Last Updated on August 19, 2020

Medical education and medical residency admissions have been put on hold in the wake of COVID-19. Govern bodies and licensing bodies have taken unprecedented steps to keep students, learners and medical residents safe during this uncertain time in healthcare. The state of medical education is being assessed on a day by day basis, but the governing principle of social distancing is at the forefront.

What in my medical training is being affected?

Clinical Electives:

Clinical electives are rotations during medical training in year 3 and year 4 of medical school of year 5 and year 6 (in direct entry MD programs) which are done outside of one’s home school. For international medical graduates (IMGs), clinical electives are the most important aspect of making an impression to potential supervisors and medical residency committees. Often done in American or Canadian hospitals, IMGs try tirelessly to secure coveted medical electives, and then work day and night to shine during these unique and crucial opportunities.


Don’t fret. EVERYONE IS IN THE SAME BOAT. IT IS NOT THE TIME TO PANIC. One very important element for all IMGs to remember is that everyone is in the same position. NO ONE can do medical electives. NO ONE can impress supervisors. The focus right now is on public health and safety, NOT medical residency admissions. While this may be a big blow to you personally, and to your personal ambitions of securing a residency spot, rest assured you will have your time to shine.


Right now everything is uncertain. Interviews are moving virtually. Electives are being cancelled. Emphasis is being placed on asynchronous activities and applications. The truth of the matter is we just don’t know how things will evolve in the coming weeks. What is important is that you focus on what matters. Yourself, your patients and your loved ones.


Like all major examinations, clinical licensing etc… the NAC OSCE is not being held until September 2020. This gives us several months of downtime to prepare as if nothing will change for this exam. For now, prepare as you usually would, enlist in preparation courses, work hard (from home and by yourself). This is not the time to get groups together to practice. This is not the time to gather in libraries or hospitals. This is a time for self-directed learning or use of an online course/manual. At MedApplications we have a robust online course and NAC OSCE tutors ready and willing to train you virtually.

How to protect yourself from infection

How to minimize exposure and implement standard, contact and airborne precautions: Interim infection prevention and control recommendations

How to manage your supply of personal protective equipment (PPE): CDC supply chain advice

Diagnosing patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19

Who should be tested for COVID-19 and how to get them tested: COVID-19 clinical criteria

Health care professionals should immediately notify their local or state health department in the event of a PUI for COVID-19: Find your state and local health department contacts

How to manage patients diagnosed with COVID-19: Clinical guidance from the CDC

Precautions to take for vulnerable patients:

What to do if you have been exposed to patients with COVID-19

How to assess risk, monitor for symptoms and understand work restriction decisions for health care professionals with potential exposure to COVID-19:  Interim U.S. guidance

How to communicate with patients

COVID-19 facts to share with concerned or anxious patients: CDC fact sheets

Common myths that you should be ready to debunk: The biggest misconceptions

Advice to give patients who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19: Top advice from CDC

Notices to inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues that impact travelers’ health: CDC travel notices