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1.  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.
Background
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.
Conclusions
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
Background
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 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001037.
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.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001037
PMCID: PMC3101205  PMID: 21629685
2.  Using professional interpreters in undergraduate medical consultation skills teaching 
The ability to work with interpreters is a core skill for UK medical graduates. At the University of Sheffield Medical School, this teaching was identified as a gap in the curriculum. Teaching was developed to use professional interpreters in role-play, based on evidence that professional interpreters improve health outcomes for patients with limited English proficiency. Other principles guiding the development of the teaching were an experiential learning format, integration to the core consultation skills curriculum, and sustainable delivery. The session was aligned with existing consultation skills teaching to retain the small-group experiential format and general practitioner (GP) tutor. Core curricular time was found through conversion of an existing consultation skills session. Language pairs of professional interpreters worked with each small group, with one playing patient and the other playing interpreter. These professional interpreters attended training in the scenarios so that they could learn to act as patient and family interpreter. GP tutors attended training sessions to help them facilitate the session. This enhanced the sustainability of the session by providing a cohort of tutors able to pass on their expertise to new staff through the existing shadowing process. Tutors felt that the involvement of professional interpreters improved student engagement. Student evaluation of the teaching suggests that the learning objectives were achieved. Faculty evaluation by GP tutors suggests that they perceived the teaching to be worthwhile and that the training they received had helped improve their own clinical practice in consulting through interpreters. We offer the following recommendations to others who may be interested in developing teaching on interpreted consultations within their core curriculum: 1) consider recruiting professional interpreters as a teaching resource; 2) align the teaching to existing consultation skills sessions to aid integration; and 3) invest in faculty development for successful and sustainable delivery.
Video abstract
doi:10.2147/AMEP.S71332
PMCID: PMC4246924  PMID: 25473325
interpreter; communication skills; curriculum
3.  Using standardized patients to assess communication skills in medical and nursing Students 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:24.
Background
A number of recent developments in medical and nursing education have highlighted the importance of communication and consultation skills (CCS). Although such skills are taught in all medical and nursing undergraduate curriculums, there is no comprehensive screening or assessment programme of CCS using professionally trained Standardized Patients Educators (SPE's) in Ireland. This study was designed to test the content, process and acceptability of a screening programme in CCS with Irish medical and nursing students using trained SPE's and a previously validated global rating scale for CCS.
Methods
Eight tutors from the Schools of Nursing and Medicine at University College Cork were trained in the use of a validated communication skills and attitudes holistic assessment tool. A total of forty six medical students (Year 2 of 5) and sixty four nursing students (Year 2/3 of 4) were selected to under go individual CCS assessment by the tutors via an SPE led scenario. Immediate formative feedback was provided by the SPE's for the students. Students who did not pass the assessment were referred for remediation CCS learning.
Results
Almost three quarters of medical students (33/46; 72%) and 81% of nursing students (56/64) passed the CCS assessment in both communication and attitudes categories. All nursing students had English as their first language. Nine of thirteen medical students referred for enhanced learning in CCS did not have English as their first language.
Conclusions
A significant proportion of both medical and nursing students required referral for enhanced training in CCS. Medical students requiring enhanced training were more likely not to have English as a first language.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-24
PMCID: PMC2845182  PMID: 20236526
4.  Association of Medical Students' Reports of Interactions with the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries and Medical School Policies and Characteristics: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001743.
Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues compared US medical students' survey responses regarding pharmaceutical company interactions with the schools' AMSA PharmFree scorecard and Institute on Medicine as a Profession's (IMAP) scores.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Professional societies use metrics to evaluate medical schools' policies regarding interactions of students and faculty with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We compared these metrics and determined which US medical schools' industry interaction policies were associated with student behaviors.
Methods and Findings
Using survey responses from a national sample of 1,610 US medical students, we compared their reported industry interactions with their schools' American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and average Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database score. We used hierarchical logistic regression models to determine the association between policies and students' gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation. We adjusted for year in training, medical school size, and level of US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. We used LASSO regression models to identify specific policies associated with the outcomes. We found that IMAP and AMSA scores had similar median values (1.75 [interquartile range 1.50–2.00] versus 1.77 [1.50–2.18], adjusted to compare scores on the same scale). Scores on AMSA and IMAP shared policy dimensions were not closely correlated (gift policies, r = 0.28, 95% CI 0.11–0.44; marketing representative access policies, r = 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.63). Students from schools with the most stringent industry interaction policies were less likely to report receiving gifts (AMSA score, odds ratio [OR]: 0.37, 95% CI 0.19–0.72; IMAP score, OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.19–1.04) and less likely to interact with marketing representatives (AMSA score, OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15–0.69; IMAP score, OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14–0.95) than students from schools with the lowest ranked policy scores. The association became nonsignificant when fully adjusted for NIH funding level, whereas adjusting for year of education, size of school, and publicly versus privately funded school did not alter the association. Policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus were associated with students reporting having not received gifts and having not interacted with marketing representatives. Policy dimensions reflecting the regulation of industry involvement in educational activities (e.g., continuing medical education, travel compensation, and scholarships) were associated with perceived separation between faculty and industry. The study is limited by potential for recall bias and the cross-sectional nature of the survey, as school curricula and industry interaction policies may have changed since the time of the survey administration and study analysis.
