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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Capturing the Perspective of Prospective Urology Applicants: Impacts of COVID-19 on Medical Education.

  • Author(s): Hanson, Kate A
  • Borofsky, Michael S
  • Hampson, Lindsay A
  • Breyer, Benjamin N
  • Kern, Nora G
  • Conti, Simon L
  • Kielb, Stephanie J
  • Sorensen, Mathew D
  • et al.


To capture the perspective of prospective urology applicants experiencing unique challenges in the context of COVID-19.


A voluntary, anonymous survey was distributed online, assessing the impact of COVID-19 on a large sample of US medical students planning to apply to urology residencies. Themes of (1) specialty discernment, (2) alterations to medical education, and (3) the residency application process were explored.


A total of 238 medical students, 87% third and fourth years, responded to the survey. While 85% indicated that the pandemic had not deterred their specialty choice, they noted substantial impacts on education, including 82% reporting decreased exposure to urology. Nearly half of students reported changes to required rotations and 35% reported changes to urology-specific rotations at their home institutions. Students shared concerns about suspending in-person experiences, including the impact on letters of recommendation (68% "very concerned) and program choice (73% "very concerned"). Looking to the possibility of virtual interactions, students identified the importance of small group and one-on-one communication with residents (83% "very important") and opportunities to learn about hospital facilities (72% "very important").


Despite the impacts of COVID-19 on medical education, prospective urology applicants appear to remain confident in their specialty choice. Students' biggest concerns involve disruption of away rotations, including impacts on obtaining letters of recommendation and choosing a residency program.

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