The Impact of Short Intensive Care Rotation on Residents' Experience in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Mixed-Methods Study

Document Type





Objectives: To assess the impact and utility of an intensive care unit (ICU) rotation during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the need for mandatory ICU rotations in training for all clinical specialties.
Methods: A mixed methods study was conducted from January to September 2021 at the Aga Khan University Hospital, including resident doctors who rotated through COVID ICU between May and September 2020. An online survey was undertaken, followed by two focused group discussions (FGDs).
Results: Fifty-nine complete responses out of a total of 86 were analyzed. Around 42.3% (n = 25) of doctors belonged to medicine/allied specialties and 57.6% (n = 34) had previous ICU experience. Both groups, with and without prior ICU experience, found the rotation equally challenging (82.3% (n = 28) versus 84% (n = 21), P = .776) and gained similar practical skills (35.3% (n = 12) versus 16% (n = 4), P = .072), however, those with experience gained significantly more knowledge (58.5% (n = 20) versus 32% (n = 8), P = .047). On opinion regarding mandatory ICU rotation, the majority agreed to have a mandatory rotation (82% (n = 28) versus 72% (n = 18), P = .421)) with an optimal duration of 1 to 2 months. The FGDs found that all residents encouraged the idea of mandatory training in ICU which must be tailored to their training specialty and suggested extending the duration beyond 1 week to ensure learning.
Conclusions: COVID ICU rotation was a good avenue for learning and the idea of mandatory ICU training was supported. Mandating ICU rotation might theoretically enhance response to emergencies. More research is needed to understand for feasible incorporation of ICU training in the curriculum.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development