Conclusions
As medical schools review policies regulating medical students' industry interactions, limitations on receipt of gifts and meals and participation of faculty in speaking bureaus should be emphasized, and policy makers should pay greater attention to less research-intensive institutions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling prescription drugs and medical devices is big business. To promote their products, pharmaceutical and medical device companies build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, by organizing educational meetings and sponsored events, and by giving gifts. Financial relationships begin early in physicians' careers, with companies providing textbooks and other gifts to first-year medical students. In medical school settings, manufacturers may help to inform trainees and physicians about developments in health care, but they also create the potential for harm to patients and health care systems. These interactions may, for example, reduce trainees' and trained physicians' skepticism about potentially misleading promotional claims and may encourage physicians to prescribe new medications, which are often more expensive than similar unbranded (generic) drugs and more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than older drugs. To address these and other concerns about the potential career-long effects of interactions between medical trainees and industry, many teaching hospitals and medical schools have introduced policies to limit such interactions. The development of these policies has been supported by expert professional groups and medical societies, some of which have created scales to evaluate the strength of the implemented industry interaction policies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of policies designed to limit interactions between students and industry on student behavior is unclear, and it is not known which aspects of the policies are most predictive of student behavior. This information is needed to ensure that the policies are working and to identify ways to improve them. Here, the researchers investigate which medical school characteristics and which aspects of industry interaction policies are most predictive of students' reported behaviors and beliefs by comparing information collected in a national survey of US medical students with the strength of their schools' industry interaction policies measured on two scales—the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared information about reported gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and the perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation collected from 1,610 medical students at 121 US medical schools with AMSA and IMAP scores for the schools evaluated a year earlier. Students at schools with the highest ranked interaction policies based on the AMSA score were 63% less likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools. Students at the highest ranked schools based on the IMAP score were about half as likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools, although this finding was not statistically significant (it could be a chance finding). Similarly, students at the highest ranked schools were 70% less likely to interact with sales representatives as students at the lowest ranked schools. These associations became statistically nonsignificant after controlling for the amount of research funding each school received from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Policies limiting gifts, meals, and being a part of speaking bureaus (where companies pay speakers to present information about the drugs for dinners and other events) were associated with students' reports of receiving no gifts and of non-interaction with sales representatives. Finally, policies regulating industry involvement in educational activities were associated with the perceived separation between faculty and industry, which was regarded as adequate by most of the students at schools with such policies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that policies designed to limit industry interactions with medical students need to address multiple aspects of these interactions to achieve changes in the behavior and attitudes of trainees, but that policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus may be particularly important. These findings also suggest that the level of NIH funding plays an important role in students' self-reported behaviors and their perceptions of industry, possibly because institutions with greater NIH funding have the resources needed to implement effective policies. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by recall bias (students may have reported their experiences inaccurately), and by the possibility that industry interaction policies may have changed in the year that elapsed between policy grading and the student survey. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that limitations on gifts should be emphasized when academic medical centers refine their policies on interactions between medical students and industry and that particular attention should be paid to the design and implementation of policies that regulate industry interactions in institutions with lower levels of NIH funding.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743.
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice document, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Information about the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Just Medicine campaign (formerly the PharmFree campaign) and about the AMSA Scorecard is available
Information about the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and about its Conflicts of Interest Policy Database is also available
“Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide” is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that medical schools can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion
The US Institute of Medicine's report “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice” recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The ALOSA Foundation provides evidence-based, non-industry-funded education about treating common conditions and using prescription drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743
PMCID: PMC4196737  PMID: 25314155
5.  Effectiveness of IV Cannulation Skills Laboratory Training and Its Transfer into Clinical Practice: A Randomized, Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32831.
Background
The effectiveness of skills laboratory training is widely recognized. Yet, the transfer of procedural skills acquired in skills laboratories into clinical practice has rarely been investigated. We conducted a prospective, randomised, double-blind, controlled trial to evaluate, if students having trained intravenous (IV) cannulation in a skills laboratory are rated as more professional regarding technical and communication skills compared to students who underwent bedside teaching when assessed objectively by independent video assessors and subjectively by patients.
Methodology and Principal Findings
84 volunteer first-year medical students were randomly assigned to one of two groups. Three drop-outs occurred. The intervention group (IG; n = 41) trained IV cannulation in a skills laboratory receiving instruction after Peyton's ‘Four-Step Approach’. The control group (CG; n = 40) received a bedside teaching session with volunteer students acting as patients. Afterwards, performance of IV cannulation of both groups in a clinical setting with students acting as patients was video-recorded. Two independent, blinded video assessors scored students' performance using binary checklists (BC) and the Integrated Procedural Protocol Instrument (IPPI). Patients assessed students' performance with the Communication Assessment Tool (CAT) and a modified IPPI. IG required significantly shorter time needed for the performance on a patient (IG: 595.4 SD(188.1)s; CG: 692.7 SD(247.8)s; 95%CI 23.5 s to 45.1 s; p = 0.049) and completed significantly more single steps of the procedure correctly (IG: 64% SD(14) for BC items; CG: 53% SD(18); 95%CI 10.25% to 11.75%; p = 0.004). IG also scored significantly better on IPPI ratings (median: IG: 3.1; CG: 3.6; p = 0.015;). Rated by patients, students' performance and patient-physician communication did not significantly differ between groups.
Conclusions
Transfer of IV cannulation-related skills acquired in a skills laboratory is superior to bedside teaching when rated by independent video raters by means of IPPI and BC. It enables students to perform IV cannulation more professionally on volunteer students acting as patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032831
PMCID: PMC3299804  PMID: 22427895
6.  Impact of a Pre-Clinical Clinical Skills Curriculum on Student Performance in Third-Year Clerkships 
ABSTRACT
BACKGROUND
Research on the outcomes of pre-clinical curricula for clinical skills development is needed to assess their influence on medical student performance in clerkships.
