Rising Above the COVID Storm

Ed Kosik, DO, FASA
Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma HSC 
John H. Saxon III, M.D. Professorship of Anesthesiology
Medical Director of Anesthesiology Simulation

The uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic brought out our best as we stayed focused on the safety of our learners and our educational mission. Even though our Simulation Center was officially closed, extensive education efforts took place.

Zoom lectures were offered on a multitude of anesthesia related topics. Simulation, both screen-based and high fidelity, was used extensively to educate our medical students. A simulation session that seemed straightforward before the pandemic took substantially more effort because we had to sanitize all the equipment and operate the simulators without the aid of technicians. Finding masks, gloves and sanitizing equipment was challenging. The debriefing skills that I obtained over the years helped to address and humanize medical students’ and residents’ concerns about COVID-19 and the effects on their education.
The fortitude of my colleagues both clinically and educationally was paramount.  We figured out how to make education work despite a potentially dangerous clinical situation.  An instructional video for donning and doffing personal protective equipment was literally made overnight; lectures were provided; mock oral board exams were successfully held; anesthesiology mock OSCEs were modified and successful; and ACLS classes were held in smaller groups. All of these efforts were made as we practiced social distancing and adhered to institutional safety guidelines.

I am more thankful than ever for my anesthesia colleagues and the people I am surrounded by. It is through their bravery and collaboration that we keep striving to move forward to make the best out of a challenging situation and never losing focus of the things that matter. 
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