Institute of Mental Health1
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in the way undergraduate medical education is conducted including psychiatry teaching. We sought to examine and compare the ratings of educational environment (EE) and learning processes (motivation, engagement, equipping, appreciation of psychiatry) between the 2020 (during pandemic) and 2019 (before pandemic) cohorts of students, and hypothesised that perception of the EE would impact on overall rating of the psychiatry rotation.
The DREEM (Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure) was administered to fourth-year medical undergraduate students undergoing a psychiatry rotation during the pandemic. Students also completed five additional items evaluating various learning processes and overall rating of the posting.
Altogether, 84 (response rate 93.3%) and 269 (response rate 89.7%) medical undergraduates participated in the study from 2020 and 2019 cohorts respectively. The 2020 cohort had higher scores on the total DREEM (p = .032), academic self-perception DREEM subscale (p = .002), felt more engaged (p = .043) and better equipped (p = .003) compared with the 2019 cohort. Overall DREEM and subdomain scores were significantly correlated with various learning processes. The direct effect of total DREEM and overall rating of psychiatry posting was significant in mediational analyses.
Our results highlighted that students’ perception of the EE remained highly positive during the pandemic and impacts overall experience of the psychiatry posting. Undergraduate psychiatry training should continually seek to enhance the EE so as to optimise learning through better motivation and engagement of learners even during the pandemic.