Although professional development is addressed throughout the medical school curriculum, it is particularly salient to third-year students as they become integral members of health care teams.
We present a professional development curriculum for third-year medical students.
Urban medical school.
In 2005, our curriculum consisted of 3 large group panels, each followed by a small group, occurring after the first, third, and last clerkship. Before each small group, students prepared critical incident reports, which led to focused group reflection. The individual topics were, respectively: (1) transition to clerkship learning; (2) challenges to professional behavior; and (3) medical errors. In 2006, based on student feedback, we piloted a revised student-centered panel on professionalism that was based entirely on themes from students’ critical incident reports.
Students rated the curriculum well overall. In 2005–2006, the small groups ranged from 3.95 to 3.98 (SD 0.88) on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = poor, 5 = excellent) and the panels ranged from 3.54 to 4.41 (SD 0.9). The pilot panel in 2006 was rated 4.38 (SD 0.80). The most common professionalism themes generated from 185 critical incident reports were communication, compassionate patient care, accountability, and team collaboration.
A professional development curriculum, consisting of panels, small groups, and critical incident reports, can promote reflection among third-year medical students.
medical school curriculum; third-year medical students; professional development; evaluation
Introduction The development of professional behaviour is an important objective for students in Health Sciences, with reflective skills being a basic condition for this development. Literature describes a variety of methods giving students opportunities and encouragement for reflection. Although the literature states that learning and working together in peer meetings fosters reflection, these findings are based on experienced professionals. We do not know whether participation in peer meetings also makes a positive contribution to the learning experiences of undergraduate students in terms of reflection. Aim The aim of this study is to gain an understanding of the role of peer meetings in students’ learning experiences regarding reflection. Method A phenomenographic qualitative study was undertaken. Students’ learning experiences in peer meetings were analyzed by investigating the learning reports in students’ portfolios. Data were coded using open coding. Results The results indicate that peer meetings created an interactive learning environment in which students learned about themselves, their skills and their abilities as novice professionals. Students also mentioned conditions for a well-functioning group. Conclusion The findings indicate that peer meetings foster the development of reflection skills as part of professional behaviour.
Reflection; Peer meetings; Professional behaviour; Teaching; Collaborative learning
Professionalism is a difficult construct to define in medical students but aspects of this concept may be important in predicting the risk of postgraduate misconduct. For this reason attempts are being made to evaluate medical students' professionalism. This study investigated the psychometric properties of Selected Response Questions (SRQs) relating to the theme of professional conduct and ethics comparing them with two sets of control items: those testing pure knowledge of anatomy, and; items evaluating the ability to integrate and apply knowledge ("skills"). The performance of students on the SRQs was also compared with two external measures estimating aspects of professionalism in students; peer ratings of professionalism and their Conscientiousness Index, an objective measure of behaviours at medical school.
Item Response Theory (IRT) was used to analyse both question and student performance for SRQs relating to knowledge of professionalism, pure anatomy and skills. The relative difficulties, discrimination and 'guessabilities' of each theme of question were compared with each other using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Student performance on each topic was compared with the measures of conscientiousness and professionalism using parametric and non-parametric tests as appropriate. A post-hoc analysis of power for the IRT modelling was conducted using a Monte Carlo simulation.
Professionalism items were less difficult compared to the anatomy and skills SRQs, poorer at discriminating between candidates and more erratically answered when compared to anatomy questions. Moreover professionalism item performance was uncorrelated with the standardised Conscientiousness Index scores (rho = 0.009, p = 0.90). In contrast there were modest but significant correlations between standardised Conscientiousness Index scores and performance at anatomy items (rho = 0.20, p = 0.006) though not skills (rho = .11, p = .1). Likewise, students with high peer ratings for professionalism had superior performance on anatomy SRQs but not professionalism themed questions. A trend of borderline significance (p = .07) was observed for performance on skills SRQs and professionalism nomination status.
SRQs related to professionalism are likely to have relatively poor psychometric properties and lack associations with other constructs associated with undergraduate professional behaviour. The findings suggest that such questions should not be included in undergraduate examinations and may raise issues with the introduction of Situational Judgement Tests into Foundation Years selection.
