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1.  Internal Medicine Clerkship Directors’ Perceptions About Student Interest in Internal Medicine Careers 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2008;23(7):1101-1104.
Experienced medical student educators may have insight into the reasons for declining interest in internal medicine (IM) careers, particularly general IM.
To identify factors that, according to IM clerkship directors, influence students’ decisions for specialty training in IM.
Cross-sectional national survey.
One hundred ten institutional members of Clerkship Directors in IM.
Frequency counts and percentages were reported for descriptive features of clerkships, residency match results, and clerkship directors’ perceptions of factors influencing IM career choice at participating schools. Perceptions were rated on a five-point scale (1 = very much pushes students away from IM careers; 5 = very much attracts students toward IM careers).
Survey response rate was 83/110 (76%); 80 answered IM career-choice questions. Clerkship directors identified three educational items attracting students to IM careers: quality of IM faculty (mean score 4.3, SD = 0.56) and IM rotation (4.1, SD = 0.67), and experiences with IM residents (3.9, SD = 0.94). Items felt most strongly to push students away from IM careers were current practice environment for internists (mean score 2.1, SD = 0.94), income (2.1, SD = 1.08), medical school debt (2.3, SD = 0.89), and work hours in IM (2.4, SD = 1.05). Factor analysis indicated three factors explaining students’ career choices: value/prestige of IM, clerkship experience, and exposure to internists.
IM clerkship directors believe that IM clerkship experiences attract students toward IM, whereas the income and lifestyle for practicing internists dissuade them. These results suggest that interventions to enhance the practice environment for IM could increase student interest in the field.
PMCID: PMC2517945  PMID: 18612752
career choice; education, medical, undergraduate; medical students, workforce
2.  "Making the grade:" noncognitive predictors of medical students' clinical clerkship grades. 
OBJECTIVES: Because clinical clerkship grades are associated with resident selection and performance and are largely based on residents'/attendings' subjective ratings, it is important to identify variables associated with clinical clerkship grades. METHODS: U.S. medical students who completed > or =1 of the following required clinical clerkships--internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics, neurology and psychiatry--were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey, which inquired about demographics, degree program, perceived quality of clerkship experiences, assertiveness, reticence and clerkship grades. RESULTS: A total of 2395 medical students (55% women; 57% whites) from 105 schools responded. Multivariable logistic regression models identified factors independently associated with receiving lower clerkship grades (high pass/pass or B/C) compared with the highest grade (honors or A). Students reporting higher quality of clerkship experiences were less likely to report lower grades in all clerkships. Older students more likely reported lower grades in internal medicine (P = 0.02) and neurology (P < 0.001). Underrepresented minorities more likely reported lower grades in all clerkships (P < 0.001); Asians more likely reported lower grades in obstetrics/gynecology (P = 0.007), pediatrics (P = 0.01) and neurology (P = 0.01). Men more likely reported lower grades in obstetrics/gynecology (P < 0.001) and psychiatry (P = 0.004). Students reporting greater reticence more likely reported lower grades in internal medicine (P = 0.02), pediatrics (P = 0.02) and psychiatry (P < 0.05). Students reporting greater assertiveness less likely reported lower grades in all clerkships (P < 0.03) except IM. CONCLUSIONS: The independent associations between lower clerkship grades and nonwhite race, male gender, older age, lower quality of clerkship experiences, and being less assertive and more reticent are concerning and merit further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2574397  PMID: 17987918
3.  Residents as Role Models: The Effect of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship on Medical Students' Career Interest 
Medical students' choice of residency specialty is based in part on their clerkship experience. Postclerkship interest in a particular specialty is associated with the students' choice to pursue a career in that field. But, many medical students have a poor perception of their obstetrics and gynecology clerkships.
To determine whether fourth-year medical students' perceptions of teaching quality and quantity and amount of experiential learning during the obstetrics-gynecology clerkship helped determine their interest in obstetrics-gynecology as a career choice.
We distributed an anonymous, self-administered survey to all third-year medical students rotating through their required obstetrics and gynecology clerkship from November 2006 to May 2007. We performed bivariate analysis and used χ2 analysis to explore factors associated with general interest in obstetrics and gynecology and interest in pursuing obstetrics and gynecology as a career.
Eighty-one students (N  =  91, 89% response rate) participated. Postclerkship career interest in obstetrics and gynecology was associated with perceptions that the residents behaved professionally (P < .0001) and that the students were treated as part of a team (P  =  .008). Having clear expectations on labor and delivery procedures (P  =  .014) was associated with postclerkship career interest. Specific hands-on experiences were not statistically associated with postclerkship career interest. However, performing more speculum examinations in the operating room trended toward having some influence (P  =  .068). Although more women than men were interested in obstetrics and gynecology as a career both before (P  =  .027) and after (P  =  .014) the clerkship, men were more likely to increase their level of career interest during the clerkship (P  =  .024).
Clerkship factors associated with greater postclerkship interest include higher satisfaction with resident professional behavior and students' sense of inclusion in the clinical team. Obstetrics and gynecology programs need to emphasize to residents their role as educators and professional role models for medical students.
PMCID: PMC2951771  PMID: 21976080
4.  Medical Students' Exposure to and Attitudes about the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(5):e1001037.
A systematic review of published studies reveals that undergraduate medical students may experience substantial exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, and that this contact may be associated with positive attitudes about marketing.
The relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has become a source of controversy. Physicians' attitudes towards the industry can form early in their careers, but little is known about this key stage of development.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review reported according to PRISMA guidelines to determine the frequency and nature of medical students' exposure to the drug industry, as well as students' attitudes concerning pharmaceutical policy issues. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and ERIC from the earliest available dates through May 2010, as well as bibliographies of selected studies. We sought original studies that reported quantitative or qualitative data about medical students' exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, their attitudes about marketing practices, relationships with industry, and related pharmaceutical policy issues. Studies were separated, where possible, into those that addressed preclinical versus clinical training, and were quality rated using a standard methodology. Thirty-two studies met inclusion criteria. We found that 40%–100% of medical students reported interacting with the pharmaceutical industry. A substantial proportion of students (13%–69%) were reported as believing that gifts from industry influence prescribing. Eight studies reported a correlation between frequency of contact and favorable attitudes toward industry interactions. Students were more approving of gifts to physicians or medical students than to government officials. Certain attitudes appeared to change during medical school, though a time trend was not performed; for example, clinical students (53%–71%) were more likely than preclinical students (29%–62%) to report that promotional information helps educate about new drugs.
Undergraduate medical education provides substantial contact with pharmaceutical marketing, and the extent of such contact is associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism about negative implications of these interactions. These results support future research into the association between exposure and attitudes, as well as any modifiable factors that contribute to attitudinal changes during medical education.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The complex relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has long been a subject of discussion among physicians and policymakers. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that physicians' interactions with pharmaceutical sales representatives may influence clinical decision making in a way that is not always in the best interests of individual patients, for example, encouraging the use of expensive treatments that have no therapeutic advantage over less costly alternatives. The pharmaceutical industry often uses physician education as a marketing tool, as in the case of Continuing Medical Education courses that are designed to drive prescribing practices.
One reason that physicians may be particularly susceptible to pharmaceutical industry marketing messages is that doctors' attitudes towards the pharmaceutical industry may form early in their careers. The socialization effect of professional schooling is strong, and plays a lasting role in shaping views and behaviors.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recently, particularly in the US, some medical schools have limited students' and faculties' contact with industry, but some have argued that these restrictions are detrimental to students' education. Given the controversy over the pharmaceutical industry's role in undergraduate medical training, consolidating current knowledge in this area may be useful for setting priorities for changes to educational practices. In this study, the researchers systematically examined studies of pharmaceutical industry interactions with medical students and whether such interactions influenced students' views on related topics.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers did a comprehensive literature search using appropriate search terms for all relevant quantitative and qualitative studies published before June 2010. Using strict inclusion criteria, the researchers then selected 48 articles (from 1,603 abstracts) for full review and identified 32 eligible for analysis—giving a total of approximately 9,850 medical students studying at 76 medical schools or hospitals.
Most students had some form of interaction with the pharmaceutical industry but contact increased in the clinical years, with up to 90% of all clinical students receiving some form of educational material. The highest level of exposure occurred in the US. In most studies, the majority of students in their clinical training years found it ethically permissible for medical students to accept gifts from drug manufacturers, while a smaller percentage of preclinical students reported such attitudes. Students justified their entitlement to gifts by citing financial hardship or by asserting that most other students accepted gifts. In addition, although most students believed that education from industry sources is biased, students variably reported that information obtained from industry sources was useful and a valuable part of their education.
Almost two-thirds of students reported that they were immune to bias induced by promotion, gifts, or interactions with sales representatives but also reported that fellow medical students or doctors are influenced by such encounters. Eight studies reported a relationship between exposure to the pharmaceutical industry and positive attitudes about industry interactions and marketing strategies (although not all included supportive statistical data). Finally, student opinions were split on whether physician–industry interactions should be regulated by medical schools or the government.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This analysis shows that students are frequently exposed to pharmaceutical marketing, even in the preclinical years, and that the extent of students' contact with industry is generally associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism towards any negative implications of interactions with industry. Therefore, strategies to educate students about interactions with the pharmaceutical industry should directly address widely held misconceptions about the effects of marketing and other biases that can emerge from industry interactions. But education alone may be insufficient. Institutional policies, such as rules regulating industry interactions, can play an important role in shaping students' attitudes, and interventions that decrease students' contact with industry and eliminate gifts may have a positive effect on building the skills that evidence-based medical practice requires. These changes can help cultivate strong professional values and instill in students a respect for scientific principles and critical evidence review that will later inform clinical decision-making and prescribing practices.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Further information about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on doctors and medical students can be found at the American Medical Students Association PharmFree campaign and PharmFree Scorecard, Medsin-UKs PharmAware campaign, the nonprofit organization Healthy Skepticism, and the Web site of No Free Lunch.
PMCID: PMC3101205  PMID: 21629685
5.  Influence of Assigned Reading on Senior Medical Student Clinical Performance 
This Institutional Review Board-approved, prospective, observational study compared the clinical performance of senior medical students in an emergency medicine (EM) clerkship using a clinical behavioral evaluation tool in which one group had mandatory, topic specific readings and the other did not.
The study took place in an urban, tertiary referral center emergency department treating 43,000 patients annually and supporting medical student clerkships and an EM residency. The grades of two groups of senior medical students participating in an elective EM clerkship were compared. Those students during the 2002–2004 academic years were not assigned mandatory, topic-specific reading for the clerkship, while those during the 2004–2007 academic years were. The groups were compared on baseline demographic information, prior academic performance, and EM clerkship grade distributions using appropriate statistical techniques, including multinomial logistic regression, chi-square tests, and Fisher’s Exact tests.
The control and experimental groups each had 83 subjects and were similar in baseline characteristics, except for the control group performing better than the experimental group during the basic science training of medical school (years 1–2; p=0.01). The experimental group had statistically significant more members in the EM Interest Group (EMIG; p=0.0001) and more members who went on to match in an EM residency (p=0.0007). The difference in grade distributions between the control group and experimental group was not statistically significant (p=0.40). Of note, those student members of the EMIG (p=0.0005) and those later matching to an emergency medicine residency (p<0.0001) were more likely to earn a grade of “honors” for the clerkship.
The addition of uniform, topic-specific reading assignments to an EM senior medical student curriculum does not improve the overall clinical performance of those students as measured using a clinical behavioral evaluation tool.
