Quantifying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on orthopaedic trainees: a national perspective

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Bone Jt Open. 2020 Oct 19;1(10):645-652. doi: 10.1302/2633-1462.110.BJO-2020-0149.R1. eCollection 2020 Oct.

ABSTRACT

AIMS: We aim to objectively assess the impact of COVID-19 on mean total operative cases for all indicative procedures (as outlined by the Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST)) experienced by orthopaedic trainees in the deanery of the Republic of Ireland. Subjective experiences were reported for each trainee using questionnaires.

METHODS: During the first four weeks of the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, the objective impact of the pandemic on each trainee’s surgical caseload exposure was assessed using data from individual trainee logbook profiles in the deanery of the Republic of Ireland. Independent predictor variables included the trainee grade (ST 3 to 8), the individual trainee, the unit that the logbook was reported from, and the year in which the logbook was recorded. We used the analysis of variance (ANOVA) test to assess for any statistically significant predictor variables. The subjective experience of each trainee was captured using an electronic questionnaire.

RESULTS: The mean number of total procedures per trainee over four weeks was 36.8 (7 to 99; standard deviation (SD) 19.67) in 2018, 40.6 (6 to 81; SD 17.90) in 2019, and 18.3 (3 to 65; SD 11.70) during the pandemic of 2020 (p = 0.043). Significant reductions were noted for all elective indicative procedures, including arthroplasty (p = 0.019), osteotomy (p = 0.045), nerve decompression (p = 0.024) and arthroscopy (p = 0.024). In contrast, none of the nine indicative procedures for trauma were reduced. There was a significant inter-unit difference in the mean number of total cases (p = 0.029) and indicative cases (p = 0.0005) per trainee. We noted that 7.69% (n = 3) of trainees contracted COVID-19.

CONCLUSION: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the mean number of operative cases per trainee has been significantly reduced for four of the 13 indicative procedures, as outlined by the JCST. Reassignment of trainees to high-volume institutions in the future may be a plausible approach to mitigate significant training deficits in those trainees worst impacted by the reduction in operative exposure.

PMID:33215097 | PMC:PMC7659703 | DOI:10.1302/2633-1462.110.BJO-2020-0149.R1