Background and Objectives
The diverse US population requires medical cultural competency education for health providers throughout their pre-professional and professional years. We present a curriculum to train pre-health professional undergraduates by combining classroom education in the humanities and cross-cultural communication skills with volunteer clinical experiences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) hospital.
The course was open to a maximum of 15 UCLA junior and senior undergraduate students with a pre-health or humanities major and was held in the spring quarters of 2002–2004. The change in students' knowledge of cultural competency was evaluated using the Provider's Guide to Quality and Culture Quiz (QCQ) and through students' written assignments and evaluations.
Trainees displayed a statistically significant improvement in scores on the QCQ. Participants' written assignments and subjective evaluations confirmed an improvement in awareness and a high motivation to continue learning at the graduate level.
This is the first evaluated undergraduate curriculum that integrates interdisciplinary cultural competency training with patient volunteering in the medical field. The didactic, volunteering, and writing components of the course comprise a broadly applicable tool for training future health care providers at other institutions.
Professional socialization during formal educational preparation can help students learn professional roles and can lead to improved organizational socialization as students emerge as members of the occupation's culture. Professional socialization research in athletic training is limited.
To present the role of legitimation and how it influences the professional socialization of second-year athletic training students.
Modified constructivist grounded theory and case study methods were used for this qualitative study.
An accredited undergraduate athletic training education program.
Patients or Other Participants:
Twelve second-year students were selected purposively. The primary sample group (n = 4) was selected according to theoretical sampling guidelines. The remaining students made up the cohort sample (n = 8). Theoretically relevant data were gathered from 14 clinical instructors to clarify emergent student data.
Data Collection and Analysis:
Data collection included document examination, observations, and interviews during 1 academic semester. Data were collected and analyzed through constant comparative analysis. Data triangulation, member checking, and peer-review strategies were used to ensure trustworthiness.
Legitimation from various socializing agents initiated professional socialization. Students viewed trust and team membership as rewards for role fulfillment.
My findings are consistent with the socialization literature that shows how learning a social or professional role, using rewards to facilitate role performance, and building trusting relationships with socializing agents are important aspects of legitimation and, ultimately, professional socialization.
clinical education; preservice professional preparation; socializing agents; role performance; grounded theory
Understanding students’ perceptions of and responses to lapses in professionalism is important to shaping students’ professional development.
Utilize realistic, standardized professional dilemmas to obtain insight into students’ reasoning and motivations in “real time.”
Qualitative study using 5 videotaped scenarios (each depicting a student placed in a situation which requires action in response to a professional dilemma) and individual interviews, in which students were questioned about what they would do next and why.
University of Toronto.
Eighteen fourth-year medical students; participation voluntary and anonymous.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE
A model to explain students’ reasoning in the face of professional dilemmas.
Grounded theory analysis of interview transcripts revealed that students were motivated to consider specific actions by referencing a Principle (an abstract or idealized concept), an Affect (a feeling or emotion), or an Implication (a potential consequence of suggested actions). Principles were classified as “avowed” as ideals of our profession (e.g., honesty or disclosure), or “unavowed” (unacknowledged or undeclared, e.g., obedience or allegiance). Implications could also be avowed (e.g., concerning patients) or unavowed (e.g., concerning others); but students were predominantly motivated by considering “disavowed” implications: those pertaining to themselves (e.g., concern for grades, evaluations, or reputation), which are actively denied by the profession and discouraged as being inconsistent with altruism.
This “disavowed curriculum” has implications for education, feedback, and evaluation. Instead of denying their existence, we should teach students how to negotiate and balance these unavowed and disavowed implications and principles, in order to help them develop their own professional stance.
undergraduate education; medical education; professionalism; evaluation
Reflection on professional experience is increasingly accepted as a critical attribute for health care practice; however, evidence that it has a positive impact on performance remains scarce. This study investigated whether, after allowing for the effects of knowledge and consultation skills, reflection had an independent effect on students’ ability to solve problem cases.
Data was collected from 362 undergraduate medical students at Ghent University solving video cases and reflected on the experience of doing so. For knowledge and consultation skills results on a progress test and a course teaching consultation skills were used respectively. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis was used to test the relationship between the quality of case-solving (dependent variable) and reflection skills, knowledge, and consultation skills (dependent variables).