PMCID: PMC2672302  PMID: 19561764
6.  Evaluating team-based, lecture-based, and hybrid learning methods for neurology clerkship in China: a method-comparison study 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:98.
Neurology is complex, abstract, and difficult for students to learn. However, a good learning method for neurology clerkship training is required to help students quickly develop strong clinical thinking as well as problem-solving skills. Both the traditional lecture-based learning (LBL) and the relatively new team-based learning (TBL) methods have inherent strengths and weaknesses when applied to neurology clerkship education. However, the strengths of each method may complement the weaknesses of the other. Combining TBL with LBL may produce better learning outcomes than TBL or LBL alone. We propose a hybrid method (TBL + LBL) and designed an experiment to compare the learning outcomes with those of pure LBL and pure TBL.
One hundred twenty-seven fourth-year medical students attended a two-week neurology clerkship program organized by the Department of Neurology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital. All of the students were from Grade 2007, Department of Clinical Medicine, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University. These students were assigned to one of three groups randomly: Group A (TBL + LBL, with 41 students), Group B (LBL, with 43 students), and Group C (TBL, with 43 students). The learning outcomes were evaluated by a questionnaire and two tests covering basic knowledge of neurology and clinical practice.
The practice test scores of Group A were similar to those of Group B, but significantly higher than those of Group C. The theoretical test scores and the total scores of Group A were significantly higher than those of Groups B and C. In addition, 100% of the students in Group A were satisfied with the combination of TBL + LBL.
Our results support our proposal that the combination of TBL + LBL is acceptable to students and produces better learning outcomes than either method alone in neurology clerkships. In addition, the proposed hybrid method may also be suited for other medical clerkships that require students to absorb a large amount of abstract and complex course materials in a short period, such as pediatrics and internal medicine clerkships.
PMCID: PMC4037118  PMID: 24884854
Lecture-based learning; Team-based learning; Neurology; Clerkship; Hybrid learning method
7.  Improving the National Board of Medical Examiners Internal Medicine Subject Exam for Use in Clerkship Evaluation 
To provide a consensus opinion on modifying the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Medicine Subject Exam (Shelf) to: 1) reflect the internal medicine clerkship curriculum, developed by the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) and the Clerkship Directors in Internal Medicine (CDIM); 2) emphasize knowledge important for a clerkship student; and 3) obtain feedback about students' performances on the Shelf.
Two-round Delphi technique.
The CDIM Research and Evaluation Committee and CDIM members on NBME Step 2 Committees.
Using 1–5 Likert scales (5 = highest ratings), the group rated test question content for relevance to the SGIM–CDIM Curriculum Guide and importance for clerkship students' knowledge. The Shelf content is organized into 4 physician tasks and into 11 sections that are generally organ system based. Each iteration of the Shelf has 100 questions. Participants indicated a desired distribution of questions by physician task and section, topics critical for inclusion on each exam, and new topics to include. They specified the types of feedback clerkship directors desired on students' performances. Following the first round, participants viewed pooled results prior to submitting their second-round responses.
Of 15 individuals contacted, 12 (80%) participated in each round. The desired distribution by physician task was: diagnosis (43), treatment (23), mechanism of disease (20), and health maintenance (15). The sections with the most questions requested were the cardiovascular (17), respiratory (15), and gastroenterology (12) sections. The fewest were requested in aging/ethics (4) and neurology, dermatology, and immunology (5 each). Examples of low-rated content were Wilson's Disease, chancroid and tracheal rupture (all <2.0). Health maintenance in type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease all received 5.0 ratings. Participants desired feedback by: section (4.6) and physician task (3.9), on performances of the entire class (4.0), and for individual students (3.8).
Clerkship directors identified test content that was relevant to the curricular content and important for clerkship students to know, and they indicated a desired question distribution. They would most like feedback on their students' performance by organ system–based sections for the complete academic year. This collaborative effort could serve as a model for aligning national exams with course goals.
PMCID: PMC1495056  PMID: 12133157
clinical clerkship; clinical competance; student evaluation; undergraduate education
8.  Improving the Physical Diagnosis Skills of Third-year Medical Students 
To determine if a literature-based physical diagnosis curriculum could improve student knowledge, skill, and self-confidence in physical diagnosis.
Prospective controlled trial of an educational intervention.
Required internal medicine clerkship for third-year medical students at Brown Medical School.
Third-year medical students who completed the internal medicine clerkship during the academic year 1999–2000: 32 students at 1 clerkship site received the intervention; a total of 50 students at 3 other clerkship sites served as controls.
Physical diagnosis curriculum based on 8 articles from the Journal of the American Medical Association's Rational Clinical Examination series. Intervention students met weekly for 1 hour with a preceptor to review each article, discuss the sensitivity and specificity of the maneuvers and findings, and practice the techniques with an inpatient who agreed to be visited and examined.
Physical diagnosis knowledge for the 8 topics was evaluated using a 22-item multiple choice question quiz, skill was evaluated using trained evaluators, and self-confidence was assessed using an end-of-clerkship survey. Intervention students scored significantly higher than the control group on the knowledge quiz (mean correct score 70% vs 63%, P = .002), skills assessment (mean correct score 90% vs 54%, P < .001), and self-confidence score (mean total score 40 vs 35, P = .003), and they expressed greater satisfaction with the physical diagnosis teaching they received in the clerkship.
This physical diagnosis curriculum was successful in improving students' knowledge, skill, and self-confidence in physical diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC1494895  PMID: 12911648
physical diagnosis; medical education; clinical examination
9.  Are students ready for meaningful use? 
Medical Education Online  2013;18:10.3402/meo.v18i0.22495.
The meaningful use (MU) of electronic medical records (EMRs) is being implemented in three stages. Key objectives of stage one include electronic analysis of data entered into structured fields, using decision-support tools (e.g., checking drug–drug interactions [DDI]) and electronic information exchange.
