Survey Shows COVID-19 is Taking a Toll on Med Students

October 30, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Engagement & Morale, Health and Wellness

Last modified November 2, 2020

According to the Medscape Medical Student & Life Education Report 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered medical students’ experience in 2020, and many believe it will affect how they practice medicine long after the pandemic subsides. COVID-19 has weighed heavily on many students, with 1 in 10 reporting they have personally known a resident, faculty member, or medical professional who died from the illness.

Only roughly half of students (45%) reported they are satisfied with how their institution is handling the pandemic. Sadly, burnout among physicians is nothing new and medical students are not immune to it. About three quarters of survey respondents said they have felt burned out at least sometimes. These feelings were more common in women than men (81% vs 68%) and among third- and fourth-year students (80% vs 77%, respectively) compared with first-year students (68%).

Nearly half of students (46%) said they considered leaving medical school at some point, including 49% of women and 41% of men. More than half (60%) said they have at least doubted their ability to be a competent practicing physician, women more so than men (64% vs 55%).

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