OBJECTIVE
To better understand the impact of a clinical-skills curriculum in the pre-clinical setting on student performance.
DESIGN
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).
MAIN RESULTS
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).
CONCLUSIONS
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.
doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1032-7
PMCID: PMC2710476  PMID: 19521738
medical education; clinical skills; medical students; pre-clinical; curriculum
7.  First year clinical tutorials: students’ learning experience 
Background
Bedside teaching lies at the heart of medical education. The learning environment afforded to students during clinical tutorials contributes substantially to their knowledge, thinking, and learning. Situated cognition theory posits that the depth and breadth of the students’ learning experience is dependent upon the attitude of the clinical teacher, the structure of the tutorial, and the understanding of tutorial and learning objectives. This theory provides a useful framework to conceptualize how students’ experience within their clinical tutorials impacts their knowledge, thinking, and learning.
Methods
The study was conducted with one cohort (n=301) of students who had completed year 1 of the medical program at Sydney Medical School in 2013. All students were asked to complete a three-part questionnaire regarding their perceptions of their clinical tutor’s attributes, the consistency of the tutor, and the best features of the tutorials and need for improvement. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results
The response rate to the questionnaire was 88% (265/301). Students perceived that their tutors displayed good communication skills and enthusiasm, encouraged their learning, and were empathetic toward patients. Fifty-two percent of students reported having the same communications tutor for the entire year, and 28% reported having the same physical examination tutor for the entire year. Students would like increased patient contact, greater structure within their tutorials, and greater alignment of teaching with the curriculum.
Conclusion
Situated cognition theory provides a valuable lens to view students’ experience of learning within the clinical environment. Our findings demonstrate students’ appreciation of clinical tutors as role models, the need for consistency in feedback, the importance of structure within tutorials, and the need for tutors to have an understanding of the curriculum and learning objectives for each teaching session.
doi:10.2147/AMEP.S73395
PMCID: PMC4257052  PMID: 25489253
bedside teaching; clinical tutorials; role modeling; situated cognition
8.  Curriculum factors influencing knowledge of communication skills among medical students 
Background
Communication training builds on the assumption that understanding of the concepts related to professional communication facilitates the training. We know little about whether students' knowledge of clinical communication skills is affected by their attendance of communication training courses, or to what degree other elements of the clinical training or curriculum design also play a role. The aim of this study was to determine which elements of the curriculum influence acquisition of knowledge regarding clinical communication skills by medical students.
Methods
The study design was a cross-sectional survey performed in the four Norwegian medical schools with different curricula, spring 2003. A self-administered questionnaire regarding knowledge of communication skills (an abridged version of van Dalen's paper-and-pencil test) was sent to all students attending the four medical schools. A total of 1801 (59%) students responded with complete questionnaires.
Results
At the end of the 1st year of study, the score on the knowledge test was higher in students at the two schools running communication courses and providing early patient contact (mean 81%) than in the other two medical schools (mean 69–75%, P ≤ 0.001), with students studying a traditional curriculum scoring the lowest. Their scores increased sharply towards the end of the 3rd year, during which they had been subjected to extensive patient contact and had participated in an intensive communication course (77% vs. 72% the previous year, P ≤ 0.01). All students scored generally lower in academic years in which there was no communication training. However, at the end of the final year the difference between the schools was only 5% (81% vs. 86%, P ≤ 0.001).
Conclusion
The acquisition of knowledge regarding communication skills by medical students may be optimised when the training is given together with extensive supervised patient contact, especially if this teaching takes place in the initial years of the curriculum.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-7-35
PMCID: PMC2089059  PMID: 17925041
9.  Effect of ethnicity on performance in a final objective structured clinical examination: qualitative and quantitative study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;326(7393):800-803.
Objective
To assess the effect of ethnicity on student performance in stations assessing communication skills within an objective structured clinical examination.
Design
Quantitative and qualitative study.
Setting
A final UK clinical examination consisting of a two day objective structured clinical examination with 22 stations.
Participants
82 students from ethnic minorities and 97 white students.
Main outcome measures
Mean scores for stations (quantitative) and observations made using discourse analysis on selected communication stations (qualitative).
Results
Mean performance of students from ethnic minorities was significantly lower than that of white students for stations assessing communication skills on days 1 (67.0% (SD 6.8%) and 72.3% (7.6%); P=0.001) and 2 (65.2% (6.6%) and 69.5% (6.3%); P=0.003). No examples of overt discrimination were found in 309 video recordings. Transcriptions showed subtle differences in communication styles in some students from ethnic minorities who performed poorly. Examiners' assumptions about what is good communication may have contributed to differences in grading.
Conclusions
There was no evidence of explicit discrimination between students from ethnic minorities and white students in the objective structured clinical examination. A small group of male students from ethnic minorities used particularly poorly rated communicative styles, and some subtle problems in assessing communication skills may have introduced bias. Tests need to reflect issues of diversity to ensure that students from ethnic minorities are not disadvantaged.
