Background With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the paediatric emergency department (PED) teaching was disrupted with the monthly half day education teaching mornings not taking place due to social distancing and reduced numbers of staff being allowed to be physically present on each shift. This lowered staff morale and reduced learning opportunities through the community of learners in the PED. This is particularly significant in a setting which manages a diverse range of pathologies, which has a high turnover of junior staff and where junior staff often face a steep learning curve at the start of their post, potentially posing increased clinical risk. A new teaching strategy was therefore implemented and delivered electronically in the form of a weekly 1-page newsletter.
Objectives To continue educating the staff within the PED
To maintain a positive morale within the PED team
Methods A weekly newsletter was sent out electronically to all staff within PED, it contained bitesize information on the PED topic of the week, signposting to further resources and an update on departmental news which included any new COVID-19 guidelines, local and regional training opportunities and celebrations of team-member’s achievements and contributions to the department during that week. There was also a summary of learning outcomes from the departmental weekly simulation sessions and a section on learning from a real case that had recently been seen in the department. Additionally, there was a link to a weekly quiz which was predominantly based on the topic of the week, for staff members to assess their knowledge on the topic.
The topic of the week was based on common PED presentations. The quiz was used for participant’s own self- assessment and this has been shown to be an effective learning strategy within education. Sharing real-life examples of cases and learning points from simulation allowed participants to connect with their learning by highlighting its relevance to the real-world. In addition, it provided the opportunity to safely reflect on their own practice (E.g what might they have done differently) and helped learners build across their ‘zone of proximal development’, thus giving the opportunity to develop cognitive skills and own world view.
Results Anonymised feedback was collected from a cross-section of department team members using an online survey 4 months after the intervention was started. The feedback received was that length and frequency of the newsletters was adequate, the quiz was positively received, and that team members felt that the newsletter brought a sense of comradery, despite social distancing.
Constructive feedback was given for future newsletters regarding its format to make it easier to read on mobile devices and suggestions of including notification of team-members’ birthdays and junior staff to be involved in the newsletter’s production, thus resulting in an even more inclusive construction of the newsletter.
Conclusions During the COVID-19 pandemic many areas of the department changed including teaching, however departmental learning and sense of team involvement was not diminished but rather thrived with the addition of the weekly paediatric emergency department newsletter.
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