Name: Natasha Rhoda
Course: PD4016W - Neonatology 
Faculty: Health Sciences
Level: Undergraduate
Category: Holding pattern/Difficulties
One sentence summary: The course was overhauled prior to ERT. One aspect of assessment affected during COVID was the in-course ward rounds and patient-bedside cases. These were replaced by paper-based cases focusing on four core pathologies commonly seen in neonatology.

Context:  The neonatal course is an 8-week component of the perinatal block of obstetrics. Pre-COVID, the course assessments included in-course ward rounds (30%), patient-bedside cases (10%), MCQs (40%), OSCE paper stations (20%), and informal “coffee-meets”.  In October 2019, the entire curriculum was overhauled, including assessments (moving it to an online/blended format, to refocus on core curriculum/be aligned, more valid assessments, creating narrated PPTs, etc.). Hence only one aspect of the course assessment had to be changed in ERT.  The in-course ward-rounds and patient-bedside cases had to be removed, and changed to a virtual/paper case report (20%) and presentation (20%). 

Purpose: The patient-bedside cases that were done pre-COVID were an important aspect of training because students need to see the babies and examine them. They need to develop a strong knowledge base about the core pathologies that are commonly seen in neonatology.

Process: In ERT, students were given paper-based cases which were based on four core topics. They were given a template of how to write up cases. They also had to provide a short summary and discussion of the case. It was a lot of work, so the mark allocation was increased from 10% to 20%. Post-ERT, patient-bedside assessments will be reinstated, but the focus will be on the core topics as in ERT.

Outcomes/ Lessons learned:  The course assessments are better now because of the curriculum changes that were done before COVID, which focuses the assessments on the core pathologies that are commonly seen. Replacing actual work with patients with virtual cases is not ideal and will not be continued.

Recommendations: The patient-bedside cases are an important aspect of training because students need to examine patients and the paper-based assessments are not an adequate substitute. The general refocusing of the assessments on the core pathologies (from the curriculum revision process) has been very positive.