What is already known on this topicUK medical schools are concerned that students from ethnic minorities may perform less well than white students in examinationsIt is important to understand whether our examination system disadvantages themWhat this study addsMean performance of students from ethnic minorities was significantly lower than that of white students in a final year objective structured clinical examinationTwo possible reasons for the difference were poor communicative performance of a small group of male students from ethnic minorities and examiners' use of a textbook patient centred notion of good communicationIssues of diversity in test construction and implementation must be addressed to ensure that students from ethnic minorities are not disadvantaged
PMCID: PMC153100  PMID: 12689978
10.  Cross-sectional evaluation of a longitudinal consultation skills course at a new UK medical school 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:55.
Background
Good communication is a crucial element of good clinical care, and it is important to provide appropriate consultation skills teaching in undergraduate medical training to ensure that doctors have the necessary skills to communicate effectively with patients and other key stakeholders. This article aims to provide research evidence of the acceptability of a longitudinal consultation skills strand in an undergraduate medical course, as assessed by a cross-sectional evaluation of students' perceptions of their teaching and learning experiences.
Methods
A structured questionnaire was used to collect student views. The questionnaire comprised two parts: 16 closed questions to evaluate content and process of teaching and 5 open-ended questions. Questionnaires were completed at the end of each consultation skills session across all year groups during the 2006-7 academic year (5 sessions in Year 1, 3 in Year 2, 3 in Year 3, 10 in Year 4 and 10 in Year 5). 2519 questionnaires were returned in total.
Results
Students rated Tutor Facilitation most favourably, followed by Teaching, then Practice & Feedback, with suitability of the Rooms being most poorly rated. All years listed the following as important aspects they had learnt during the session:
• how to structure the consultation
• importance of patient-centredness
• aspects of professionalism (including recognising own limits, being prepared, generally acting professionally).
All years also noted that the sessions had increased their confidence, particularly through practice.
Conclusions
Our results suggest that a longitudinal and integrated approach to teaching consultation skills using a well structured model such as Calgary-Cambridge, facilitates and consolidates learning of desired process skills, increases student confidence, encourages integration of process and content, and reinforces appreciation of patient-centredness and professionalism.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-55
PMCID: PMC3161005  PMID: 21824390
11.  Enhancing medical students' communication skills: development and evaluation of an undergraduate training program 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:16.
Background
There is a relative lack of current research on the effects of specific communication training offered at the beginning of the medical degree program. The newly developed communication training "Basics and Practice in Communication Skills" was pilot tested in 2008 and expanded in the following year at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany. The goal was to promote and improve the communicative skills of participants and show the usefulness of an early offered intervention on patient-physician communication within the medical curriculum.
Methods
The students participating in the project and a comparison group of students from the standard degree program were surveyed at the beginning and end of the courses. The survey consisted of a self-assessment of their skills as well as a standardised expert rating and an evaluation of the modules by means of a questionnaire.
Results
Students who attended the communication skills course exhibited a considerable increase of communication skills in this newly developed training. It was also observed that students in the intervention group had a greater degree of self-assessed competence following training than the medical students in the comparison group. This finding is also reflected in the results from a standardised objective measure.
Conclusions
The empirical results of the study showed that the training enabled students to acquire specialised competence in communication through the course of a newly developed training program. These findings will be used to establish new communication training at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-16
PMCID: PMC3338375  PMID: 22443807
12.  Learning Oral Presentation Skills 
OBJECTIVE
Oral presentation skills are central to physician-physician communication; however, little is known about how these skills are learned. Rhetoric is a social science which studies communication in terms of context and explores the action of language on knowledge, attitudes, and values. It has not previously been applied to medical discourse. We used rhetorical principles to qualitatively study how students learn oral presentation skills and what professional values are communicated in this process.
DESIGN
Descriptive study.
SETTING
Inpatient general medicine service in a university-affiliated public hospital.
PARTICIPANTS
Twelve third-year medical students during their internal medicine clerkship and 14 teachers.
MEASUREMENTS
One-hundred sixty hours of ethnographic observation. including 73 oral presentations on rounds. Discoursed-based interviews of 8 students and 10 teachers. Data were qualitatively analyzed to uncover recurrent patterns of communication.
MAIN RESULTS
Students and teachers had different perceptions of the purpose of oral presentation, and this was reflected in performance. Students described and conducted the presentation as a rule-based, data-storage activity governed by “order” and “structure.” Teachers approached the presentation as a flexible means of “communication” and a method for “constructing” the details of a case into a diagnostic or therapeutic plan. Although most teachers viewed oral presentations rhetorically (sensitive to context), most feedback that students received was implicit and acontextual, with little guidance provided for determining relevant content. This led to dysfunctional generalizations by students, sometimes resulting in worse communication skills (e.g., comment “be brief” resulted in reading faster rather than editing) and unintended value acquisition (e.g., request for less social history interpreted as social history never relevant).
CONCLUSIONS
Students learn oral presentation by trial and error rather than through teaching of an explicit rhetorical model. This may delay development of effective communication skills and result in acquisition of unintended professional values. Teaching and learning of oral presentation skills may be improved by emphasizing that context determines content and by making explicit the tacit rules of presentation.
doi:10.1046/j.1525-1497.2001.00233.x
PMCID: PMC1495213  PMID: 11359549
medical education; professional competence; communication; feedback; language; socialization; social sciences
13.  Evaluation of a task-based community oriented teaching model in family medicine for undergraduate medical students in Iraq 
Background
The inclusion of family medicine in medical school curricula is essential for producing competent general practitioners. The aim of this study is to evaluate a task-based, community oriented teaching model of family medicine for undergraduate students in Iraqi medical schools.