Only students with data on all variables available (n = 270) were included for analysis. The model was significant (Anova F(3,269) = 11.00, p < 0.001, adjusted R square 0.10) with all variables significantly contributing.
Medical students’ reflection had a small but significant effect on case-solving, which supports reflection as an attribute for performance. These findings suggest that it would be worthwhile testing the effect of reflection skills training on clinical competence.
To explore and analyse students’ learning experiences of a memorable consultation during a final-year attachment in general practice.
After a two-week primary care attachment in the undergraduate curriculum, students were invited to write a reflective account of a memorable consultation.
A total of 52 reflective accounts were read and processed according to qualitative content analysis. Credibility of the analysis was validated by two co-authors reading the descriptions separately and trustworthiness was tested at local seminars.
Three main themes emerged. In “The person beyond symptoms” the students recognize the individual properties of a consultation. “Facing complexity” mirrors awareness of changing tracks in problem-solving and strategies of handling unclear conditions. “In search of a professional role” reflects the interest in role modelling and the relation to the supervisor.
Involving students in writing reflective accounts appears to stimulate them to articulate practice experiences of the consultation.
Consultation; family practice; general practice; reflection; supervision; undergraduate medical education
To describe the knowledge of, and experience with, the Interest Group in Family Medicine (IgFM) at the University of Toronto, among undergraduate medical students; to explore the effects of the IgFM on undergraduate medical students; and to help determine future directions for the IgFM and other family medicine interest groups in Canada.
Qualitative descriptive design and focus groups.
The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto in Ontario.
A total of 45 students in the undergraduate medical school program at the University of Toronto participated in this study. Approximately equal numbers of students from each year were represented in the sample.
Focus groups were conducted to determine students’ knowledge of, experiences with, and perspectives on the IgFM. The focus groups were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were coded and analyzed for themes using qualitative content analysis. Data were collected until saturation of emerging themes was reached.
The students were generally knowledgeable about the IgFM and many had attended IgFM events. The IgFM had different effects on students depending on their level of interest in family medicine (FM). For those already interested in FM, the IgFM helped to maintain and support that interest. For students still undecided about their career choices, the IgFM helped to support continued interest in FM by dispelling negative myths about the discipline, providing positive peer influences, and supplying information about careers in FM. For students not interested in FM, the IgFM provided helpful information about the discipline. Students also had many useful suggestions regarding the future direction of the IgFM.
The IgFM has been successful in increasing medical student exposure to FM and in supporting students’ interest in this discipline. Information from this study also provides strategies for future direction to the IgFM and other family medicine interest groups in Canadaand the United States.
This mixed-methods study explores differences in novice and experienced undergraduate students’ perceptions of their cognitive, personal, and professional gains from engaging in scientific research. The study was conducted in four different undergraduate research (UR) programs at two research-extensive universities; three of these programs had a focus on the biosciences. Seventy-three entry-level and experienced student researchers participated in in-depth, semi-structured interviews and completed the quantitative Undergraduate Research Student Self-Assessment (URSSA) instrument. Interviews and surveys assessed students’ developmental outcomes from engaging in UR. Experienced students reported distinct personal, professional, and cognitive outcomes relative to their novice peers, including a more sophisticated understanding of the process of scientific research. Students also described the trajectories by which they developed not only the intellectual skills necessary to advance in science, but also the behaviors and temperament necessary to be a scientist. The findings suggest that students benefit from multi-year UR experiences. Implications for UR program design, advising practices, and funding structures are discussed.
Objectives: This study aimed to determine attitudinal and self reported behavioural variations between medical students in different years to scenarios involving academic misconduct.
Design: A cross-sectional study where students were given an anonymous questionnaire that asked about their attitudes to 14 scenarios describing a fictitious student engaging in acts of academic misconduct and asked them to report their own potential behaviour.
Setting: Dundee Medical School.
Participants: Undergraduate medical students from all five years of the course.
Method: Questionnaire survey.
