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1.  The validity and reliability of the sixth-year internal medical examination administered at the King Abdulaziz University Medical College 
BMC Medical Education  2015;15:10.
Exams are essential components of medical students’ knowledge and skill assessment during their clinical years of study. The paper provides a retrospective analysis of validity evidence for the internal medicine component of the written and clinical exams administered in 2012 and 2013 at King Abdulaziz University’s Faculty of Medicine.
Students’ scores for the clinical and written exams were obtained. Four faculty members (two senior members and two junior members) were asked to rate the exam questions, including MCQs and OSCEs, for evidence of content validity using a rating scale of 1–5 for each item.
Cronbach’s alpha was used to measure the internal consistency reliability. Correlations were used to examine the associations between different forms of assessment and groups of students.
A total of 824 students completed the internal medicine course and took the exam. The numbers of rated questions were 320 and 46 for the MCQ and OSCE, respectively. Significant correlations were found between the MCQ section, the OSCE section, and the continuous assessment marks, which include 20 long-case presentations during the course; participation in daily rounds, clinical sessions and tutorials; the performance of simple procedures, such as IV cannulation and ABG extraction; and the student log book.
Although the OSCE exam was reliable for the two groups that had taken the final clinical OSCE, the clinical long- and short-case exams were not reliable across the two groups that had taken the oral clinical exams. The correlation analysis showed a significant linear association between the raters with respect to evidence of content validity for both the MCQ and OSCE, r = .219 P < .001 and r = .678 P < .001, respectively, and r = .241 P < .001 and r = .368 P = .023 for the internal structure validity, respectively. Reliability measured using Cronbach’s alpha was greater for assessments administered in 2013.
The pattern of relationships between the MCQ and OSCE scores provides evidence of the validity of these measures for use in the evaluation of knowledge and clinical skills in internal medicine. The OSCE exam is more reliable than the short- and long-case clinical exams and requires less effort on the part of examiners and patients.
PMCID: PMC4322795  PMID: 25638149
Validity; Assessment; Undergraduate medical education
2.  Evaluation of Computer-aided Strategies for Teaching Medical Students Prenatal Ultrasound Diagnostic Skills 
To evaluate whether computer-based learning (CBL) improves newly acquired knowledge and is an effective strategy for teaching prenatal ultrasound diagnostic skills to third-year medical students when compared with instruction by traditional paper-based methods (PBM).
Study Design:
We conducted a randomized, prospective study involving volunteer junior (3rd year) medical students consecutively rotating through the Obstetrics and Gynecology clerkship during six months of the 2005–2006 academic year. The students were randomly assigned to permuted blocks and divided into two groups. Half of the participants received instruction in prenatal ultrasound diagnostics using an interactive CBL program; the other half received instruction using equivalent material by the traditional PBM. Outcomes were evaluated by comparing changes in pre-tutorial and post instruction examination scores.
All 36 potential participants (100%) completed the study curriculum. Students were divided equally between the CBL (n = 18) and PBM (n = 18) groups. Pre-tutorial exam scores (mean±s.d.) were 44%±11.1% for the CBL group and 44%±10.8% for the PBL cohort, indicating no statistically significant differences (p>0.05) between the two groups. After instruction, post-tutorial exam scores (mean±s.d.) were increased from the pre-tutorial scores, 74%±11% and 67%±12%, for students in the CBL and the PBM groups, respectively. The improvement in post-tutorial exam scores from the pre-test scores was considered significant (p<0.05). When post-test scores for the tutorial groups were compared, the CBL subjects achieved a score that was, on average, 7 percentage points higher than their PBM counterparts, a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05).
Instruction by either CBL or PBM strategies is associated with improvements in newly acquired knowledge as reflected by increased post-tutorial examination scores. Students that received CBL had significantlyhigher post-tutorial exam scores than those in the PBM group, indicating that CBL is an effective instruction strategy in this setting.
PMCID: PMC2779600  PMID: 20165541
Computer-based learning; prenatal ultrasound; diagnostic skills; 3rd-year medical students
3.  Anatomy teaching with portable ultrasound to medical students 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:99.
Medical students as future clinicians will apply their anatomy knowledge in medical imaging. There are various radiological resources available for the medical students to learn anatomy and contextualise it to the clinical setting. Ultrasound is a safe and non- invasive imaging procedure commonly used in clinical practice. This study aimed to use portable ultrasound and evaluate its impact as an adjunct to cadaveric anatomy teaching together with cross sectional anatomy images and line diagrams.
Ultrasound teaching was incorporated into upper limb and lower limb anatomy practical dissecting room sessions. The number of medical students who participated was 121 students from the year 2008 - 2009 and 94 students from the year 2009- 2010. The students were divided into groups of 15-20. Initially ultrasound demonstration was carried out on a volunteer and then the students were given the opportunity to use the ultrasound and identify normal anatomical structures visualized on images. For the students in the year 2009- 2010, ultrasound teaching was supplemented with cross sectional anatomy images and line diagrams. Questionnaires were distributed with seven questions rated using four point Likert scale and free text. Qualitative data was analysed using 2- proportion Z test and Fischer's exact test.
