Survey of Canadian urology residency programs: Perception of virtual education during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond
Keywords:COVID-19, virtual education
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many residency programs to pivot from traditional face-to-face to virtual teaching. The objective of this study was to assess the state of virtual education in Canadian urology programs and gauge interest in a national virtual curriculum.
Methods: An electronic 15-item survey was distributed to all 13 Canadian urology programs’ directors and administrative assistants for circulation to residents. Data collection took place over six weeks from September to November 2020. A mixed-methods approach was used, including descriptive statistics and an inductive thematic analysis of responses to open-ended questions.
Results: Eleven program directors and 32 residents from all four geographic areas (Atlantic, Ontario, Quebec, Western [MB, AB, BC]) responded to the survey. Overall, 95.3% of respondents indicated a role for virtual education in their program during the pandemic. Most respondents (74.4%) believe there is a significant or very significant role for a virtual national urology curriculum. All program directors indicated they are at least somewhat likely to require resident participation in such a curriculum. Most (90.6%) resident respondents indicated they believe such a curriculum will be at least somewhat important to their learning. Commonly described benefits include exposure to subspecialties, expertise at other institutions, and standardization of teaching. Commonly described barriers include difficulty with engagement, time zone differences, and lack of dedicated time for attendance.
Conclusions: During the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual education has become well-integrated in Canadian urology programs. This study highlights interest in the development of a national virtual urology curriculum and puts forth some key considerations to ensure its success.
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