The influence of the COVID-19 outbreak on European trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology: A survey of the impact on training and trainee – DocWire…

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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2021 Apr 10;261:52-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2021.04.005. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to evaluate how the obstetrics and gynaecology residency program and trainees have been affected by the Corona Virus Disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic in Europe.

STUDY DESIGN: This study is a cross-sectional explorative survey using an online questionnaire. The questionnaire comprised of 40 questions that were subdivided into 4 subjects; workload, specialist training aspects in obstetrics and gynaecology, health and safety of the trainee and womens health and maternal health issues. Inclusion criteria consisted of being a trainee in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ObGyn) at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe or trainees who had recently finished their training during the time of the outbreak. Taking part in the survey was voluntary. The questionnaire was shared on the website of the European Network for Trainees in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ENTOG), ENTOG social media, in the ENTOG-newsletter and through the national representatives of ENTOG.

RESULTS: 110 ObGyn trainees from 25 different countries responded to the questionnaire. Almost all trainees (95 %, N = 105) reported an effect on their training due to COVID-19 pandemic. Training was interrupted in 21 % of cases (n = 23). Trainees observed a decrease in educational activities or lectures and a decrease in number of patients. The possibility of training surgical skills decreased, because 67 % (N = 74) trainees reported that surgeries were cancelled. Trainees expressed concerns about reaching the goals of their ObGyn specialist training in 60 % (n = 66) of cases. A decrease in workload was experienced during the first COVID-19 wave in Europe by 60 % (n = 66) of trainees. On average these trainees worked 33 % less hours compared to a normal workweek. Although 22 % (n = 24) were expected to be available continuously for 24 h a day and 7 days a week for unscheduled duties, 15 % (n = 16) were deployed to work on special COVID-units. Concerning preparation, 45 % of the trainees (n = 50) had not received any training for treating COVID-positive patients. Trainees claimed to have enough personal protective equipment (PPE), although problems were reported. Any form of psychosocial support was arranged for 65 % of trainees (n = 71) by the hospital or department. The results of the survey suggest that obstetric care was not affected much (92 % (n = 102) of the respondents said at least necessary care continued) while patients in need for reproductive medicine were affected the most; out of the 110 departments 58 % (n = 60) were closed and 35 % (n = 36) reduced their activities. Access to family planning and benign gynaecology were also significantly reduced; 77 % and 87 % respectively of the departments were less accessible or only open to emergency cases.

CONCLUSION: COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect on the ObGyn training in Europe. Exposure to learning opportunities, surgeries and teaching has been decreased during the outbreak and may result in a decrease in quality of care provided to women in the future if impairment of training is not recovered.

PMID:33892209 | DOI:10.1016/j.ejogrb.2021.04.005

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