American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons
Back to 2022 Abstracts
Meeting Student Goals in Virtual Sub-Internships: A Multi-Institutional Experience
Meera Reghunathan MD1; Paige K. Dekker BA2; Kevin G. Kim BS2; Kenneth L. Fan MD2; David A. Brown MD, PhD3; Amanda Gosman MD1; Samuel Lance MD1
1Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA 2Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC 3Department of Surgery, Division of Plastic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Background: The Coalition for Physician Accountability recommended halting all in-person away rotations for the 2020-2021 residency application cycle. In response, many institutions developed virtual alternatives to in-person rotations. In this study, we reflect on the experience of three institutions that developed virtual rotations to understand student goals for rotations, assess whether these goals were met in the virtual format, and understand successes and areas of improvement for future virtual sub-internships
Methods: Students participating in virtual sub-internships at one of three institutions were administered the same pre- and post- sub-internship surveys via Qualtrics. Curricula at each institution were independently developed and had unique and shared components (Table 1). Objectives were considered “met” if they ranked 4 or 5 on a Likert scale 1 to 5. Responses were analyzed via Fisher’s exact test and t-testing
Results: Fifty-two students (78%) completed both surveys. Prior to the start of a rotation, students’ top three objectives were to interact with residents, evaluate their fit with the program, and gain faculty mentorship (Table 1). More than 73% of students endorsed having met each of these objectives. Logistic regression revealed that students participating in rotations at Institutions 1 and 3 were significantly more likely to report having met the goal of gaining mentorship with faculty (OR 30,p=0.004;OR 72,p<0.001 respectively). Of note, these institutions offered one-on-one mentoring as part of their curricula while Institution 2 did not. Length of rotation was not a predictor of meeting any of the rotation objectives. While the majority of students (71.2%) perceived the virtual sub-internship as slightly less valuable than in-person sub-internships, all students reported that they would participate in a virtual sub-internship again
Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that while students still prefer in-person sub-internships, virtual curricula can be designed to successfully meet student goals and program recruitment efforts. In addition, virtual rotations are less financially burdensome and can enhance access to away rotations for all students, including those who are socieconomically disadvantaged. For these reasons, we would encourage residency training programs to continue offering virtual learning opportunities, even if allowed in-person activities return to a pre-COVID state.


Back to 2022 Abstracts