The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted clinical education in all U.S. medical schools, and has created unique challenges for the field of Emergency Medicine (EM). As Emergency Departments are primary sites for COVID-related care, the capacity of teaching hospitals to provide safe and appropriate EM experiences for students has been severely limited. Public health considerations have led to travel restrictions, which reduce the ability of students to complete away rotations, and necessitate major changes in the residency application process.
The Coalition on Physician Accountability (CoPA) recently issued a statement regarding COVID-related issues faced by the medical school class of 2021. We (ACEP and nine other EM organizations) affirm our agreement with the CoPA guidelines, and offer advice on how to operationalize these within EM. In developing our recommendations, safety and equity were the guiding principles. The health of students, educators, patients, and the public is our top priority, and we do not feel that students should place themselves or their communities at risk through unnecessary exposures. We also feel strongly that the residency application process should be as equitable as possible, and aim to offer all students the best possible opportunity to succeed in their career aspirations.