The perceived impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on medical student education and training - an international survey

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BACKGROUND: The Covid-19 pandemic led to significant changes and disruptions to medical education worldwide. We evaluated medical student perceived views on training, their experiences and changes to teaching methods during the pandemic.

METHODS: An online survey of medical students was conducted in the Autumn of 2020. An international network of collaborators facilitated participant recruitment. Students were surveyed on their perceived overall impact of Covid-19 on their training and several exposure variables. Univariate analyses and adjusted multivariable analysis were performed to determine strengths in associations.

RESULTS: A total of 1604 eligible participants from 45 countries took part in this survey and 56.3% (n = 860) of these were female. The median age was 21 (Inter Quartile Range:21-23). Nearly half (49.6%, n = 796) of medical students were in their clinical years. The majority (n = 1356, 84.5%) were residents of a low or middle income country. A total of 1305 (81.4%) participants reported that the Covid-19 pandemic had an overall negative impact on their training. On adjusted analysis, being 21 or younger, females, those reporting a decline in conventional lectures and ward based teaching were more likely to report an overall negative impact on their training (p ≤ 0.001). However, an increase in clinical responsibilities was associated with lower odds of participants reporting a negative impact on training (p < 0.001). The participant's resident nation economy and stage of training were associated with some of the participant training experiences surveyed (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: An international cohort of medical students reported an overall significant negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their undergraduate training. The efficacy of novel virtual methods of teaching to supplement traditional teaching methods warrants further research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number566
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).


  • Adult
  • COVID-19
  • Education, Medical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Students, Medical
  • Young Adult


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