The Impact of COVID-19 on Surgical Education: A Monocentric Survey of Residents Training in Surgical Specialties

Author(s): Nicolas Tasse, Etienne Auger-Dufour


This study aims to identify the effects of the COVID-19 on surgical resident education at University Laval during first wave of the pandemic of spring 2020.


We conducted a web-based survey study to all residents training within one of the ten surgical specialties at University Laval, Quebec City. The survey focused on clinical teaching hours, appreciation of activities and novelties experienced and the impacts of virtual teaching. Descriptive statistical analysis was performed to summarize the data.


There were 48 surgical residents who responded to our survey. There were participants from ten specialties. During the pandemic the mean number of weekly teaching hours dropped from 4.31 to 3.69 hours. The most appreciated activity was teaching sessions lead by a staff surgeon. More than 80% of respondents reported having partaken in other activities at some time during an online class while over 70% expressed retaining less when material was taught online rather than in person.


Our survey provides insight for surgical programs to improve resident teaching and illustrates the necessity to optimize teaching schedules rapidly in times of pandemic. Even though the appreciation of virtual learning seems unsatisfactory by certain residents, trainees still require and appreciate teaching by their mentors.

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