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Clinical placements for undergraduate diagnostic radiography students amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore: Preparation, challenges and strategies for safe resumption

  • Tay, Yi Xiang1
  • Sng, Li Hoon2, 3
  • Chow, Hwei Chuin1
  • Zainuldin, Muhammad Rahizan3
  • 1 Division of Radiological Sciences, Radiography Department, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
  • 2 Department of Radiology, Sengkang General Hospital, Singapore
  • 3 Health and Social Sciences, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore
Published Article
Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences
Published by Elsevier Inc. on behalf of Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists.
Publication Date
Aug 18, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.jmir.2020.08.012
PMID: 32868260
PMCID: PMC7434406
PubMed Central


Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the suspension of clinical training for undergraduate radiography students in Singapore. Coordinated preparation plans and strategies between the university and hospitals were needed to safely resume clinical placements within national and hospitals’ risk control measures against COVID-19 transmission. Methods Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and the Radiology Department of Singapore General Hospital (SGH) had collaborated to meet requirements for safe resumption of clinical placements. SIT prepared students by emphasising compliance to all risk measures, addressing concerns of risk transmission, meeting learning objectives, and reassessing infection control competencies. In tandem, SGH prepared an orientation programme and used technology for open communication among faculty, clinical educators and students which included monitoring of well-being and rapid dissemination of updates. Of note, SGH reorganised operating procedures and physical spaces to meet national standards of safe physical distancing, restricted movement between treatment areas and teams, and rosters to remain committed to the supervision and education of students. Results Clinical placements resumed 3 months following suspension. Clinical educators faced the challenge of the need for balance between increasing clinical load and student supervision. A solution was frequent engagement and support by faculty, with educators and students via video conferencing platforms. Students’ well-being was frequently checked. There was less variation in cases which simulation training made up for some of the learning objectives. Conclusion Adaptation and commitment to continue active and quality clinical education while ensuring students' safety were vital during a pandemic. Clinical training within stringent precautionary measures may shape the era of the new norm.

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