Disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced medical schools around the world to adapt. Major changes in curriculum delivery during the pandemic have impacted medical students’ professional development. We assess undergraduate medical students’ adaptations and Professional Identity Formation (PIF) by exploring their written reflections.
This phenomenology study analyzes undergraduate medical students’ written reflections. We perform a thematic analysis to identify emerging themes.
We purposively selected 80 written reflections, considering the students’ year of study, gender, GPA, and education stage (preclinical or clinical). Three themes emerged: students’ adaptation processes and coping strategies in facing the pandemic; their adaptation processes for learning; and their perceived roles as medical students during the pandemic.
Adaptive coping mechanisms were implemented by medical students in this study. The socialization processes that promote professional identity formation may change due to the tremendous disruption wrought by the pandemic; this has prompted our investigation of students’ roles and various ways of interacting with role models. We highlight the importance of the medical school supporting students’ adaptations and professional identity formation during this pandemic.