Methods
An innovative training model in family medicine was developed based upon tasks regularly performed by family physicians providing health care services at the Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC) in Mosul, Iraq. Participants were medical students enrolled in their final clinical year. Students were assigned to one of two groups. The implementation group (28 students) was exposed to the experimental model and the control group (56 students) received the standard teaching curriculum. The study took place at the Mosul College of Medicine and at the Al-Hadba PHCC in Mosul, Iraq, during the academic year 1999–2000. Pre- and post-exposure evaluations comparing the intervention group with the control group were conducted using a variety of assessment tools.
Results
The primary endpoints were improvement in knowledge of family medicine and development of essential performance skills. Results showed that the implementation group experienced a significant increase in knowledge and performance skills after exposure to the model and in comparison with the control group. Assessment of the model by participating students revealed a high degree of satisfaction with the planning, organization, and implementation of the intervention activities. Students also highly rated the relevancy of the intervention for future work.
Conclusion
A model on PHCC training in family medicine is essential for all Iraqi medical schools. The model is to be implemented by various relevant departments until Departments of Family medicine are established.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-5-31
PMCID: PMC1215485  PMID: 16115312
14.  Medical students as EMTs: skill building, confidence and professional formation 
Medical Education Online  2014;19:10.3402/meo.v19.24829.
Objective
The first course of the medical curriculum at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, From the Person to the Professional: Challenges, Privileges and Responsibilities, provides an innovative early clinical immersion. The course content specific to the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) curriculum was developed using the New York State Emergency Medical Technician curriculum. Students gain early legitimate clinical experience and practice clinical skills as team members in the pre-hospital environment. We hypothesized this novel curriculum would increase students’ confidence in their ability to perform patient care skills and enhance students’ comfort with team-building skills early in their training.
Methods
Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from first-year medical students (n=97) through a survey developed to assess students’ confidence in patient care and team-building skills. The survey was completed prior to medical school, during the final week of the course, and at the end of their first year. A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare self-ratings on 12 patient care and 12 team-building skills before and after the course, and a theme analysis was conducted to examine open-ended responses.
Results
Following the course, student confidence in patient care skills showed a significant increase from baseline (p<0.05) for all identified skills. Student confidence in team-building skills showed a significant increase (p<0.05) in 4 of the 12 identified skills. By the end of the first year, 84% of the first-year students reported the EMT curriculum had ‘some impact’ to ‘great impact’ on their patient care skills, while 72% reported the EMT curriculum had ‘some impact’ to ‘great impact’ on their team-building skills.
Conclusions
The incorporation of EMT training early in a medical school curriculum provides students with meaningful clinical experiences that increase their self-reported level of confidence in the performance of patient care skills early in their medical education.
doi:10.3402/meo.v19.24829
PMCID: PMC4108757  PMID: 25056855
undergraduate medical education; curriculum; pre-hospital care; clinical skills; team building; professional role
15.  Evaluation of a communication skills seminar for students in a Japanese medical school: a non-randomized controlled study 
Background
Little data exist for the effectiveness of communication skills teaching for medical students in non-English speaking countries. We conducted a non-randomized controlled study to examine if a short intensive seminar for Japanese medical students had any impact on communication skills with patients.
Methods
Throughout the academic year 2001–2002, a total of 105 fifth-year students (18 groups of 5 to 7 students) participated, one group at a time, in a two-day, small group seminar on medical interviewing. Half way through the year, a five-station objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) was conducted for all fifth-year students. We videotaped all the students' interaction with a standardized patient in one OSCE station that was focused on communication skills. Two independent observers rated the videotapes of 50 students who had attended the seminar and 47 who had not. Sixteen core communication skills were measured. Disagreements between raters were resolved by a third observer's rating.
Results
There was a statistically significant difference in proportions of students who were judged as 'acceptable' in one particular skill related to understanding patient's perspectives: asking how the illness or problems affected the patient's life, (53% in the experimental group and 30% in the control group, p = .02). No differences were observed in the other 15 core communication skills, although there was a trend for improvement in the skill for asking the patient's ideas about the illness or problems (60% vs. 40%, p = .054) and one of the relationship building skills; being attentive and empathic nonverbally (87% vs. 72%, p = .064).
Conclusion
The results of this study suggest that a short, intensive small group seminar for Japanese medical students may have had a short-term impact on specific communication skills, pertaining to understanding patient's perspectives.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-4-24
PMCID: PMC534797  PMID: 15550166
16.  Developing counseling skills through pre-recorded videos and role play: a pre- and post-intervention study in a Pakistani medical school 
Background
Interactive methods like role play, recorded video scenarios and objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) are being regularly used to teach and assess communication skills of medical students in the western world. In developing countries however, they are still in the preliminary phases of execution in most institutes. Our study was conducted in a naïve under resourced setup to assess the impact of such teaching methodologies on the counseling skills of medical students.
Methods
Fifty four 4th year MBBS students were identified to be evaluated for communication skills by trained facilitators in a pre-intervention OSCE. The same group of students was given a demonstration of ideal skill level by means of videos and role playing sessions in addition to real life interaction with patients during hospital and community rotations. A post-intervention evaluation was carried out six months later through OSCE and direct observation through structured checklist (DOS) in hospital and community settings. The combined and individual performance levels of these students were analyzed.
