BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated an enforced 8-week induction period (18 May to 12 July 2020) for all new interns in Ireland . These unprecedented circumstances presented a unique opportunity to assess this induction period .
AIM: To assess the impact of a prolonged induction period on the technical abilities of interns embarking on their clinical careers .
METHOD: We distributed a 12-item questionnaire to new interns at our institution during the COVID-19 pandemic . Section 1 of the questionnaire was designed to assess the rate of self-reported improvement in the successful and independent execution of practical 'intern' tasks . Section 2 of the questionnaire captured the subjective experience of interns during this time in relation to the effectiveness of an 8-week induction period with senior intern support available . Statistical analysis of categorical predictor and ordinal outcome variables was performed using the two-sample Wilcoxon rank-sum (Mann-Whitney) test .
RESULTS: Our results demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in the proficiency at first attempt phlebotomy in week 8 compared with week 1 (p <0.0001). There was a significant improvement in placing first-attempt peripheral IV lines in week 8 compared with week 1 (p <0.001). Regarding the need for senior assistance, we demonstrated a statistically significant reduction in week 8 compared with week 1 (p = 0.046). There were 95.56% (n = 43) of interns that said they would recommend the induction period for future incoming interns .
CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic has inadvertently identified a model of internship induction that benefits interns, their colleagues and their patients through the production of more technically capable interns.