The number of students in the 2009-2010 year group who were confident in interpreting ultrasound images increased significantly when compared to the 2008-2009 year group of students. The majority of students were able to identify structures like bone, muscles and blood vessels on ultrasound images. There was a significant increase in the number of students who found the ultrasound teaching useful and also those who regarded ultrasound to have improved understanding of anatomy considerably.
Ultrasound acts as a useful adjunct to teach anatomy in a clinical context to medical students. The use of cross sectional anatomy images and line diagrams together can aid ultrasound image orientation of structures during these sessions. Early exposure to this imaging technology may prime students for later encounters with ultrasound during clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3507803  PMID: 23088725
4.  Teaching Musculoskeletal Physical Diagnosis Using A Web-based Tutorial and Pathophysiology-Focused Cases 
To assess the effectiveness of an experimental curriculum on teaching first-year medical students the musculoskeletal exam as compared to a traditional curriculum.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2779618  PMID: 20165527
cases; curriculum; musculoskeletal; OSCE; physical exam; tutorial; website
5.  Students’ perceptions of anatomy across the undergraduate problem-based learning medical curriculum: a phenomenographical study 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:152.
To get insight in how theoretical knowledge is transformed into clinical skills, important information may arise from mapping the development of anatomical knowledge during the undergraduate medical curriculum. If we want to gain a better understanding of teaching and learning in anatomy, it may be pertinent to move beyond the question of how and consider also the what, why and when of anatomy education.
A purposive sample of 78 medical students from the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th year of a PBL curriculum participated in 4 focus groups. Each group came together twice, and all meetings were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed with template analysis using a phenomenographical approach.
Five major topics emerged and are described covering the students’ perceptions on their anatomy education and anatomical knowledge: 1) motivation to study anatomy, 2) the relevance of anatomical knowledge, 3) assessment of anatomical knowledge, 4) students’ (in)security about their anatomical knowledge and 5) the use of anatomical knowledge in clinical practice.
Results indicated that a PBL approach in itself was not enough to ensure adequate learning of anatomy, and support the hypothesis that educational principles like time-on-task and repetition, have a stronger impact on students’ perceived and actual anatomical knowledge than the educational approach underpinning a curriculum. For example, students state that repetitive studying of the subject increases retention of knowledge to a greater extent than stricter assessment, and teaching in context enhances motivation and transfer. Innovations in teaching and assessment, like spiral curriculum, teaching in context, teaching for transfer and assessment for learning (rewarding understanding and higher order cognitive skills), are required to improve anatomy education.
PMCID: PMC4225514  PMID: 24252155
Anatomy; Basic sciences; Curriculum; Education; Knowledge; Learning; Problem based learning
6.  Interactive seminars or small group tutorials in preclinical medical education: results of a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:79.
Learning in small group tutorials is appreciated by students and effective in the acquisition of clinical problem-solving skills but poses financial and resource challenges. Interactive seminars, which accommodate large groups, might be an alternative. This study examines the educational effectiveness of small group tutorials and interactive seminars and students' preferences for and satisfaction with these formats.
Students in year three of the Leiden undergraduate medical curriculum, who agreed to participate in a randomized controlled trial (RCT, n = 107), were randomly allocated to small group tutorials (n = 53) or interactive seminars (n = 54). Students who did not agree were free to choose either format (n = 105). Educational effectiveness was measured by comparing the participants' results on the end-of-block test. Data on students' reasons and satisfaction were collected by means of questionnaires. Data was analyzed using student unpaired t test or chi-square test where appropriate.
There were no significant differences between the two educational formats in students' test grades. Retention of knowledge through active participation was the most frequently cited reason for preferring small group tutorials, while a dislike of compulsory course components was mentioned more frequently by students preferring interactive seminars. Small group tutorials led to greater satisfaction.
We found that small group tutorials leads to greater satisfaction but not to better learning results. Interactive learning in large groups might be might be an effective alternative to small group tutorials in some cases and be offered as an option.
PMCID: PMC3000405  PMID: 21073744
7.  Teaching ultrasound in a curricular course according to certified EFSUMB standards during undergraduate medical education: a prospective study 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:84.
As a non-invasive and readily available diagnostic tool, ultrasound is one of the most important imaging techniques in medicine. Ultrasound is usually trained during residency preferable according to German Society of Ultrasound in Medicine (DEGUM) standards. Our curriculum calls for undergraduate training in ultrasound of medical students in their 4th year of undergraduate education. An explorative pilot study evaluated the acceptance of this teaching method, and compared it to other practical activities in medical education at Muenster University.