The authors assessed the performance of medical students on 10 stage-one MU tasks and measured the correlation between students’ MU performance and subsequent end-of-clerkship professionalism assessments and their grades on an end-of-year objective structured clinical examination.
Two-hundred and twenty-two third-year medical students on the internal medicine (IM) clerkship.
Design/main measures
From July 2010 to February 2012, all students viewed 15 online tutorials covering MU competencies. The authors measured student MU documentation and performance in the chart of a virtual patient using a fully functional training EMR. Specific MU measurements included, adding: a new problem, a new medication, an advanced directive, smoking status, the results of screening tests; and performing a DDI (in which a major interaction was probable), and communicating a plan for this interaction.
Key results
A total of 130 MU errors were identified. Sixty-eight (30.6%) students had at least one error, and 30 (13.5%) had more than one (range 2–6). Of the 130 errors, 90 (69.2%) were errors in structured data entry. Errors occurred in medication dosing and instructions (18%), DDI identification (12%), documenting smoking status (15%), and colonoscopy results (23%). Students with MU errors demonstrated poorer performance on end-of-clerkship professionalism assessments (r =−0.112, p=0.048) and lower observed structured clinical examination (OSCE) history-taking skills (r =−0.165, p=0.008) and communication scores (r= − 0.173, p=0.006).
MU errors among medical students are common and correlate with subsequent poor performance in multiple educational domains. These results indicate that without assessment and feedback, a substantial minority of students may not be ready to progress to more advanced MU tasks.
PMCID: PMC3835789  PMID: 24256741
documentation/methods; electronic health records; professional competence; students; medical; curriculum
10.  A Cross-sectional Measurement of Medical Student Empathy 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2007;22(10):1434-1438.
Empathy is important in the physician–patient relationship. Prior studies have suggested that physician empathy may decline with clinical training.
To measure and examine student empathy across medical school years.
Design and Participants
A cross-sectional study of students at Boston University School of Medicine in 2006. Incoming students plus each class near the end of the academic year were surveyed.
The Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy–Student Version (JSPE-S), a validated 20-item self-administered questionnaire with a total score ranging from 20 to 140. JSPE-S scores were controlled for potential confounders such as gender, age, anticipated financial debt upon graduation, and future career interest.
658 students participated in the study (81.4% of the school population). The first-year medical student class had the highest empathy scores (118.5), whereas the fourth-year class had the lowest empathy scores (106.6). Measured empathy differed between second- and third-year classes (118.2 vs 112.7, P < .001), corresponding to the first year of clinical training. Empathy appears to increase from the incoming to the first-year class (115.5 vs 118.5, P = .02). Students preferring people-oriented specialties had higher empathy scores than students preferring technology-oriented specialties (114.6 vs 111.4, P = .002). Female students were more likely than male students to choose people-oriented specialties (51.5 vs 26.9%, P < .001). Females had higher JSPE-S scores than males (116.5 vs 112.1, P < .001). Age and debt did not affect empathy scores.
Empathy scores of students in the preclinical years were higher than in the clinical years. Efforts are needed to determine whether differences in empathy scores among the classes are cohort effects or represent changes occurring in the course of medical education. Future research is needed to confirm whether clinical training impacts empathy negatively, and, if so, whether interventions can be designed to mitigate this impact.
PMCID: PMC2305857  PMID: 17653807
empathy; medical student education; physician attitudes
11.  The Association of Student Examination Performance with Faculty and Resident Ratings Using a Modified RIME Process 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2008;23(7):1020-1023.
RIME is a descriptive framework in which students and their teachers can gauge progress throughout a clerkship from R (reporter) to I (interpreter) to M (manager) to E (educator). RIME, as described in the literature, is complemented by residents and attending physicians meeting with a clerkship director to discuss individual student progress, with group discussion resulting in assignment of a RIME stage.
1) to determine whether a student’s RIME rating is associated with end-of-clerkship examination performance; and 2) to determine whose independent RIME rating is most predictive of a student’s examination performance: attendings, residents, or interns.
Prospective cohort study.
Third year medical students from academic years 2004–2005 and early 2005–2006 at 1 medical school.
Measurements and Main Results
Each attending, resident, and intern independently assessed the student’s final RIME stage attained. For the purpose of analysis, R stage=1, I=2, M=3, and E=4. Regression analyses were performed with examination scores as dependent variables (National Board of Medical Examiners [NBME] medicine subject examination and a clinical performance examination [CPE]), with independent variables of mean attending RIME score, mean resident score, and mean intern score. For the 122 students, significant predictors of NBME subject exam score were resident RIME rating (p = .008) and intern RIME rating (p = .02). Significant predictor of CPE performance was resident RIME rating (p = .01).
House staff RIME ratings of students are associated with student performance on written and clinical skills examinations.
PMCID: PMC2517939  PMID: 18612736
medical education; clinical evaluation; medical students
12.  Effect of the Inpatient General Medicine Rotation on Student Pursuit of a Generalist Career 
Entry into general internal medicine (GIM) has declined. The effect of the inpatient general medicine rotation on medical student career choices is uncertain.
To assess the effect of student satisfaction with the inpatient general medicine rotation on pursuit of a career in GIM.
Multicenter cohort study.
Third-year medical students between July 2001 and June 2003.
End-of-internal medicine clerkship survey assessed satisfaction with the rotation using a 5-point Likert scale. Pursuit of a career in GIM defined as: (1) response of “Very Likely” or “Certain” to the question “How likely are you to pursue a career in GIM?”; and (2) entry into an internal medicine residency using institutional match data.
