To conduct a nationwide evaluation of student and program director (PD) perspectives of virtual subinternships that took place during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In December 2020, we distributed anonymous surveys to all 534 urology residency applicants and 161 urology PDs at academic medical centers across the United States to evaluate virtual subinternships. Surveys assessed curriculum composition, goals, satisfaction, barriers, and future reusability. The primary outcome was overall satisfaction with the subinternship, evaluated on a 5-point Likert scale.
The survey was completed by 174 students (33%) and 82 PDs (51%), including 81 students (47%) and 32 PDs (41%) who participated in virtual subinternships at 29 institutions. Overall, 77% of students and 78% of PDs rated the electives “excellent” or “very good.” On ordinal logistic regression, higher student ratings were associated with duration ≥3 weeks (OR 4.64, p=0.003) and class size ≤4 students (OR 3.33, p=0.015). Higher PD ratings were associated with full-time electives (OR 11.18, p=0.019), class size ≤4 students (OR 13.99, p=0.042), and utilization of the standardized Guidebook from the Society of Academic Urologists (OR 11.89, p=0.038). The most commonly reported challenge to the subinternship’s efficacy was lack of hands-on learning (87% of students and 81% of PDs). Looking forward, 45% of students and 66% of PDs recommended incorporating virtual components into future electives.
The virtual subinternship was a coordinated nationwide initiative to provide urologic education to medical students during a pandemic. The most successful courses were structured with longer duration, full-time commitment, and small class size.

Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.