Post-COVID Conference Expectations: July 2021

Conferences are central to the UTSW IM resident education plan. These conferences offer a singular opportunity to learn clinical reasoning and didactic information in a low-pressure, interactive environment. Further, many of our ACGME requirements are fulfilled through our conferences.

COVID, and the social distancing that followed, forced us to adapt our conferences to a virtual format. While many positive changes were born out of the innovation that this sparked, we also learned that the safe learning environment of a room full of peer and near-peer learners can't be perfectly replicated in the virtual format.

The new conference policies are below. The chiefs have reached out to inpatient attendings on the wards and consult services to ensure your clinical responsibilities will permit you to attend conference. Please contact your site chief if you experience any difficulties attending conferences. 

Notable changes this year:

  • Attendance at conferences is mandatory for the residents listed below.
  • Conferences require in-person attendance.
  • All conferences continue to be open to any attending, fellow, or recently graduated resident who wants to attend and participate remotely.
  • Both residents and interns will attend morning report. In prior years, morning report had been designated a resident-only conference.
  • Return of Intern Chart Conference!

Attendance Requirement

Morning Report: Starts promptly at 9am from Monday to Thursday.

  • Format: Will occur in-person.
    • Phase 1 (start date 7/1/21): The resident presenting the case and the faculty discussant will both be physically present at the same clinical site (which will rotate each day). The conference will be telecast to the other two sites.
    • Phase 2 (anticipated start date August 1, 2021): Will occur in-person every day. There will be a separate conference at Clements and Parkland (VA morning report will continue to be streamed).
  • Content: One resident presents a clinical case, and a chief and faculty discussant guide the team through clinical reasoning, differential formation, and approach to management. Approach varies daily based on the case presented, the faculty discussant, and the needs of the residents in attendance.
  • In-person morning report attendance is required for all of the residents and interns on the following rotations. Please note that the in-person attendance requirement stands even if the conference is telecast to your clinical site.
    • P Wards (all days except long call and post-long call)
    • CUH Wards (all days except post-call)
    • VA Wards (all days except post-call)
    • CUH Eisenberg
    • All inpatient consult services except CUH Liver (if attending multidisciplinary surgery rounds at 9am)
  • Either virtual or in-person morning report attendance is required for all residents and interns on elective and EIOC.
  • Any resident/intern on an outpatient rotation (+1 continuity clinics, hybrid, etc) is NOT required to attend morning report.

Noon Conference: Arrive at 12:00 to get food; lecture will start at 12:10. Occurs Monday through Friday.

  • Format: On most days, one lecturer will present a didactic conference which will be streamed to all three clinical sites. 
  • In-person attendance is required for residents and interns on the following rotations:
    • All wards rotations (all days in call cycle)
    • VA CPICU (unless patient acuity prohibits attendance)
    • All inpatient consult services
  • Virtual attendance is required for all residents and interns on elective
  • Virtual attendance required for PCIM, PRIME, and POB residents
  • Exception: Tuesdays (starting 7/20). Noon conference will be split into two separate conferences, by year of training:
    • Interns: Intern Chart Conference
    • Residents: Residency 201 Lecture series (will be streamed like a normal noon conference, but will focus on more advanced or in-depth topics)
  • Taking lunch from noon conference and leaving without watching conference is unacceptable unless you are on a MICU rotation or unless patient acuity prohibits your attendeance.

Please encourage your medical students to come to and participate in all of our conferences! If you anticipate an absence from conference, or if your clinical duties are preventing you from attending, please contact your site chief. Unexplained absences from conference will be addressed by the site chief. Multiple absences may incur a penalty.

What we offer you:

We have reached out to the attendings on all inpatient and consult rotations to ensure they change their rounding structures to enable you to attend conferences. Clearly, no one can attend morning report if your team rounds at 9am.

We have contacted the nursing staff at each site in hopes of asking them to page you about non-urgent matters only outside of conference times. If you are paged about non-urgent matters during conferences, you may delay returning these messages until after your protected educational time is finished. Please contact your site chief if you find that our new expectations haven't been communicated effectively to the nurses caring for your patients.

We have contacted the HOD for each clinical site to ensure that conference times when you’re on wards are truly protected.

We have brought food back to the conference rooms so that you no longer have to make multiple stops to pick up food and then watch conference. If your clinical responsibilities or work hours are being compromised by these new requirements, please email  and  immediately. We’ll make it right for you.

What to do if you can’t make conference?

Patient care always comes before conference attendance. If you have a sick patient and need to be at bedside, that should always take precedent. Writing notes, completing signout, and returning pages about non-urgent orders can wait until after conference. If your attending isn’t allowing you to go to morning report, or if your rounding time interferes with morning report attendance, please let your site chief know.