Main measurements: Differences in medical students' attitudes to the 14 scenarios and their reported potential behaviour with regards to the scenarios in each of the years.
Results: For most of the scenarios there was no significant difference in the response between the years. Significant differences in the responses were found for some of the scenarios across the years, where a larger proportion of year one students regarded the scenario as wrong and would not engage in the behaviour, compared to other years. These scenarios included forging signatures, resubmitting work already completed for another part of the course, and falsifying patient information.
Conclusion: Observed differences between the years for some scenarios may reflect a change in students' attitudes and behaviour as they progress though the course. The results may be influenced by the educational experience of the students, both in terms of the learning environment and assessment methods used. These differences may draw attention to the potential but unintentional pressures placed on medical students to engage in academic misconduct. The importance of developing strategies to engender appropriate attitudes and behaviours at the undergraduate level must be recognised.
Anecdotal evidence shows that unprofessional conduct is becoming a common occurrence amongst health workers in Uganda. The development of appropriate professional values, attitudes and behaviors is a continuum that starts when a student joins a health professional training institution and as such health professionals in training need to be exposed to the essence of professionalism. We sought to explore undergraduate health professions students' perceptions and experiences of learning professionalism as a preliminary step in addressing the problem of unprofessional conduct amongst health workers in Uganda.
Eight focus group discussions were conducted with 49 first to fifth year health professions undergraduate students of the 2008/2009 academic year at Makerere University College of Health Sciences. The focus group discussions were recorded and transcribed, and were analyzed using content analysis with emergent coding.
The difference in the way first and fifth year students of Makerere University College of Health Sciences conceptualized professionalism was suggestive of the decline in attitude that occurs during medical education. The formal curriculum was described as being inadequate while the hidden and informal curricula were found to play a critical role in learning professionalism. Students identified role models as being essential to the development of professionalism and emphasized the need for appropriate role modeling. In our setting, resource constraints present an important, additional challenge to learning universal standards of health professionalism. Furthermore, students described practices that reflect the cultural concept of communalism, which conflicts with the universally accepted standard of individual medical confidentiality. The students questioned the universal applicability of internationally accepted standards of professionalism.
The findings call for a review of the formal professionalism curriculum at Makerere University College of Health Sciences to make it more comprehensive and to meet the needs expressed by the students. Role models need capacity building in professionalism as health professionals and as educators. In our setting, resource constraints present an additional challenge to learning universal standards of health professionalism. There is need for further research and discourse on education in health professionalism in the Sub-Saharan context of resource constraints and cultural challenges.
Professionalism in medical students is not only difficult to define but difficult to teach and measure. As negative behaviour in medical students is associated with post-graduate disciplinary action it would be useful to have a model whereby unprofessional behaviour at the undergraduate level can easily be identified to permit appropriate intervention. We have previously developed a scalar measure of conscientiousness, the Conscientiousness Index (CI), which positively correlates to estimates of professional behaviour in undergraduate medical students. By comparing CI points awarded in year 1 and year 2 of study we were able to use the CI model to determine whether teaching and clinical exposure had any effect on students’ conscientiousness.
CI points were collected by administrative staff from 3 successive cohorts of students in years 1 and 2 of study. Points were awarded to students for activities such as submission of immunisation status and criminal record checks, submission of summative assignments by a specified date and attendance at compulsory teaching sessions. CI points were then converted to a percentage of maximal possible scores (CI %) to permit direct comparison between years 1 and 2 of study.
CI % scores were generally high with each year of study for each cohort showing negatively skewed normal distributions with peaks > 89%. There was a high degree of correlation of CI % scores between year 1 and year 2 of study for each cohort alone and when cohort data was combined. When the change in CI % from year 1 to year 2 for all students was compared there was no significant difference in conscientiousness observed.
We have provided evidence that use of a CI model in undergraduate medical students provides a reliable measure of conscientiousness that is easy to implement. Importantly this study shows that measurement of conscientiousness by the CI model in medical students does not change between years 1 and 2 study suggesting that it is a stable characteristic and not modified by teaching and clinical exposure.