Four hundred and two of 751 (54%) students responded. Of the student respondents, 307 (75%) matched in the 2 years following their rotations. Twenty-eight percent (87) of those that matched chose an internal medicine residency. Of these, 8% (25/307) were pursuing a career in GIM. Adjusting for site and preclerkship interest, overall satisfaction with the rotation predicted pursuit of a career in GIM (odds ratio [OR] 3.91, P<.001). Although satisfaction with individual items did not predict pursuit of a generalist career, factor analysis revealed 3 components of satisfaction (attending, resident, and teaching). Adjusting for preclerkship interest, 2 factors (attending and teaching) were associated with student pursuit of a career in GIM (P<.01).
Increased satisfaction with the inpatient general medicine rotation promotes pursuit of a career in GIM.
PMCID: PMC1484782  PMID: 16704390
medical student; career interest; general internal medicine
13.  How an ethics workshop for preceptors affects medical students. 
Canadian Family Physician  1994;40:1292-1298.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether a workshop on medical ethics attended by family medicine preceptors would affect their students' learning of ethics, and what educational and experiential factors affected the students' learning about ethics. DESIGN: A 3-hour workshop planned by a group of family physicians and ethicists and taught by a faculty member and an ethicist was offered to family physician preceptors. Students entering the clerkship were invited by letter to complete written answers to two clinical papers. Their answers were compared with "ideal" answers based on a weighted composite of the responses of 12 family physicians with a particular interest in ethics. The scores of students assigned to preceptors who had been offered the workshop were compared with those of students assigned to a control group of preceptors. Clerks were also asked about influences on their answers. PARTICIPANTS: The 86 preceptors participating in the family medicine programs at the University of Western Ontario, divided by random selection within geographic clustering into an experimental group of 50 and a control group of 36. Preceptors offered the workshop were considered to be in the experimental group whether or not they attended. The student questionnaire was sent to all students entering the family medicine clerkship program in the academic year 1989-1990 and some in the following year, until sufficient responses were received. Responses were analyzed from 32 clerks in the experimental group and 36 in the control group. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Performance of students whose preceptors were invited to the workshop against performance of students whose preceptors were not invited to the workshop. RESULTS: No significant differences were noted between the performance of students whose preceptors were offered the workshop and those whose preceptors were not. CONCLUSION: The single outcome measure and the volunteer bias make conclusions difficult to draw. Further studies varying interventions and outcome measures are warranted.
PMCID: PMC2380146  PMID: 8086844
14.  Exposure to Death is Associated with Positive Attitudes and Higher Knowledge About End-of-Life Care in Graduating Medical Students 
Journal of Palliative Medicine  2008;11(9):1227-1233.
To examine the relationship between exposure to death and attitudes and knowledge about end-of-life care in graduating medical students.
Participants and methods
Survey of students graduating from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine between 2001 and 2006. Students reported their personal experience with death and their exposure to death and dying patients during medical school. They rated their agreement, on a 4-point Likert scale, with 8 attitude items that were previously used in a national survey. Knowledge about end-of-life care was assessed with a 15-item test about pain and symptom management, ethics, treatment appropriateness, and hospice.
Three hundred and eighty students completed the survey; the response rate was 47%. Seventy-six percent of students reported personal experience with death, and 73% reported caring for dying patients or witnessing a patient's death during their third-year clerkships. Students had positive attitudes about physicians' responsibility and ability to help dying patients and their families, but reported negative emotional reactions to end-of-life care. Students who reported personal or professional experience with death had more positive attitudes and higher knowledge scores than those who did not, p < 0.05.
Educational initiatives should maximize the time medical students spend caring for dying patients. Teaching students end-of-life care during the course of their clinical clerkships is an effective way to improve attitudes about end-of-life care. Schools should focus on developing emotionally supportive settings in which to teach students about death and dying.
PMCID: PMC2941667  PMID: 19021486
15.  Intercalated degrees, learning styles, and career preferences: prospective longitudinal study of UK medical students 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1999;319(7209):542-546.
To assess the effects of taking an intercalated degree (BSc) on the study habits and learning styles of medical students and on their interest in a career in medical research.
Longitudinal questionnaire study of medical students at application to medical school and in their final year.
All UK medical schools.
6901 medical school applicants for admission in 1991 were studied in the autumn of 1990. 3333 entered medical school in 1991 or 1992, and 2695 who were due to qualify in 1996 or 1997 were studied 3 months before the end of their clinical course. Response rates were 92% for applicants and 56% for final year students.
Main outcome measures
Study habits (surface, deep, and strategic learning style) and interest in different medical careers, including medical research. Identical questions were used at time of application and in final year.
Students who had taken an intercalated degree had higher deep and strategic learning scores than at application to medical school. Those with highest degree classes had higher strategic and deep learning scores and lower surface learning scores. Students taking intercalated degrees showed greater interest in careers in medical research and laboratory medicine and less interest in general practice than their peers. The effects of the course on interest in medical research and learning styles were independent. The effect of the intercalated degree was greatest in schools where relatively few students took intercalated degrees.
Intercalated degrees result in a greater interest in research careers and higher deep and strategic learning scores. However, the effects are much reduced in schools where most students intercalate a degree. Introduction of intercalated degrees for all medical students without sufficient resources may not therefore achieve its expected effects.
Key messagesAlthough intercalated degrees are well established, little is known about their effect on medical studentsIn this longitudinal study final year students who had taken intercalated degree were more interested in medical research, and had higher deep and strategic learning style scores than other studentsThe effects of the intercalated degree were dose dependent, being greatest in those gaining a first class degreeThe effects of the intercalated degree were greatest in medical schools where a relatively small proportion of medical students took the degree.Differences between medical schools are most easily explained by resource dilution
PMCID: PMC28204  PMID: 10463892
16.  Impact of a Pre-Clinical Clinical Skills Curriculum on Student Performance in Third-Year Clerkships 
Research on the outcomes of pre-clinical curricula for clinical skills development is needed to assess their influence on medical student performance in clerkships.
