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Pediatric Emergency Medicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Last Updated: April 30, 2020


During the pandemic of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), students at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GWU SMHS) were not permitted in the Emergency Department. We created the following curriculum to allow our medical students to complete their four-week pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) learning objectives while being removed from the clinical environment. 

  • Our students underwent a "boot camp" along with the medical students enrolled in general emergency medicine. This four-day series consisted of their usual didactics, small group discussions, and simulations, now converted into an online format. These sessions are not included as part of this resource. 
  • Our students were instructed to complete a series of online cases (Aquifer cases, EKG modules, and New England Journal of Medicine Videos in Clinical Medicine) and attend didactic sessions to meet their learning objectives. 
  • Our students met with us for a virtual discussion session every Friday to discuss what they had learned, what surprised them, and what questions they had based on their asynchronous learning sessions that week. Best practices included having video on for all participants and requiring at least two comments or contributions per session. 
  • Our students had three graded assignments; the rubrics are included as part of this online resource: a) the write-up of a clinical note based on a patient "encounter" from an Aquifer case, b) the write-up of a journal article critiquing an emergency department order set, and c) the case-based presentation of a topic in pediatric emergency medicine based on a patient "encounter" from an Aquifer case. 
  • Our students took a pediatric emergency medicine exam, and answers that were commonly missed were reviewed at the virtual discussion session on the last Friday. This exam is not included as part of this resource.


Xian Zhao, MD, Children's National Hospital (szhao@childrensnational.org)
Katie Donnelly, MD, Children's National Hospital