Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Danya Keene


The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented event in modern medicine due to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the relatively high infectivity and death rate with SARS-CoV-2. We conducted a qualitative study that examined the experience of health care workers during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Connecticut. This thesis focuses on the experiences of resident trainees during the pandemic, specifically around the topics of personal safety and health; changes in job responsibilities, roles, and power dynamics; professional and personal obligations; and the attitudes (both negative and positive) that residents perceived from others. Using open-ended, semi-structured interviews, we recruited 19 subjects in the fields of internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, and anesthesia who were compensated $25 for their time. We identified five main themes around the experiences of residents in the pandemic. These included 1) instability and uncertainty, 2) impact on their training/future, 3) relationships with colleagues/power dynamics, 4) ethical and moral dilemmas, and 5) health and safety of self and others. This research can become the foundation for further quantitative studies or policy recommendations for this pandemic, other infectious diseases, and future pandemics, and is of particular importance considering that residents who trained during the pandemic will become the future of medicine.


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