Rising to the Challenge: Developing Tools to Support Future Clinicians Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Molly Johannessen, PhD | April 1, 2020

As we all weather the transitions that are occurring in medical education during this difficult time, one thing is certain: distance learning and digital resources are necessary tools for each of us dedicated to supporting future healthcare professionals. At Kaplan, we have quickly responded to the challenges by expanding and innovating our digital learning tools in order to support your needs.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to shifts in all aspects of our lives right now—including education.  As we all learn to comply with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended precautions such as social distancing, and manage through the resulting closures of schools and clinical learning sites, educational techniques have also had to adjust to these drastic changes. Although online learning is not a new avenue for medical education, complete digital learning and support has never been fully embraced until now.  This complete shift to distance learning has catapulted digital learning tools into the spotlight at a time when supporting the education of future clinicians is critical. 

Learning resources which present  scientifically accurate and easily digestible  information on the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)—and the resulting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) itself—needed to be created quickly, to match the pace of our rapidly evolving educational and healthcare landscapes. 

Our partner, Dr. Armando, has released a visual summary of the new coronavirus pandemic, including a timeline and explanation of the spread of COVID-19, it's relationship with other coronaviruses like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), and an overview of symptoms and treatments. Dr. Armando also explains the reasons behind recommendations from WHO, CDC, and other public health organizations for social distancing and increased attention to personal hygiene to stop the spread.

BioDigital, another Kaplan partner, has released a series of 3D media animations depicting  virus structure, and both external and internal elements. These images can be used for educational purposes both labeled and unlabeled.

These, along with Kaplan’s rich suite of existing online educational resources and our Learning Science team’s library of digital classroom resources, are designed to support the continuously changing landscape of medical education and help your students stay abreast of the latest developments, while using the most effective online learning techniques available. 

In times of crisis, it is critical to support one another.  Our society will need our future healthcare professionals now more than ever to weather the fight against this devastating virus and disease. Their learning and training must continue despite the need for social distancing, so that very soon they are able to support those on the frontline of healthcare.  Together we need to continue to be creative in ensuring that students (and educators) have the resources necessary for success, and that they are supported each step of the way. In collaboration with our partners, we look to be nimble and swift in creating resources that are up-to-date, accurate, and available. We are fully committed to supporting you and your students throughout this difficult time. 

A dedicated educator who cares about student learning and helping students succeed more than anything else. Through her experiences in medical and healthcare education she is continuously trying to improve the educational experiences of future-healthcare providers by providing enhanced learning experience for all within the process. Molly has had experience as a faculty member, academic coach for student success, learning specialist and medical education specialist as well as with programs designed to increase student leadership and learning.

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