A report from the United States discussing the impact COVID-19 has had on graduating doctors beginning the first years of their residencies.


July 1 is a big day in medical education. It’s traditionally the day newly minted doctors start their first year of residency. But this year is different. Making the transition from medical school to residency training programs has been complicated by the coronavirus.

“We were all really freaking out,” said Dr. Christine Petrin, who just graduated from medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans and is starting a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Fourth-year students learned their residency assignments in March, just as everything was shutting down because of the pandemic. After getting the news of their placements, Petrin said, some of her friends were worried about being able to enter states that were closing their borders. They “just rapidly picked up and moved. Found an apartment, packed up the car and went.”

Petrin said she was lucky. Although she scoped out apartments online, her sister, who lives in Washington, could visit them in person.

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