our program (Rochester, MN) in mid-March, requiring rapid and near constant changes to the entire curriculum. Our chief residents divided us into teams—with one team responsible for call coverage and mandatory rotations, and others on back-up and remote learning. Our program organized daily case-based teaching sessions with staff and distance curricula. This time felt eerily reminiscent of the first two years of medical school, due to being somewhat removed from significant clinical duties! Regular communication with program leadership and co-residents helped alleviate a lot of the stress brought forth by COVID-19.
Around mid-May, we began transitioning back into clinical rotations. Although it is terrific to be back in the reading rooms, it is clear that we’re in a “new normal” for at least the immediate future. The number of people in attendance at noon conference is limited to accommodate social distancing, with many residents watching remotely. Masks, face shields, and meticulous sanitation have become a ritual.
The month of July has been uniquely different because our new first-year residents just started. They would usually interact with the upperclassmen and staff through informal gatherings and welcome parties outside of work. However, because of institutional COVID-19 precautions, social opportunities to welcome them have been limited.
Now is a memorable and unique time to be a radiology resident, as we have faced many challenges. I am eager to resume pre-COVID traditions and social activities with a new appreciation for my residency’s supportive learning environment.
The opinions expressed in InPractice magazine are those of the author(s); they do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or position of the editors, reviewers, or publisher.