240 medical students in their 4th year of undergraduate medical education participated in the training and completed a pre- and post-questionnaire for self-assessment of technical knowledge, self-assurance of the procedure, and motivation in performing ultrasound using a Likert scale. Moreover, students were asked about their interest in pursuing a career in internal medicine. To compare this training to other educational activities a standardized online evaluation tool was used. A direct observation of procedural skills assessment (DOPS) for the first time applied on ultrasound aimed to independently assess the success of our teaching method.
There was a significant increase in technical knowledge and self-assurance (p < 0.001) of the students’ self-assessments. The clinical relevance and self-motivation of the teaching were evaluated positively. The students’ DOPS results demonstrated proficiency in the understanding of anatomic structures shown in ultrasonographic images, including terminology, machine settings, and transducer frequencies.
Training ultrasound according to certified DEGUM standards was successful and should be offered in undergraduate medical education. The evaluation of the course affirmed the necessity, quality and clinical relevance of the course with a top ranking score of hands-on training courses within the educational activities of the Medical Faculty of Muenster.
PMCID: PMC3686658  PMID: 23758796
Undergraduate medical education; Ultrasound; Ultrasonography; Clinical competence
8.  Correlation between clinical diagnosis and arthroscopic findings of the shoulder 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  2005;81(960):657-659.
Objective: To assess the accuracy of clinical examination by non-specialist orthopaedic surgeons of patients presenting to a diagnostic and treatment centre (DTC) for arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
Methods: A retrospective review of notes of 130 consecutive shoulder arthroscopies performed at a DTC over a 10 month period. Preoperative clinical diagnosis was compared with operative arthroscopic findings. Additional information from preoperative imaging was compared with clinical examination and arthroscopic findings. Preoperative clinical examinations and consent were undertaken by clinical fellows, (SpR level) and non-upper limb consultant orthopaedic surgeons. Consultants specialising in upper limb surgery performed the operations.
Results: Six main groups were identified on the basis of clinical examination: impingement 76 cases (58%), instability 22 cases (17%), frozen shoulder 11 cases (8%), rotator cuff tear four cases (3%), non-specific pain eight cases (6%), and normal clinical examination nine cases (7%). Impingement and instability diagnosed clinically strongly correlated with the arthroscopic findings. Clinical diagnosis of frozen shoulder and rotator cuff tears had a weaker correlation with the arthroscopic findings. Of the nine cases of normal clinical examination, abnormality was found at arthroscopy in all cases.
Conclusion: There have been very few studies comparing clinical examination of the shoulder with arthroscopic findings. This study emphasises the importance of good clinical examination skills in diagnosing common shoulder abnormalities. The addition of imaging, particularly ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging further increases the likelihood of an accurate diagnosis. Shoulder examination should be taught with as much emphasis at both undergraduate and postgraduate level as other orthopaedic clinical examinations.
PMCID: PMC1743363  PMID: 16210463
9.  (S)Partners for Heart Health: a school-based program for enhancing physical activity and nutrition to promote cardiovascular health in 5th grade students 
BMC Public Health  2008;8:420.
The American Heart Association Position Statement on Cardiovascular Health Promotion in Public Schools encourages school-based interventions for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) through risk factor prevention or reduction in children with an emphasis on creating an environment that promotes healthy food choices and physical activity (PA). In an effort to address issues related to CVD risk factors including obesity in Michigan children, a multi-disciplinary team of Michigan State University (MSU) faculty, clinicians, and health profession students was formed to "(S)partner" with elementary school physical education (PE) teachers and MSU Extension staff to develop and implement a cost-effective, sustainable program aimed at CVD risk factor prevention and management for 5th grade students. This (S)partnership is intended to augment and improve the existing 5th grade PE, health and nutrition curriculum by achieving the following aims: 1) improve the students' knowledge, attitudes and confidence about nutrition, PA and heart health; 2) increase the number of students achieving national recommendations for PA and nutrition; and 3) increase the number of students with a desirable CVD risk factor status based on national pediatric guidelines. Secondary aims include promoting school staff and parental support for heart health to help children achieve their goals and to provide experiential learning and service for MSU health profession students for academic credit.
This pilot effectiveness study was approved by the MSU IRB. At the beginning and the end of the school year students undergo a CVD risk factor assessment conducted by MSU medical students and graduate students. Key intervention components include eight lesson plans (conducted bi-monthly) designed to promote heart healthy nutrition and PA behaviors conducted by PE teachers with assistance from MSU undergraduate dietetic and kinesiology students (Spartners). The final 10 minutes of each lesson, MSU Spartners conduct small breakout/discussion groups with the 5th grade students. Additionally, each Spartner case manages/mentors two to three 5th grade students using a web-based goal setting and tracking protocol throughout the school year.
