Keeping Our Trainees Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our Department has been very aggressive in its attempts to keep all Radiology residents, as well as all other Radiology staff, including fellows, faculty members, physician assistants, technologists, nurses, and clerical staff as safe as possible during the spring surge of COVID-19 patients.

In March of this year, the University of Michigan Radiology Department took the lead in facilitating appropriate physical distancing of residents from other Departmental staff from one another as soon as it became apparent that there were COVID-19 patients in the state. This began more than one week prior to the state announced stay at home order. A decision was made to reduce the resident footprint to as great an extent as possible during this crisis.  While this admittedly represented a reduction in on-site teaching, the Department believes that the health and safety of its trainees is of paramount importance. 

Residents were encouraged to learn from home during this time period. The two daily 45-minute noon teaching conferences were maintained, but given remotely.  The vast majority of the 60-minute subspecialty conferences and tumor board conferences were also given, but changed to being virtual, as well. 

Now that the surge has waned, the Department is transitioning gradually back to more on-site patient care and teaching; however, it is understood that should there be another surge or two, previously taken steps may have to be repeated. Additionally, it is understood that until such a time as there is a vaccine or until herd immunity is established, the Department will have to modify its behavior even when staffing is closer to normal. Surgical masks will continue to be worn by all health care providers on a daily basis. Distances between residents and faculty members will be maximized as much as possible (while still allowing for appropriate teaching). Many conferences will continue to be given remotely.

The Department remains as committed as ever to teaching and training the exceptional radiologists of the future; however, it is our firm commitment to do so in a way that does not jeopardize the physical or emotional well-being of any of its trainees or of any other Departmental members.