To better understand the impact of a clinical-skills curriculum in the pre-clinical setting on student performance.
We conducted a non-randomized, retrospective, pre-post review of student performance evaluations from 3rd-year clerkships, before and after implementation of a clinical-skills curriculum, the Colleges (2001–2007).
Comparisons of clerkship performance data revealed statistically significant differences favoring the post-Colleges group in the Internal Medicine clerkship for 9 of 12 clinical-skills domains, including Technical Communication Skills (p < 0.023, effect size 0.16), Procedural Skills (p < 0.031, effect size 0.17), Communication Skills (p < 0.003, effect size 0.21), Patient Relationships (p < 0.003, effect size 0.21), Professional Relationships (p < 0.021, effect size 0.17), Educational Attitudes (p < 0.001, effect size 0.24), Initiative and Interest (p < 0.032, effect size 0.15), Attendance and Participation (p < 0.007, effect size 0.19), and Dependability (p < 0.008, effect size 0.19). Statistically significant differences were identified favoring the post-Colleges group in technical communication skills for three of six basic clerkships (Internal Medicine, Surgery, and Pediatrics).
Implementation of a pre-clinical fundamental skills curriculum appears to be associated with improved clerkship performance in the 3rd year of medical school, particularly in the Internal Medicine clerkship. Similar curricula, focused on teaching clinical skills in small groups at the bedside with personalized mentoring from faculty members, may improve student performance. Continued efforts are needed to understand how to best prepare students for clinical clerkships and how to evaluate outcomes of similar pre-clinical skills programs.
PMCID: PMC2710476  PMID: 19521738
medical education; clinical skills; medical students; pre-clinical; curriculum
17.  Using a formative simulated patient exercise for curriculum evaluation 
It is not clear that teaching specific history taking, physical examination and patient teaching techniques to medical students results in durable behavioural changes. We used a quasi-experimental design that approximated a randomized double blinded trial to examine whether a Participatory Decision-Making (PDM) educational module taught in a clerkship improves performance on a Simulated Patient Exercise (SPE) in another clerkship, and how this is influenced by the time between training and assessment.
Third year medical students in an internal medicine clerkship were assessed on their use of PDM skills in an SPE conducted in the second week of the clerkship. The rotational structure of the third year clerkships formed a pseudo-randomized design where students had 1) completed the family practice clerkship containing a training module on PDM skills approximately four weeks prior to the SPE, 2) completed the family medicine clerkship and the training module approximately 12 weeks prior to the SPE or 3) had not completed the family medicine clerkship and the PDM training module at the time they were assessed via the SPE.
Based on limited pilot data there were statistically significant differences between students who received PDM training approximately four weeks prior to the SPE and students who received training approximately 12 weeks prior to the SPE. Students who received training 12 weeks prior to the SPE performed better than those who received training four weeks prior to the SPE. In a second comparison students who received training four weeks prior to the SPE performed better than those who did not receive training but the differences narrowly missed statistical significance (P < 0.05).
This pilot study demonstrated the feasibility of a methodology for conducting rigorous curricular evaluations using natural experiments based on the structure of clinical rotations. In addition, it provided preliminary data suggesting targeted educational interventions can result in marked improvements in the clinical skills spontaneously exhibited by physician trainees in a setting different from which the skills were taught.
PMCID: PMC419360  PMID: 15140263
18.  Prolonged Delays for Research Training in Medical School are Associated with Poorer Subsequent Clinical Knowledge 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2007;22(8):1101-1106.
Complementary degree programs and research training are important alternative tracks in medical school that typically interrupt the traditional MD curriculum.
Examine effects of such a break on clinical knowledge after reentry into the MD curriculum.
Retrospective cohort study.
Three hundred and two graduates of Mayo Medical School.
Main Measurements
Compared years of delay between the second and third years of medical school with third year clerkship grades, National Board of Medical Examiner’s (NBME) Subject Examinations, and United States Medical License Exam (USMLE) Step 2.
Main Results
258, 13, and 31 students spent 0, 1, or ≥3 years pursing research between the second and third year. Baseline measures of knowledge before matriculation and before the third year were similar between groups. Whereas a 1-year delay had no significant effect, a ≥3-year delay was associated with fewer clerkship honors and lower NBME Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry percentiles compared to no delay (all p < .05). Students with a ≥3-year delay had a 77% reduction in the odds of honors in Medicine. For each year of delay beyond 3, students’ third-year NBME Medicine, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Psychiatry scores decreased as did USMLE Step 2 scores (r = −.38 to −.50, p < .05).
Delays of ≥3 years between the second and third years of medical school are associated with lower grades and scores on clinical knowledge tests. Further research is needed to determine the optimal timing of research training and develop effective interventions to facilitate reentry into the medical school curriculum.
PMCID: PMC2305740  PMID: 17492473
students; medical; education; undergraduate; research; USMLE; NBME subject examination; clerkship grade; clerkship honors
19.  The Effect of Student Gender on the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clerkship Experience 
Journal of Women's Health  2010;19(1):87-92.
To explore the effects of the students' gender on their perception of quality and quantity of teaching, the amount of experiential learning, and their interest in obstetrics and gynecology.
Anonymous, self-administered surveys to third-year medical students rotating on the obstetrics and gynecology clerkship.
Eighty-one of 91 students participated (89% response rate): 33 men, 46 women, 2 declined to reveal their gender. No significant gender differences existed regarding number of interactions with residents and faculty; number of deliveries, surgeries, or examinations performed; perceived quality of teaching; or feeling included as part of the clinical team. Male students were more likely to report performing specific surgical procedures, such as operating the bovie cautery during gynecological surgeries (p = 0.005). More men experienced patients refusing to allow them to participate in the clinical interview (p < 0.0001) and physical examination (p < 0.0001). Male students were also more likely to report feeling that their gender negatively impacted their clerkship experience (p < 0.0001). Although less likely to report preclerkship and postclerkship career interest in obstetrics and gynecology, male students were more likely to report that their interest increased at the end of the clerkship.
