gms | German Medical Science

Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

16.-17.09.2021, Zürich, Schweiz (virtuell)

Medical student’s attitudes towards the COVID-19 pandemics impact on key aspects of medical education and their future as medical professionals

Meeting Abstract

  • presenting/speaker Verena Steiner-Hofbauer - Medizinische Universität Wien, Research Unit für Curriculumentwicklung, Wien, Österreich
  • Julia Grundnig - Medizinische Universität Wien, Research Unit für Curriculumentwicklung, Wien, Österreich
  • Anita Holzinger - Medizinische Universität Wien, Research Unit für Curriculumentwicklung, Wien, Österreich

Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA). Zürich, Schweiz, 16.-17.09.2021. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2021. DocP156

doi: 10.3205/21gma351, urn:nbn:de:0183-21gma3514

Published: September 15, 2021

© 2021 Steiner-Hofbauer et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in early 2020. For most people in developed countries it is the first health crises ever experienced. It influenced and still influences not only our private life due to social distancing, lock downs and curfews it also impacts medical education worldwide [1]. Universities were forced to switch rapidly to online teaching and assessment [2]. It also places a spotlight on the challenges for future medical workforce [2]: Personal safety [3], telehealth literacy [1] ethical aspects in pandemic planning like triage or elective surgery, as well as the importance and impact of medical research for test and treatment methods or vaccine. The key aspects are well known but research on the attitudes and feelings of medical students toward this topics is lacking. The main aim of this study is to shed light on the following questions:

  • How do medical students feel about research, ethics, infection risk, patient care and telemedicine in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Do medical students feel prepared for a medical crisis like this by their education?
  • How do students feel about distance learning and social distancing?
  • How has the pandemic changed their image of medical profession?

Methods: Based on the literature we developed a questionnaire that includes the topics: research, ethics, safety, patient care, telemedicine and distance learning. It comprises of closed questions using a 5-point Likert scale as well as an open answer section for the question about the occupational image. The questions concern general attitudinal aspects as well as specific aspects of education at the Medical University of Vienna.

Descriptive analysis and group comparisons of the quantitative data. Analysis of the qualitative data following the qualitative content analysis of Mayring.

Results: Eight hundred and seventy-two students participated in this study. The questionnaire was online from December 1st 2020 until the end of January 2021.

The data will provide an overview of medical students’ attitudes towards key aspects of medical education in the face of the pandemic. The qualitative analysis of the open answer section will show the thoughts of students towards the pandemics influence on the image of medical profession. Has COVID-19 changed how students think about their future within the medical workforce, their choice of medicine as a profession?


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