Medical television programs offer students fictional representations of their chosen career. This study aimed to discover undergraduate medical students' viewing of medical television programs and students' perceptions of professionalism, ethics, realism and role models in the programs. The purpose was to consider implications for teaching strategies.
A medical television survey was administered to 386 undergraduate medical students across Years 1 to 4 at a university in New South Wales, Australia. The survey collected data on demographics, year of course, viewing of medical television programs, perception of programs' realism, depiction of ethics, professionalism and role models.
The shows watched by most students were House, Scrubs, and Grey's Anatomy, and students nominated watching 30 different medical programs in total. There was no statistical association between year of enrolment and perceptions of accuracy. The majority of students reported that friends or family members had asked them for their opinion on an ethical or medical issue presented on a program, and that they discussed ethical and medical matters with their friends. Students had high recall of ethical topics portrayed on the shows, and most believed that medical programs generally portrayed ideals of professionalism well.
Medical programs offer considerable currency and relevance with students and may be useful in teaching strategies that engage students in ethical lessons about practising medicine.
New values and practices associated with medical professionalism have created an increased interest in the concept. In the United Kingdom, it is a current concern in medical education and in the development of doctor appraisal and revalidation.
To investigate how final year medical students experience and interpret new values of professionalism as they emerge in relation to confronting dying patients and as they potentially conflict with older values that emerge through hidden dimensions of the curriculum.
Qualitative study using interpretative discourse analysis of anonymized student reflective portfolios. One hundred twenty-three final year undergraduate medical students (64 male and 59 female) from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine supplied 116 portfolios from general practice and 118 from hospital settings about patients receiving palliative or end of life care.
Professional values were prevalent in all the portfolios. Students emphasised patient-centered, holistic care, synonymous with a more contemporary idea of professionalism, in conjunction with values associated with the ‘old’ model of professionalism that had not be directly taught to them. Integrating ‘new’ professional values was at times problematic. Three main areas of potential conflict were identified: ethical considerations, doctor-patient interaction and subjective boundaries. Students explicitly and implicitly discussed several tensions and described strategies to resolve them.
The conflicts outlined arise from the mix of values associated with different models of professionalism. Analysis indicates that ‘new’ models are not simply replacing existing elements. Whilst this analysis is of accounts from students within one UK medical school, the experience of conflict between different notions of professionalism and the three broad domains in which this conflict arises are relevant in other areas of medicine and in different national contexts.
medical professionalism; medical education; qualitative research; students’ reflections
Development of students' teaching skills is increasingly recognised as an important component of UK undergraduate medical curricula and, in consequence, there is renewed interest in the potential benefits of cross-year peer tutoring. Whilst several studies have described the use of cross-year peer tutoring in undergraduate medical courses, its use in the clinical setting is less well reported, particularly the effects of peer tutoring on volunteer tutors' views of teachers and teaching. This study explored the effects of participation in a cross-year peer tutoring programme in clinical examination skills ('OSCE tutor') on volunteer tutors' own skills and on their attitudes towards teachers and teaching.
Volunteer tutors were final year MBChB students who took part in the programme as part of a Student Selected Component (SSC). Tutees were year 3 MBChB students preparing for their end of year 'OSCE' examination. Pre and post participation questionnaires, including both Likert-type and open response questions, were used. Paired data was compared using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. All tests were two-tailed with 5% significance level.
Tutors reflected their cohort in terms of gender but were drawn from among the more academically successful final year students. Most had previous teaching experience. They were influenced to participate in 'OSCE tutor' by a desire to improve their own teaching and associated generic skills and by contextual factors relating to the organisation or previous experience of the OSCE tutor programme. Issues relating to longer term career aspirations were less important. After the event, tutors felt that participation had enhanced their skills in various areas, including practical teaching skills, confidence in speaking to groups and communication skills; and that as a result of taking part, they were now more likely to undertake further teacher training and to make teaching a major part of their career. However, whilst a number of students reported that their views of teachers and teaching had changed as a result of participation, this did not translate into significant changes in responses to questions that explored their views of the roles and qualities required of a good clinical teacher.
Findings affirm the benefits to volunteer tutors of cross-year peer tutoring, particularly in terms of skills enhancement and reinforcement of positive attitudes towards future teaching responsibilities, and have implications for the design and organisation of such programmes.
