Revamped ICU rotations

While their regular in-person clinical rotations had been paused until further notice, U of M Medical School students craved an opportunity to lend a hand this spring during the COVID-19 crisis.

So Department of Medicine faculty Karyn Baum, M.D., M.S.Ed., M.H.A., and Brian Hilliard, M.D., with help from fourth-year medicine-pediatrics resident Jessica Hane, M.D., found a way to continue to educate these students and use their skills to mitigate the burden facing frontline health care providers.

The group quickly put together a new curriculum for third- and fourth-year medical students — as part of their Medical Intensive Care Unit rotation — designed to remotely equip them to help clinical staff at M Health Fairview hospitals throughout the COVID-19 patient surge.

It is rewarding to know our training is helping to make a real impact in the community, even when our regular clinical rotations are on hold.

– Ryan Duff, medical student

Baum, medical lead for the system operations center, has students remotely helping with patient placement, transfers, and patient flow. Students also are reviewing charts and crafting detailed summaries for providers to review and approve, significantly reducing the amount of time caregivers are spending on paperwork.

“This unique opportunity allows us to use our medical knowledge to help triage patients to appropriate medical facilities, at a time when emergency departments can become overwhelmed,” says third-year medical student Ryan Duff. “It is rewarding to know our training is helping to make a real impact in the community, even when our regular clinical rotations are on hold.”

“It’s a completely different experience compared to being in the ICU right now, but it’s so inspiring to see how quickly people all across our health care system have moved into new roles to make patient care as safe and efficient as possible,” adds third-year medical student Zineb Alfath.

The curriculum also offers a series of self-paced activities and reading materials about COVID-19 — how the infection behaves, whom providers will test and why, and the ethics involved in establishing protocols for managing limited medical resources.  

Published on May 12, 2020

Photo: (left to right) Medicine-pediatrics resident Kevin Sullivan, M.D., with medical students Kelsey Simmons, Zineb Alfath, and Michael Berryman. (Courtesy of Brian Hilliard, M.D.)