COVID-19 Update: Information and resources can be found here.

FAQs for GME Trainees

Are learners going to be involved in the care of COVID-19 patients?

Medical student, resident, and fellow involvement in activities that require donning PPE should be restricted to the extent that is possible. There may be instances where learner/trainee involvement in care is desirable (i.e. second set of hands in complex surgery) and this process change is not intended to prohibit these types of activities that enhance care delivery. The intent of process change is to allow our collective clinical operations to minimize the consumption rates of PPE. Partner care sites may adopt more stringent restrictions as they see fit.

Can a pregnant trainee perform clinical work?

Pregnant women in their third trimester have been classified by the ACOG as high-risk individuals, based on data from other illnesses like influenza. Therefore, any trainee in their third trimester of pregnancy must be removed from clinical duties that involve direct patient care. They can stay involved in any other activities, such as telehealth and e-consults.

Travel

Am I allowed to travel internationally for approved UTSW rotations/experiences?

We are currently following the UTSW Travel Guidelines, which can be found here. Through April 30, international and domestic out of state travel for professional reasons is not allowed. These rules apply to all residents and fellows, regardless of employer.

When should programs re-patriate trainees that are studying abroad?

We understand programs have residents and fellows already abroad, completing global health rotations. The decision to bring back residents will be made upon consultation with the UTSW Travel Oversight Committee:

Phone: 214-648-2250
Email: traveloversightcommittee@utsouthwestern.edu

Will I be able to travel for an off-campus rotation?

Off-campus rotations will be subject to the most recent UTSW Travel Guidelines. Off-campus rotations include any rotation outside the four primary hospitals: UTSW, PHHS, CMC, and the VAH.

Will I be able to travel within the State of Texas for UTSW GME (work-related) purposes?

Your program director or designee must submit your travel request and circumstances through PeopleSoft for review by the Travel Oversight Committee. Final decisions will be made by this group.

How does COVID-19 affect our incoming trainees traveling to UTSW?

Admittance of incoming international trainees will not be permitted for the next 60 days. Admittance of incoming domestic trainees is limited to trainees from a Sponsoring Institution within the DFW metroplex. Programs are strongly encouraged to communicate with their department leadership and participating sites for further clarification before accepting any visiting residents. Travel for these individuals will also be guided by their own institution’s policies. Please verify each visiting resident rotation with department and hospital leadership before the beginning of each rotation, as these directions might change at any time.

How does the COVID-19 Travel Policy affect Match Day?

UTSW has restricted attendance to large gatherings. More guidance will be coming forward from the Office of Medical Education.

How does the UTSW COVID-19 Travel Policy affect personal travel?

At this time, UTSW is strongly discouraging personal travel to areas where there is COVID-19 community spread. If you travel to these areas and become ill, you will need to use PTO or unpaid leave for the duration of the quarantine/illness. You must contact UTSW Occupational Health Services before coming back to campus.

Exposures, illness, and quarantine

How will I know when to self-quarantine?

Upon return from any trip, please communicate with UTSW Occupational Health Services to receive instructions about quarantine and testing. Please refer to the UTSW COVID-19 Travel Policy, which can be found here. Please be aware that this policy might change depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 in our communities.

How will my quarantine period be tracked?

Upon return from any trip, please communicate with UTSW occupational health to receive instructions about quarantine and testing. Please refer to the UTSW COVID-19 Travel Policy, which can be found here. Please be aware that this policy might change depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 in our communities.

How do I report an exposure?

You must report potential occupational exposures to the clinical site where the exposure occurred.

Who do I call if I develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19?

Please communicate with UTSW Occupational Health Services. Any person experiencing illness should contact their doctor or schedule a virtual doctor visit.

How will I be tested for COVID-19?

Occupational health will provide guidance on when and where to be tested. Please contact them if you have any symptoms and upon return from any trip. Please refer to the UTSW COVID-19 Travel Policy, which can be found here.

Where will I be tested?

Occupational health will provide guidance on when and where to be tested. Please contact them if you have any symptoms and upon return from any trip. Please refer to the UTSW COVID-19 Travel Policy, which can be found here.

Planning

How can my program plan?

Make sure that program leadership is participating in planning meetings and activities. If you are a resident or fellow, read all email communications. Comply with all instructions and rules; they are being placed for your safety and the safety of the patients you care for. Ask questions if you do not know what to do. Make sure your program has updated contact information and notify your program leadership of any last minute changes to your work schedule.

How can programs reduce the risk of exposure/community spread?

GME programs are encouraged to identify all non-essential operational functions, and reduce these functions wherever possible. Possible non-essential functions may include: conferences, journal clubs, grand rounds, simulations, workshops, laboratories, and other educational activities. In accordance with UTSW guidelines, effective Friday, March 13 and until further notice, in order to reduce potential exposure and transmission of COVID-19, any gathering on campus including grand rounds, seminars, conferences and other lectures and classes must be limited to 25 or fewer participants. While community transmission has not yet been documented in North Texas, out of an abundance of caution and to promote social distancing, consider evaluating the importance of convening an in-person meeting of any size, which should be limited to only the most critical needs. For meetings or other activities in which greater participation or necessary, these should utilize an online format. Additionally, programs should identify all non-essential clinical functions (such as electives, non-clinical rotations). Programs should consider what tasks and functions can be completed using telehealth or completed remotely in coordination with departmental and hospital leadership.

Can I still moonlight during this period?

All moonlighting activities are strongly discouraged during the spread of COVID-19. Programs should assess the risk to residents in settings in which residents/fellows may interact with patients that have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Program Directors retain ultimate authority over moonlighting activities, and may choose to terminate said activities at any time.

Will the COVID-19 virus affect our clinical coverage?

Programs should identify high risk personnel within their clinical teams, and assess what coverage will be necessary to reduce the risk of exposure for those individuals. Teams should be limited in size and patient contact should be minimized. Non-essential team members must avoid contact with COVID-19 positive patients. ACGME has released a statement on trainees which is available (here).

What happens if my children’s school or daycare is closed?

For front-line employees without the option to work from home, we have three options:

  • We CARE Matching Program
    For UT Southwestern faculty, staff, residents, and fellows who are required to report to work onsite and are seeking child care, please use this form to request child care help. Once registered, you will receive a list of willing providers that you can contact directly.
  • Nanny Agency
    UT Southwestern has secured a three-month Corporate Flex Membership with Trusting Connections, a full-service nanny agency that offers a wide variety of services. This membership waives the usual $120 enrollment fee and offers hourly rates starting at $24 per household, which covers caregiver salary, taxes, insurance, and agency fees. To access this option, please go to our We CARE platform and request child care help.
  • Dallas Mavericks Child Care Donation
    Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks have set up a donation fund to distribute child care reimbursements to those employees who work in patient care or onsite support roles and are required to report to campus. Please submit a request for access to the Mavericks’ donationThe deadline for submission is March 29.

Will I receive training to respond to patients with COVID-19?

Per ACGME guidelines, any resident or fellow who provides care to patients will do so under the appropriate faculty supervision for the clinical circumstance and the level of training of the resident/fellow. Faculty members and residents are expected to have been trained in the treatment and infection control protocols and procedures adopted by their local health care settings. Programs and Sponsoring Institutions should monitor the CDC website for updated PPE guidelines. Infection control is developing educational materials which will be distributed once finalized.