Reflection is a meta-cognitive process, characterized by: 1. Awareness of self and the situation; 2. Critical analysis and understanding of both self and the situation; 3. Development of new perspectives to inform future actions. Assessors can only access reflections indirectly through learners’ verbal and/or written expressions. Being privy to the situation that triggered reflection could place reflective materials into context. Video-cases make that possible and, coupled with a scoring rubric, offer a reliable way of assessing reflection.
Fourth and fifth year undergraduate medical students were shown two interactive video-cases and asked to reflect on this experience, guided by six standard questions. The quality of students’ reflections were scored using a specially developed Student Assessment of Reflection Scoring rubric (StARS®). Reflection scores were analyzed concerning interrater reliability and ability to discriminate between students. Further, the intra-rater reliability and case specificity were estimated by means of a generalizability study with rating and case scenario as facets.
Reflection scores of 270 students ranged widely and interrater reliability was acceptable (Krippendorff’s alpha = 0.88). The generalizability study suggested 3 or 4 cases were needed to obtain reliable ratings from 4th year students and ≥ 6 cases from 5th year students.
Use of StARS® to assess student reflections triggered by standardized video-cases had acceptable discriminative ability and reliability. We offer this practical method for assessing reflection summatively, and providing formative feedback in training situations.
Transformation of medical students to become medical professionals is a core competency required for physicians in the 21st century. Role modeling was traditionally the key method of transmitting this skill. Medical schools are developing medical curricula which are explicit in ensuring students develop the professional competency and understand the values and attributes of this role. The purpose of this study was to determine student perception of professionalism at the University of Ottawa and gain insights for improvement in promotion of professionalism in undergraduate medical education.
Survey on student perception of professionalism in general, the curriculum and learning environment at the University of Ottawa, and the perception of student behaviors, was developed by faculty and students and sent electronically to all University of Ottawa medical students. The survey included both quantitative items including an adapted Pritzker list and qualitative responses to eight open ended questions on professionalism at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. All analyses were performed using SAS version 9.1 (SAS Institute Inc. Cary, NC, USA). Chi-square and Fischer’s exact test (for cell count less than 5) were used to derive p-values for categorical variables by level of student learning.
The response rate was 45.6% (255 of 559 students) for all four years of the curriculum. 63% of the responses were from students in years 1 and 2 (preclerkship). Students identified role modeling as the single most important aspect of professionalism. The strongest curricular recommendations included faculty-led case scenario sessions, enhancing interprofessional interactions and the creation of special awards to staff and students to “celebrate” professionalism. Current evaluation systems were considered least effective. The importance of role modeling and information on how to report lapses and breaches was highlighted in the answers to the open ended questions.
Students identify the need for strong positive role models in their learning environment, and for effective evaluation of the professionalism of students and teachers. Medical school leaders must facilitate development of these components within the MD education and faculty development programs as well as in clinical milieus where student learning occurs.
Professionalism; Curriculum; Undergraduate medical education; Learning environment
Although preparation for educational activities is considered beneficial for student learning, many students do not perform preparatory assignments. This phenomenon has received little attention in the literature although it might provide medical educators with the opportunity to enhance student learning. Therefore, we explored why students prepare or not prepare.
An explorative mixed methods study was performed. In a qualitative study, 24 short group interviews with medical undergraduate students (n=209) were conducted on why they prepared for skills training sessions. In a subsequent quantitative study the resulting themes were used to construct a questionnaire. The questionnaire was presented to all undergraduate medical students at Maastricht University and 847 students completed it. Scales were constructed by a combination of exploratory factor analysis, reliability analysis, and content analysis. Between-class differences in the scale scores were investigated using ANOVA.
The qualitative study showed that students’ opinions on preparation are influenced by both personal factors, categorized as ‘personal learning style’, ‘attitudes and beliefs’, and ‘planning and organization’, as well as external factors, including ‘preparatory advice’, ‘pressure, consequence, and checking of preparation’, ‘teacher-related motivations’, and ‘contents and schedule of the training sessions’. The quantitative study showed that ‘the objective structured clinical examination’ and ‘facilitation of both understanding and memorizing the learning material’, were the two most motivating items. The two most demotivating aspects were ‘other students saying that preparation was not useful’ and ‘indistinct preparatory advices’. Factor analyses yielded three scales: ‘urge to learn’, ‘expected difficulties’, and ‘lack of motivation‘. Between group differences were found between the three classes on the first two scales.
