The COVID-19 pandemic meant that lots of systems had to change to maintain safety, and at the same time keep moving forward with patient care and our training requirements. One of these changes was shifting our traditional face-to-face Clinical Teaching Visits (CTVs), to the remote online format.
I am a GPT3 registrar and work at an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (ACCHS). I have had several face-to-face CTVs throughout my training time so far, however my first remote CTV was in 2020. My remote CTV was a very successful experience. I found that the patients were very receptive to CTVs. I asked for their permission and no one refused (so far). Some have even mentioned that the CTVs made them appreciate the professionalism and importance of their medical appointments and increases their trust in the health system. Our impression (both mine and the patients’) was that remote CTV is less intrusive than having a third person in the room observing. In remote CTVs we could essentially forget that we were being observed during the consultation- hence ‘real selves’ shine through. Also, the remote CTV can be easier to organise, especially when you are being observed by a senior doctor from a faraway town.
On the other hand, and perhaps I’m old fashioned, but I enjoyed face-to-face CTVs as I found the process more interactive, at least at our work place. Having said that my remote CTV experience was great – it was safe, effective, and educational. My CT visitor observed me through face-to-face consults, phone consults (where my patient was on loud speaker), and even conducting a Random Case Analysis (RCA) (through screen sharing). However, as in any computer-based teaching, interruptions in the network can happen especially in remote areas, but we had a back-up plan to call on the mobile when that occurred.
At the end of the CTV we had time to discuss the cases we had reviewed together. CTVs in general are a unique opportunity to learn more about yourself as a doctor and reflect on what you do. My CT visitor observed me and gave me kind and positive feedback. The constructive feedback you get helps you build on your skills and focus on the areas you need to improve. Feedback is vital for ongoing development. I am so grateful we didn’t miss out on this opportunity as a result of the global pandemic.
Dr Nada Abu Alrub | GPT3 New England/Northwest