Results
There was a statistically significant difference in the communication skills of students when assessed in the post-intervention OSCE (p = 0.000). Individual post-intervention percentages of study participants displayed improvement as well (n = 45, p = 0.02). No difference was observed between the scores of male and female students when assessed for two specific competencies of antenatal care and breast feeding counseling (p = 0.11). The mean DOS (%) score of 12 randomly selected students was much lower as compared to the post-intervention (%) score but the difference between them was statistically non significant, a result that may have been affected by the small sample size as well as other factors that may come into play in real clinical settings and were not explored in this study (59.41 ± 7.8 against 82.43 ± 22.08, p = 0.88).
Conclusions
Videos and role play in combination with community and clinical exposure are effective modes of teaching counseling skills to medical students. They can be successfully utilized even in a limited resource setup, as demonstrated by our trial.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-7
PMCID: PMC2837024  PMID: 20102626
17.  Early practical experience and the social responsiveness of clinical education: systematic review 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2005;331(7513):387-391.
Objectives To find how early experience in clinical and community settings (“early experience”) affects medical education, and identify strengths and limitations of the available evidence.
Design A systematic review rating, by consensus, the strength and importance of outcomes reported in the decade 1992-2001.
Data sources Bibliographical databases and journals were searched for publications on the topic, reviewed under the auspices of the recently formed Best Evidence Medical Education (BEME) collaboration.
Selection of studies All empirical studies (verifiable, observational data) were included, whatever their design, method, or language of publication.
Results Early experience was most commonly provided in community settings, aiming to recruit primary care practitioners for underserved populations. It increased the popularity of primary care residencies, albeit among self selected students. It fostered self awareness and empathic attitudes towards ill people, boosted students' confidence, motivated them, gave them satisfaction, and helped them develop a professional identity. By helping develop interpersonal skills, it made entering clerkships a less stressful experience. Early experience helped students learn about professional roles and responsibilities, healthcare systems, and health needs of a population. It made biomedical, behavioural, and social sciences more relevant and easier to learn. It motivated and rewarded teachers and patients and enriched curriculums. In some countries, junior students provided preventive health care directly to underserved populations.
Conclusion Early experience helps medical students learn, helps them develop appropriate attitudes towards their studies and future practice, and orientates medical curriculums towards society's needs. Experimental evidence of its benefit is unlikely to be forthcoming and yet more medical schools are likely to provide it. Effort could usefully be concentrated on evaluating the methods and outcomes of early experience provided within non-experimental research designs, and using that evaluation to improve the quality of curriculums.
PMCID: PMC1184253  PMID: 16096306
18.  Design and Effectiveness of a Required Pre-Clinical Simulation-based Curriculum for Fundamental Clinical Skills and Procedures 
Medical Education Online  2011;16:10.3402/meo.v16i0.7132.
Background
For more than 20 years, medical literature has increasingly documented the need for students to learn, practice and demonstrate competence in basic clinical knowledge and skills. In 2001, the Louisiana State University Health Science Centers (LSUHSC) School of Medicine – New Orleans replaced its traditional Introduction in to Clinical Medicine (ICM) course with the Science and Practice of Medicine (SPM) course. The main component within the SPM course is the Clinical Skills Lab (CSL). The CSL teaches 30 plus skills to all pre-clinical medical students (Years 1 and 2).
Methods
Since 2002, an annual longitudinal evaluation questionnaire was distributed to all medical students targeting the skills taught in the CSL. Students were asked to rate their self- confidence (Dreyfus and Likert-type) and estimate the number of times each clinical skill was performed (clinically/non-clinically). Of the 30 plus skills taught, 8 were selected for further evaluation.
Results
An analysis was performed on the eight skills selected to determine the effectiveness of the CSL. All students that participated in the CSL reported a significant improvement in self-confidence and in number performed in the clinically/non-clinically setting when compared to students that did not experience the CSL. For example, without CSL training, the percentage of students reported at the end of their second year self-perceived expertise as “novice” ranged from 21.4% (CPR) to 84.7% (GU catheterization). Students who completed the two-years CSL, only 7.8% rated their self-perceived expertise at the end of the second year as “novice” and 18.8% for GU catheterization.
Conclusion
The CSL design is not to replace real clinical patient experiences. It's to provide early exposure, medial knowledge, professionalism and opportunity to practice skills in a patient free environment.
doi:10.3402/meo.v16i0.7132
PMCID: PMC3234100  PMID: 22190848
Practice; Simulation; Students; Knowledge; Exposure; Environment; Safety; Experience; Application; Opportunity
19.  Doctor-patient interaction in Finnish primary health care as perceived by first year medical students 
Background
In Finland, public health care is the responsibility of primary health care centres, which render a wide range of community level preventive, curative and rehabilitative medical care. Since 1990's, medical studies have involved early familiarization of medical students with general practice from the beginning of the studies, as this pre-clinical familiarisation helps medical students understand patients as human beings, recognise the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and identify practicing general practitioners (GPs) as role models for their professional development. Focused on doctor-patient relationship, we analysed the reports of 2002 first year medical students in the University of Kuopio. The students observed GPs' work during their 2-day visit to primary health care centres.
Methods
We analysed systematically the texts of 127 written reports of 2002, which represents 95.5% of the 133 first year pre-clinical medical students reports. The reports of 2003 (N = 118) and 2004 (N = 130) were used as reference material.
Results
Majority of the students reported GPs as positive role models. Some students reported GPs' poor attitudes, which they, however, regarded as a learning opportunity. Students generally observed a great variety of responsibilities in general practice, and expressed admiration for the skills and abilities required. They appreciated the GPs' interest in patients concerns. GPs' communication styles were found to vary considerably. Students reported some factors disturbing the consultation session, such as the GP staring at the computer screen and other team members entering the room. Working with marginalized groups, the chronically and terminally ill, and dying patients was seen as an area for development in the busy Finnish primary health care centres.