Students make an active and complex choice whether to prepare or not, based on multiple factors. Practical implications for educational practice are discussed.
Safe drug prescribing and administration are essential elements within undergraduate healthcare curricula, but medication errors, especially in paediatric practice, continue to compromise patient safety. In this area of clinical care, collective responsibility, team working and communication between health professionals have been identified as key elements in safe clinical practice. To date, there is limited research evidence as to how best to deliver teaching and learning of these competencies to practitioners of the future.
An interprofessional workshop to facilitate learning of knowledge, core competencies, communication and team working skills in paediatric drug prescribing and administration at undergraduate level was developed and evaluated. The practical, ward-based workshop was delivered to 4th year medical and 3rd year nursing students and evaluated using a pre and post workshop questionnaire with open-ended response questions.
Following the workshop, students reported an increase in their knowledge and awareness of paediatric medication safety and the causes of medication errors (p < 0.001), with the greatest increase noted among medical students. Highly significant changes in students' attitudes to shared learning were observed, indicating that safe medication practice is learnt more effectively with students from other healthcare disciplines. Qualitative data revealed that students' participation in the workshop improved communication and teamworking skills, and led to greater awareness of the role of other healthcare professionals.
This study has helped bridge the knowledge-skills gap, demonstrating how an interprofessional approach to drug prescribing and administration has the potential to improve quality and safety within healthcare.
In medical education, feedback from students is helpful in course evaluation. However, the impact of medical students' feedback on long-term course development is seldom reported. In this project we studied the correspondence between medical students' descriptive evaluations and key features of course development over five years.
Qualitative content analysis was used. The context was consultation skills courses in the middle of the Göteborg undergraduate curriculum during five years. An analysis of 158 students' descriptive evaluations was brought together with an analysis of key features of course development; learning objectives, course records, protocols from teachers' evaluations and field notes. Credibility of data was tested by two colleagues and by presenting themes at seminars and conferences. Authors' experiences of evaluating the course over many years were also used.
A corresponding pattern was found in students' descriptive evaluations and key features of course development, indicating the impact of students' open-ended feed-back. Support to facilitators and a curriculum reform also contributed.
Students' descriptive feedback was both initiating and validating longitudinal course implementation. During five years, students' descriptive evaluations and teachers' course records were crucial sources in a learner-centred knowledge-building process of course development.
Students' descriptive evaluations and course records can be seen as important instruments in developing both courses and students' learning. Continuity and endurance in the evaluation process must be emphasized for achieving relevant and useful results.
Over two-thirds of UK medical schools are augmenting their selection procedures for medical students by using the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), which employs tests of cognitive and non-cognitive personal qualities, but clear evidence of the tests’ predictive validity is lacking. This study explores whether academic performance and professional behaviours that are important in a health professional context can be predicted by these measures, when taken before or very early in the medical course.
This prospective cohort study follows the progress of the entire student cohort who entered Hull York Medical School in September 2007, having taken the UKCAT cognitive tests in 2006 and the non-cognitive tests a year later. This paper reports on the students’ first and second academic years of study. The main outcome measures were regular, repeated tutor assessment of individual students’ interpersonal skills and professional behaviour, and annual examination performance in the three domains of recall and application of knowledge, evaluation of data, and communication and practical clinical skills. The relationships between non-cognitive test scores, cognitive test scores, tutor assessments and examination results were explored using the Pearson product–moment correlations for each group of data; the data for students obtaining the top and bottom 20% of the summative examination results were compared using Analysis of Variance.
Personal qualities measured by non-cognitive tests showed a number of statistically significant relationships with ratings of behaviour made by tutors, with performance in each year’s objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), and with themed written summative examination marks in each year. Cognitive ability scores were also significantly related to each year’s examination results, but seldom to professional behaviours. The top 20% of examination achievers could be differentiated from the bottom 20% on both non-cognitive and cognitive measures.
