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The effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the post graduate plans of emergency medicine residents

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Learning Objectives: Evaluate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the post graduate plans of the 2020 and 2021 graduating emergency medicine residency classes to aid in the future career guidance by emergency medicine faculty.

Background: The strict lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic had significant effects in all aspects of the economy and the healthcare industry, including a reduction in emergency department visits by 42%, according to the CDC. This decrease in volume continued throughout 2020 and 2021, causing many physician practice groups to re-evaluate their costs.

Objective: We hypothesize that the COVID-19 pandemic caused economic impacts on the class of 2020 and 2021 emergency medicine residents in a variety of ways both economically and with changes to post graduate plans to include fellowship.

Methods: We created a survey-based study of the graduating classes of emergency medicine residents of all 17 programs in Florida sent via email through the Florida CORD consortium. Inclusion criteria were that the survey respondent must be from the graduating class of 2020 or 2021. Data was collected through an anonymous online survey platform.

Results: We received a total of 33 responses, stratifying the data based on the graduating class year. In our small sample, 49% of responders indicated that COVID-19 did impact their post-graduate plans in some way. 50% of responders from the class of 2020 noted some level of reduction in their number of post-graduate shifts, with a total of 33% of responders from both classes. We found a statistically significant difference (p=0.054) in expenses reduction for the class of 2021 graduates (43% of responders) compared to the class of 2020 (8%), with a total of 33% of responders of all classes indicating a reduction. There was no significant difference regarding impact on fellowship plans.

Conclusions: There seemed to be some impact on employment opportunities and post-graduate career plans, though the degree of this impact is somewhat limited by small sample size. Similar studies need to be repeated to observe any potential generalizable trends to further aid residency program leadership in career guidance for residents.

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