Conclusion
During the analysis, we discovered that medical students' perceptions in this study are in line with the previous findings about the importance of role model (good or bad) in making good doctors. Therefore, medical students' pre-clinical primary health care centre visits may influence their attitudes towards primary health care work and the doctor-patient relationship. We welcome more European studies on the role of early pre-clinical general practice exposure on medical students' primary care specialty choice.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-5-34
PMCID: PMC1242232  PMID: 16162300
20.  Teaching Musculoskeletal Physical Diagnosis Using A Web-based Tutorial and Pathophysiology-Focused Cases 
Objective:
To assess the effectiveness of an experimental curriculum on teaching first-year medical students the musculoskeletal exam as compared to a traditional curriculum.
Background:
Musculoskeletal complaints are common in the primary care setting. Practitioners are often deficient in examination skills and knowledge regarding musculoskeletal diseases. There is a lack of uniformity regarding how to teach the musculoskeletal examination among sub-specialists. We propose a novel web-based approach to teaching the musculoskeletal exam that is enhanced by peer practice with pathophysiology-focused cases. We sought to assess the effectiveness of an innovative musculoskeletal curriculum on the knowledge and skills of first-year medical students related to musculoskeletal physical diagnosis as compared to a traditional curriculum. The secondary purpose of this study was to assess satisfaction of students and preceptors exposed to this teaching method.
Methods:
This quasi-experimental study was conducted at a single LCME-accredited medical school and included a convenience sample from 2 consecutive classes of medical students during the musculoskeletal portion of their physical diagnosis class. We conducted a needs assessment of the traditional curriculum used to teach musculoskeletal examination. The needs assessment informed the development of an experimental curriculum. One class (control group) received the traditional curriculum while the second class (experimental group) received the experimental curriculum, consisting of a web-based musculoskeletal tutorial, pathophysiology-focused cases, and facilitator preparation. We used multiple-choice questions and musculoskeletal OSCE scores to assess differences between knowledge and skills in the 2 groups.
Results:
The sample consisted of 140 students in each medical school class. There were no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups. One hundred seven students from the control group and 120 students from the experimental group took the multiple-choice examination. The average score was 66% (95% CI= 59.7–72.3) for the control group and 66% (95% CI = 60.5–71.5) for the experimental group. There was no difference between the median musculoskeletal OSCE scores between the 2 groups. The experimental group was satisfied with the new teaching method and gained the additional benefit of a persistent resource.
Conclusions:
This web-based experimental curriculum was as effective as the traditional curriculum for teaching the musculoskeletal exam. Additionally, users were satisfied with the web-based training and benefited from a persistent resource.
doi:10.3885/meo.2009.Res00301
PMCID: PMC2779618  PMID: 20165527
cases; curriculum; musculoskeletal; OSCE; physical exam; tutorial; website
21.  The role of simulation in developing communication and gestural skills in medical students 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:106.
Background
International studies have shown that laboratory training, particularly through the application of the principles of simulation learning, is an effective means of developing the communication and gestural skills of healthcare professionals. At the Advanced Simulation Center of the University of Genoa we have therefore established the first clinical skill laboratory with medical school students and an interprofessional team of trainers, as the first step towards developing simulation training of both medical and nursing students at our University.
The aim of this study was to assess student satisfaction with laboratory training in an Advanced Simulation Center.
Methods
All of the third-year students of the Medical School (n = 261) were invited to participate in the laboratory sessions at the Advanced Simulation Center. They were divided into groups and attended the Center for one week. The team of trainers included medical doctors and nurses involved in teaching at the University Medicine and Nursing programs. At the end of the week, the students were administered an anonymous questionnaire made up of two sections: the first one was on the content of individual laboratory sessions; the second on the training methods, materials used and the trainers. A five-point Likert scale was used to measure satisfaction.
Results
According to the students all of the topics covered by the laboratory sessions were irreplaceable. Questionnaire results showed a high level of satisfaction with the methods used, the instruments developed, and with the expertise and approachability of the educators. Almost all of the students wanted to participate in similar laboratory activities in the future.
Conclusions
The study highlighted the need to permanently integrate laboratory training sessions into the curriculum of medical students, who found them very useful and stimulating. The limit of this study was that only the teaching staff was interprofessional, and the students were only 3rd Year students of medicine.
In the future, we hope to include also nursing students because they will need to learn how to deal with aspects of their clinical practice that require an interprofessional approach.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-106
PMCID: PMC4039313  PMID: 24885330
Simulation; Education; Communication skills; Gestural skills; Medical students; Nursing students
22.  Improvement in medical students’ communication and interpersonal skills as evaluated by patient satisfaction questionnaire after curriculum reform 
Fifteen years of undergraduate medical education curriculum reform at Saga Medical School was evaluated by measuring medical students’ communication and interpersonal skills with a patient satisfaction questionnaire developed by the American Board of Internal Medicine. A multiphase cross-sectional study was conducted at the General Medicine Clinic of Saga Medical School Hospital in phase I (1998–1999), phase II (2001–2002), and phase III (2009–2010). A total of 1,963 patient ratings for 437 medical students’ performance was analyzed. The average scores of phases II and III were significantly higher than for phase I. The average score of female students showed a significant difference between phases I and II, but no difference between phases II and III. The average score of male students showed no difference between phases I and II, but significant difference between phases II and III. The phase II curriculum introduced basic clinical skills and examination and improved female students’ performance. The phase III curriculum was effective for male students because it emphasized the clinical skill program more and introduced problem-based learning. Curriculum reform at Saga Medical School is considered to have made good progress in improving students’ clinical competence and patient-centered attitudes.
doi:10.3164/jcbn.14-29
PMCID: PMC4078071  PMID: 25120283
communication skills; curriculum reform; interpersonal skills; medical education; patient satisfaction
23.  Role modelling of clinical tutors: a focus group study among medical students 
BMC Medical Education  2015;15:17.