This study shows numerous significant relationships between both cognitive and non-cognitive test scores, academic examination scores and indicators of professional behaviours in medical students. This suggests that measurement of non-cognitive personal qualities in applicants to medical school could make a useful contribution to selection and admission decisions. Further research is required in larger representative groups, and with more refined predictor measures and behavioural assessment methods, to establish beyond doubt the incremental validity of such measures over conventional cognitive assessments.
As assessment has been shown to direct learning, it is critical that the examinations developed to test clinical competence in medical undergraduates are valid and reliable. The use of extended matching questions (EMQ) has been advocated to overcome some of the criticisms of using multiple-choice questions to test factual and applied knowledge.
We analysed the results from the Extended Matching Questions Examination taken by 4th year undergraduate medical students in the academic year 2001 to 2002. Rasch analysis was used to examine whether the set of questions used in the examination mapped on to a unidimensional scale, the degree of difficulty of questions within and between the various medical and surgical specialties and the pattern of responses within individual questions to assess the impact of the distractor options.
Analysis of a subset of items and of the full examination demonstrated internal construct validity and the absence of bias on the majority of questions. Three main patterns of response selection were identified.
Modern psychometric methods based upon the work of Rasch provide a useful approach to the calibration and analysis of EMQ undergraduate medical assessments. The approach allows for a formal test of the unidimensionality of the questions and thus the validity of the summed score. Given the metric calibration which follows fit to the model, it also allows for the establishment of items banks to facilitate continuity and equity in exam standards.
To describe and implement a community paediatric placement in a school setting that teaches undergraduate medical students about intellectual disability that provides benefit to the community and is acceptable to both students and teachers.
Twenty six 4th year undergraduate medical students of the University of Newcastle completed their Paediatric studies based in Tamworth in 2004 & 2005 including an 8 week placement at Bullimbal School for Specific Purposes. The placement involved the students being actively involved in assisting with the delivery of a variety of activities aimed at improving the motor skills of a group of disabled children. De-identified data were obtained from completed evaluation surveys from 75% (21 of 26) of the medical students and from 100% (5 of 5) of the teachers.
All students and teachers found the placement was acceptable and enjoyed the placement and felt that it gave the medical students a greater understanding of children with disabilities. 80% (4 of 5) of the teachers involved in the program did not feel that its implementation added to their workload and all were enthusiastic to continue with the program.
Medical students can be effectively taught and have a valuable clinical experience in a school setting to learn about children with a disability. This educational innovation has provided a mutual benefit for both the medical students and the school children who participated in the program without impacting on the workloads of teachers.
The British medical student population has undergone rapid diversification over the last decades. This study focuses on medical students' views about their experiences in relation to ethnicity and gender during their undergraduate training within the context of the hidden curriculum in one British medical school as part of a wider qualitative research project into undergraduate medical education.
We interviewed 36 undergraduate medical students in one British Medical School, across all five years of training using a semi-structured interview schedule. We selected them by random and quota sampling, stratified by sex and ethnicity and used the whole medical school population as a sampling frame. Data analyses involved the identification of common themes, reported by means of illustrative quotations and simple counts.
The students provided information about variations patterned by gender in their motivation and influences when deciding to study medicine. Issues in relation to ethnicity were: gaining independence from parents, perceived limitations to career prospects, incompatibility of some religious beliefs with some medical practices and acquired open-mindedness towards students and patients from different ethnic backgrounds. Despite claiming no experiences of gender difference during medical training, female and male students expressed gender stereotypes, e.g. that women bring particularly caring and sympathetic attitudes to medicine, or that surgery requires the physical strength and competitiveness stereotypically associated with men that are likely to support the continuation of gender differentiation in medical careers.
The key themes identified in this paper in relation to ethnicity and to gender have important implications for medical educators and for those concerned with professional development. The results suggest a need to open up aspects of these relatively covert elements of student culture to scrutiny and debate and to take an explicitly wider view of the influence of what has sometimes been called the hidden curriculum upon the training of medical professionals and the practice of medicine.