SPICE-19: a 3-Month Prospective Cohort Study of 640 Medical Students and Foundation Doctors
Bandyopadhyay S., Georgiou I., Bligh E., Coyle C., Pancharatnam R., Saunders KEA., de Andres Crespo M., Handa A., Gillespie CS., Baykeens B., Bashir MT., Georgiou M., Mahmood S., Casey A., Di Traglia R., Fung A., Wellington J., Hounat A., Park JJ., Erhabor J., Ashraf MH., Ghazi H., Hernandez LM., Sibanda Z., Haq M., Mahmood S., Boyle A., Curtis-Lopez CM., Carr HJ., McMullan L., McLarnon M., Nazari A., Norton EJ., Lim GHT., Rushworth O.
Introduction: There is paucity of data around the support that medical students have been provided with, need to be provided with, and would like to be provided with during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study sought to explore the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical students and establish the support they require. Methods: A prospective, observational, multicentre study was conducted in 2020. All medical students and interim foundation year 1 doctors were eligible to participate. Results: Six hundred forty individuals participated from 32 medical schools. Participants reported a drop in their mood following the onset of the pandemic (p < 0.001). This drop in mood was evident in both May and August. Participants did have an improved mood in August compared to May (p < 0.001). There was a significant decrease in pandemic disease-anxiety (13.8/20 to 12.4/20, p < 0.001) and consequence-anxiety (6.3/10 to 6.0/10, p < 0.001) between May and August. Nineteen percent of participants (n = 111/596, 19%) had not received the support they needed from their university by August. The most common area of support that our participants needed and had not received from their medical schools by August was support with course material (n = 58/111, 52%). ‘Clinical knowledge’ was thought to have been affected by the greatest number of participants in both May and August. Conclusion: Medical students’ mental well-being has been adversely affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our findings have actionable implications that can better protect medical students as they acclimatise to a working environment that has been radically changed by COVID-19.