Sustaining capacity building and practical skills training during the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons from India

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



AEM education and training








BACKGROUND: The scale and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic posed a threat to provide the required support needed by emergency medicine (EM) trainees in India participating in the masters in EM program, a global partnership between the Ronald Reagan Institute for Emergency Medicine at the George Washington University and 14 institutions in India. While some of this support has been filled by remote education through thrice-weekly online video conferencing and webinars, the gap in procedural teaching posed a different challenge. METHODS: We developed a two-part innovation to teach suture skills, a required procedure for EM trainees. The innovation consisted of a hands-on procedure lab with the opportunity for live feedback followed by an independent competitive skill demonstration. Trainees were notified in advance of materials needed for the procedure lab to encourage attendance and participation. RESULTS: A total of 160 trainees attended the virtual suture skills lab; 74 trainees (46% of attendees) submitted feedback back of whom 94% were able to practice skills in real time. Written feedback was overwhelmingly positive and included requests to implement this method for other procedural skills. Twenty-one residents participated in the Innovative Suture Challenge, with the top three submissions receiving accolades in the following grand rounds-style session. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of virtual teaching with the opportunity for real-time feedback and an integrated project to independently showcase skills learned is a way to continue procedural skills teaching in a remote environment. The aim of this innovation was to test the feasibility, acceptability, and level of engagement of conducting virtual, live supervised suturing remotely across multiple geographical locations. Our next step would be to gather pre and post data to measure the impact. Additionally, we believe this provides a proof-of-concept model to further explore sustainable, cost-effective, and scalable models for remote procedure-based teaching.


Emergency Medicine