Background
Role modelling by clinicians assists in development of medical students’ professional competencies, values and attitudes. Three core characteristics of a positive role model include 1) clinical attributes, 2) teaching skills, and 3) personal qualities. This study was designed to explore medical students’ perceptions of their bedside clinical tutors as role models during the first year of a medical program.
Methods
The study was conducted with one cohort (n = 301) of students who had completed Year 1 of the Sydney Medical Program in 2013. A total of nine focus groups (n = 59) were conducted with medical students following completion of Year 1. Data were transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was used to code and categorise data into themes.
Results
Students identified both positive and negative characteristics and behaviour displayed by their clinical tutors. Characteristics and behaviour that students would like to emulate as medical practitioners in the future included:
1) Clinical attributes: a good knowledge base; articulate history taking skills; the ability to explain and demonstrate skills at the appropriate level for students; and empathy, respect and genuine compassion for patients.
2) Teaching skills: development of a rapport with students; provision of time towards the growth of students academically and professionally; provision of a positive learning environment; an understanding of the student curriculum and assessment requirements; immediate and useful feedback; and provision of patient interaction.
3) Personal qualities: respectful interprofessional staff interactions; preparedness for tutorials; demonstration of a passion for teaching; and demonstration of a passion for their career choice.
Conclusion
Excellence in role modelling entails demonstration of excellent clinical care, teaching skills and personal characteristics. Our findings reinforce the important function of clinical bedside tutors as role models, which has implications for faculty development and recruitment.
doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0303-8
PMCID: PMC4335700  PMID: 25888826
Role modelling; Medical students; Clinical tutors
24.  Evaluation of medical student self-rated preparedness to care for limited english proficiency patients 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:26.
Background
Patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) represent a growing proportion of the US population and are at risk of receiving suboptimal care due to difficulty communicating with healthcare providers who do not speak their language. Medical school curricula are required to prepare students to care for all patients, including those with LEP, but little is known about how well they achieve this goal. We used data from a survey of medical students' cross-cultural preparedness, skills, and training to specifically explore their self-rated preparedness to care for LEP patients.
Methods
We electronically surveyed students at one northeastern US medical school. We used bivariate analyses to identify factors associated with student self-rated preparedness to care for LEP patients including gender, training year, first language, race/ethnicity, percent LEP and minority patients seen, and skill with interpreters. We used multivariate logistic regression to examine the independent effect of each factor on LEP preparedness. In a secondary analysis, we explored the association between year in medical school and self-perceived skill level in working with an interpreter.
Results
Of 651 students, 416 completed questionnaires (63.9% response rate). Twenty percent of medical students reported being very well or well-prepared to care for LEP patients. Of these, 40% were in their fourth year of training. Skill level working with interpreters, prevalence of LEP patients seen, and training year were correlated (p < 0.001) with LEP preparedness. Using multivariate logistic regression, only student race/ethnicity and self-rated skill with interpreters remained statistically significant. Students in third and fourth years were more likely to feel skilled with interpreters (p < 0.001).
Conclusions
Increasingly, medical students will need to be prepared to care for LEP patients. Our study supports two strategies to improve student preparedness: training students to work effectively with interpreters and increasing student diversity to better reflect the changing US demographics.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-26
PMCID: PMC3127853  PMID: 21631943
25.  Student perceptions of a patient- centered medical training curriculum 
Objectives
To evaluate a patient-centered medical training curriculum, the SELECT program, through perceptions of the inaugural student cohort.
Methods
Data were collected from two focus groups conducted in the university setting, comprised of fifteen first-year medical students who participated in the SELECT program during its inaugural year. A questioning protocol was used to guide the focus group discussion, which was transcribed and hand-coded through thematic analyses.
Results
Various themes related to patient-centered care were identified. Students noted changes in their attitudes towards interacting with patients in an empowering and educative manner as a result of communication and motivational interviewing exercises. Additionally, they recognized certain external, structural barriers as well as internal conflict between pragmatism and emotional intelligence that could potentially hinder patient-centered care. The impact of family dynamics and social support on quality of life and health outcomes was acknowledged. Students also emphasized the value of collaborating with multiple health professionals. Lastly, students provided suggestions for program improvement, namely additional simulations, more education regarding other healthcare professionals’ roles, more standardized experiences, and application of principles to acute and primary care.
Conclusions
Upon completion of the first year of the SELECT program, students gained an appreciation for patient-centered care and various factors and skills that facilitate such care. Additionally, they experienced a dissonance between didactic concepts from the curriculum and observed medical practices. This study highlights the educational benefits of a patient-centered medical curriculum and provides suggestions for future improvement.
doi:10.5116/ijme.536e.26b2
PMCID: PMC4207181  PMID: 25341218
Medical training curriculum; SELECT; patient-centered care; medical student focus groups

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