Male students were more likely to experience gender bias from patients on the obstetrics and gynecology service. Male students also described feeling socially excluded from female-dominated clinical teams. Obstetrics and gynecology educators need to consider methods of encouraging patients to accept medical student participation regardless of gender. Obstetrics and gynecology faculty and residents need to be sensitive to subtle forms of gender bias and ensure equal inclusion for both male and female medical students.
PMCID: PMC2828191  PMID: 20088663
20.  A new method for the assessment of patient safety competencies during a medical school clerkship using an objective structured clinical examination 
Clinics  2011;66(7):1209-1215.
Patient safety is seldom assessed using objective evaluations during undergraduate medical education.
To evaluate the performance of fifth-year medical students using an objective structured clinical examination focused on patient safety after implementation of an interactive program based on adverse events recognition and disclosure.
In 2007, a patient safety program was implemented in the internal medicine clerkship of our hospital. The program focused on human error theory, epidemiology of incidents, adverse events, and disclosure. Upon completion of the program, students completed an objective structured clinical examination with five stations and standardized patients. One station focused on patient safety issues, including medical error recognition/disclosure, the patient-physician relationship and humanism issues. A standardized checklist was completed by each standardized patient to assess the performance of each student. The student's global performance at each station and performance in the domains of medical error, the patient-physician relationship and humanism were determined. The correlations between the student performances in these three domains were calculated.
A total of 95 students participated in the objective structured clinical examination. The mean global score at the patient safety station was 87.59±1.24 points. Students' performance in the medical error domain was significantly lower than their performance on patient-physician relationship and humanistic issues. Less than 60% of students (n = 54) offered the simulated patient an apology after a medical error occurred. A significant correlation was found between scores obtained in the medical error domains and scores related to both the patient-physician relationship and humanistic domains.
An objective structured clinical examination is a useful tool to evaluate patient safety competencies during the medical student clerkship.
PMCID: PMC3148466  PMID: 21876976
Organized Structured Clinical Examination; Patient Safety; Medical Education; Assessment; Clerkship
21.  Development and Evaluation of a Palliative Medicine Curriculum for Third-Year Medical Students 
Journal of Palliative Medicine  2012;15(11):1198-1217.
To assess the impact, retention, and magnitude of effect of a required didactic and experiential palliative care curriculum on third-year medical students' knowledge, confidence, and concerns about end-of-life care, over time and in comparison to benchmark data from a national study of internal medicine residents and faculty.
Prospective study of third-year medical students prior to and immediately after course completion, with a follow-up assessment in the fourth year, and in comparison to benchmark data from a large national study.
Internal Medicine Clerkship in a public accredited medical school.
Five hundred ninety-three third-year medical students, from July 2002 to December 2007.
Main outcome measures
Pre- and postinstruction performance on: knowledge, confidence (self-assessed competence), and concerns (attitudes) about end-of-life care measures, validated in a national study of internal medicine residents and faculty. Medical student's reflective written comments were qualitatively assessed.
Required 32-hour didactic and experiential curriculum, including home hospice visits and inpatient hospice care, with content drawn from the AMA-sponsored Education for Physicians on End-of-life Care (EPEC) Project.
Analysis of 487 paired t tests shows significant improvements, with 23% improvement in knowledge (F1,486=881, p<0.001), 56% improvement in self-reported competence (F1,486=2,804, p<0.001), and 29% decrease in self-reported concern (F1,486=208, p<0.001). Retesting medical students in the fourth year showed a further 5% increase in confidence (p<0.0002), 13% increase in allaying concerns (p<0.0001), but a 6% drop in knowledge. The curriculum's effect size on M3 students' knowledge (0.56) exceeded that of a national cross-sectional study comparing residents at progressive training levels (0.18) Themes identified in students' reflective comments included perceived relevance, humanism, and effectiveness of methods used to teach and assess palliative care education.
We conclude that required structured didactic and experiential palliative care during the clinical clerkship year of medical student education shows significant and largely sustained effects indicating students are better prepared than a national sample of residents and attending physicians.
PMCID: PMC3533838  PMID: 22845026
22.  Teaching medical students a clinical approach to altered mental status: simulation enhances traditional curriculum 
Medical Education Online  2013;18:10.3402/meo.v18i0.19775.
Simulation-based medical education (SBME) is increasingly being utilized for teaching clinical skills in undergraduate medical education. Studies have evaluated the impact of adding SBME to third- and fourth-year curriculum; however, very little research has assessed its efficacy for teaching clinical skills in pre-clerkship coursework. To measure the impact of a simulation exercise during a pre-clinical curriculum, a simulation session was added to a pre-clerkship course at our medical school where the clinical approach to altered mental status (AMS) is traditionally taught using a lecture and an interactive case-based session in a small group format. The objective was to measure simulation's impact on students’ knowledge acquisition, comfort, and perceived competence with regards to the AMS patient.
AMS simulation exercises were added to the lecture and small group case sessions in June 2010 and 2011. Simulation sessions consisted of two clinical cases using a high-fidelity full-body simulator followed by a faculty debriefing after each case. Student participation in a simulation session was voluntary. Students who did and did not participate in a simulation session completed a post-test to assess knowledge and a survey to understand comfort and perceived competence in their approach to AMS.
A total of 154 students completed the post-test and survey and 65 (42%) attended a simulation session. Post-test scores were higher in students who attended a simulation session compared to those who did not (p<0.001). Students who participated in a simulation session were more comfortable in their overall approach to treating AMS patients (p=0.05). They were also more likely to state that they could articulate a differential diagnosis (p=0.03), know what initial diagnostic tests are needed (p=0.01), and understand what interventions are useful in the first few minutes (p=0.003). Students who participated in a simulation session were more likely to find the overall AMS curriculum useful (p<0.001).
