Sarah* stared sympathetically into her webcam, trying to make it seem like she was looking into the young mother’s eyes. It was crucial that her patients felt listened to, even if they couldn’t be in the same room. Sarah asked the mother for consent to record the session and then started taking her child’s history, asking follow-up questions where necessary. “These are the vaccines your child will need,” Sarah said. “We’ll get you set up with those before we finish up today.”
“How are we gonna do that over telemedicine?” the mother asked.
“And I was like, ‘Ohhh yeah, whoops!’ ” Sarah told me as she recounted the story later, also via webcam. Fortunately, the mother wasn’t a real patient, but then again, Sarah isn’t a real doctor—yet. Rather, the woman was a simulated patient, while Sarah is one of the thousands of medical students across the country now practicing their clinical skills from home. “Another day of Zoom University School of Medicine,” she sighed.