Medical student deployment to a single metropolitan hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic: A mixed methods analysis.

Publication date: Jul 11, 2023

To explore student and staff satisfaction with the use of medical students as a surge workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a mixed methods analysis of staff and student experiences with the medical student workforce at a single metropolitan ED over an 8-month period between December 2021 and July 2022, using an online survey tool. Students were invited to complete the survey fortnightly, whereas senior medical and nursing staff were invited weekly. There was a 32% response rate for surveys sent to medical student assistants (MSAs) and 18% and 15% for medical and nursing staff, respectively. Most students felt well prepared and supported in the role and would recommend it to other students. They reported that the role allowed them to gain experience and confidence within the ED, especially after much of their learning had moved online throughout the pandemic. Senior nurses and doctors found MSAs to be useful members of the team, largely through their assistance with task completion. Both staff and students recommended a more comprehensive orientation, changes to the supervision model and increased clarity in the students’ scope of practice. The results of the present study provide insight into the use of medical students as an emergency surge workforce. Responses from medical students and staff suggested that the project was beneficial for both groups as well as for overall departmental performance. These findings are likely to be translatable beyond the COVID-19 pandemic setting.

Concepts Keywords
July COVID-19
Learning emergency service
Nurses hospital
Pandemic medical students


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 pandemic
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone
disease MESH emergency

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