Students who participated in a simulation exercise performed better on a knowledge-based test and reported increased comfort and perceived competence in their clinical approach to AMS. SBME shows significant promise for teaching clinical skills to medical students during pre-clinical curriculum.
PMCID: PMC3617787  PMID: 23561054
mental status change; simulation; pre-clinical medical students
23.  The Impact of a Longitudinal Curriculum on Medical Student Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinical Training 
Clinical training in most medical schools consists of separate rotations, based out of tertiary-care facilities, across the core medical disciplines. In addition to a traditional clinical curriculum, the University of Hawai‘i offers a longitudinal clinical curriculum as an option to medical students. The longitudinal curriculum provides students with an innovative, alternative educational track to achieve their educational goals in clinical medicine. The objective of this study was to describe the obstetrics and gynecology procedural experiences of third-year medical students who participated in a longitudinal curriculum versus a traditional block clerkship. The number of procedures reported by third-year medical students who participated in a non-traditional, longitudinal clerkship was compared with the number of procedures reported by students who participated in the traditional block third-year curriculum between July 2007 and June 2009. National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) subject scores, clerkship grade and chosen residency specialty were also compared. The mean number of pelvic exams (longitudinally-trained 36 [SD 33] versus block-trained 8 [SD 6], [t=4.3, P<.01]) and pap smears (longitudinally-trained 28 [SD 26] versus block-trained 7 [SD 3] [t=4.4, P<.01]) was significantly higher for longitudinally-trained students compared to block-trained students. No significant differences in overall clerkship grades or NBME shelf scores emerged.
PMCID: PMC4021731  PMID: 24843837
obstetrics; gynecology; clerkship; medical student; curriculum
24.  Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine: a student-selected component at the Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University 
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) involves approaching a clinical problem using a four-step method: (1) formulate a clear clinical question from a patient’s problem, (2) search the literature for relevant clinical articles, (3) evaluate (critically appraise) the evidence for its validity and usefulness, (4) implement useful findings into clinical practice. EBM has now been incorporated as an integral part of the medical curriculum in many faculties of medicine around the world. The Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, started its process of curriculum reform and introduction of the new curriculum 4 years ago. One of the most characteristic aspects of this curriculum is the introduction of special study modules and electives as a student-selected component in the fourth year of study; the Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine course was included as one of these special study modules. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the EBM skills of medical students after completing the course and their perceptions of the faculty member delivering the course and organization of the course.
Materials and methods
The EBM course was held for the first time as a special study module for fourth-year medical students in the first semester of the academic year 2009–2010. Fifteen students were enrolled in this course. At the end of the course, students anonymously evaluated aspects of the course regarding their EBM skills and course organization using a five- point Likert scale in response to an online course evaluation questionnaire. In addition, students’ achievement was evaluated with regard to the skills and competencies taught in the course.
Medical students generally gave high scores to all aspects of the EBM course, including course organization, course delivery, methods of assessment, and overall. Scores were also high for students’ self-evaluation of skill level and EBM experience. The results of a faculty member’s evaluation of the students’ achievement showed an average total percentage (92.2%) for all EBM steps.
The EBM course at the Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, is useful for familiarizing medical students with the basic principles of EBM and to help them in answering routine questions of clinical interest in a systematic way. In light of the results obtained from implementing this course with a small number of students, and as a student-selected component, the author believes integrating EBM longitudinally throughout the curriculum would be beneficial for King Abdulaziz University medical students. It would provide a foundation of knowledge, offer easy access to resources, promote point-of-care and team learning, help students to develop applicable skills for lifelong learning, and help the faculty to achieve its goals of becoming more student-centered and encouraging students to employ more self-directed learning strategies.
PMCID: PMC3661260  PMID: 23745093
student-selected component; evidence-based medicine; learning; curriculum
25.  A Prospective Controlled Trial of the Influence of a Geriatrics Home Visit Program on Medical Student Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes Towards Care of the Elderly 
To determine the impact of a geriatrics home visit program for third-year medical students on attitudes, skills, and knowledge.
Using a mixed methods, prospective, controlled trial, volunteer control group students (n = 17) at two sites and intervention group students (n = 16) at two different sites within the same internal medicine clerkship were given Internet and CDROM-based geriatric self-study materials. Intervention group students identified a geriatrics patient from their clinical experience, performed one “home” visit (home, nursing home, or rehabilitation facility) to practice geriatric assessment skills, wrote a structured, reflective paper, and presented their findings in small-group teaching settings. Papers were qualitatively analyzed using the constant comparative method for themes. All students took a pre-test and post-test to measure changes in geriatrics knowledge and attitudes.
General attitudes towards caring for the elderly improved more in the intervention group than in the control group (9.8 vs 0.5%; p = 0.04, effect size 0.78). Medical student attitudes towards their home care training in medical school (21.7 vs 3.2%; p = 0.02, effect size 0.94) improved, as did attitudes towards time and reimbursement issues surrounding home visits (10.1 vs −0.2%; p = 0.02, effect size 0.89). Knowledge of geriatrics improved in both groups (13.4 vs 15.2% improvement; p = 0.73). Students described performing a mean of seven separate geriatric assessments (range 4–13) during the home visit. Themes that emerged from the qualitative analysis of the reflective papers added depth and understanding to the quantitative data and supported results concerning attitudinal change.
While all participants gained geriatrics knowledge during their internal medicine clerkship, students who performed a home visit had improved attitudes towards the elderly and described performing geriatric assessment skills. Requiring little faculty time, a geriatrics home visit program like this one may be a useful clerkship addition to foster medical students’ professional growth.
PMCID: PMC2669870  PMID: 19294472
geriatrics; home visit; medical student; education; professionalism; narrative writing

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