This paper describes the rationale, development, and methods of the Spartners for Heart Health program. This is a multi-level intervention designed to promote heart healthy behaviors and prevent or manage CVD risk factors in children. We believe this will be a viable sustainable intervention that can be disseminated and adopted by other institutions with minimal cost by engaging college students as an integral part of the measurement and intervention teams.
PMCID: PMC2628664  PMID: 19102777
10.  Medical professionalism in the formal curriculum: 5th year medical students’ experiences 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14(1):259.
The standards and outcomes outlined in the General Medical Council’s publication ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors’ include proposals that medical professionalism be included in undergraduate curricula. Learning the values and attitudes necessary to become a ‘doctor as a professional’ has traditionally been left largely to the informal and hidden curricula. There remains no consensus or confirmed evidence upon which to base best practice for teaching in this area. In 2010, as part of a revision of the fifth year curriculum the University of Bristol Medical School introduced tutorials which focused on students’ achievement of the learning objectives in ‘Tomorrow’s Doctors Outcomes 3: the doctor as a professional’. This study sought to explore the students’ experiences of these tutorials in order to develop the evidence base further.
Sixteen medical students participated in three focus-group interviews exploring their experiences of medical professionalism tutorials. A course evaluation questionnaire to all fifth year students also provided data. Data were analysed using the principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Four main themes were identified: students’ aversion to ‘ticking-boxes’, lack of engagement by the students, lack of engagement by the tutors and students’ views on how medical professionalism should be taught.
A curriculum innovation which placed the achievement of medical professionalism in the formal curriculum was not unanimously embraced by students or faculty. Further consideration of the students’ aversion to ‘ticking-boxes’ is warranted. With continued demand for increased accountability and transparency in medical education, detailed check-lists of specific learning objectives will continue to feature as a means by which medical schools and learners demonstrate attainment. Students’ experiences and acceptance of these check-lists deserves attention in order to inform teaching and learning in this area. Learner and faculty ‘buy in’ are imperative to the success of curriculum change and vital if the students are to attain the intended learning objectives. Effective faculty development and student induction programmes could be employed to facilitate engagement by both parties.
PMCID: PMC4261576  PMID: 25433816
Professionalism; Curriculum development; Faculty development; Formal curriculum; Ticking-boxes
11.  Ready for the OR? – Clinical anatomy and basic surgical skills for students in their preclinical education 
Medical students’ first experience in the operating theatre often takes place during their electives and is therefore separated from the university’s medical curriculum. In the winter term 2009/10, the Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Ulm implemented an elective called “Ready for the OR” for 2nd year medical students participating in the dissection course. We attempted to improve learning motivation and examination results by transferring anatomical knowledge into a surgical setting and teaching basic surgical skills in preparation of the students’ first participation in the OR. Out of 69 online applicants, 50 students were randomly assigned to the Intervention Group (FOP) or the Control Group. In 5 teaching session students learned skills like scrubbing, stitching or the identification of frequently used surgical instruments. Furthermore, students visited five surgical interventions which were demonstrated by surgical colleagues on donated bodies that have been embalmed using the Thiel technique. The teaching sessions took place in the institute’s newly built “Theatrum Anatomicum” for an ideal simulation of a surgical setting. The learning outcomes were verified by OSPE. In a pilot study, an intervention group and a control group were compared concerning their examination results in the dissection course and their learning motivation through standardized SELLMO-test for students. Participants gained OSPE results between 60.5 and 92% of the maximum score. “Ready for the OR” was successfully implemented and judged an excellent add-on to anatomy teaching by the participants. However, we could not prove a significant difference in learning motivation or examination results. Future studies should focus on the learning orientation, the course’s long-term learning effects and the participants’ behavior in a real surgery setting.
PMCID: PMC3159200  PMID: 21866247
anatomy; teaching; basic surgical skills; motivation; examination results
12.  The use of thoracoscopy to enhance medical students’ interest and understanding of thoracic anatomy 
Annals of Thoracic Medicine  2012;7(3):145-148.
To develop a video-based educational tool designed for teaching thoracic anatomy and to examine whether this tool would increase students’ stimulation and motivation for learning anatomy.
Our video-based tool was developed by recording different thoracoscopic procedures focusing on intraoperative live thoracic anatomy. The tool was then integrated into a pre-existing program for first year medical students (n = 150), and included cadaver dissection of the thorax and review of clinical problem scenarios of the respiratory system. Students were guided through a viewing of the videotape that demonstrated live anatomy of the thorax (15 minutes) and then asked to complete a 5-point Likert-type questionnaire assessing the video's usefulness. Apart from this, a small group of entirely different set of students was divided into two groups, one group to view the 15-minute video presentation of thoracoscopy and chest anatomy and the other group to attend a 15-minute lecture of chest anatomy using radiological images. Both groups took a 10-item pretest and post-test multiple choice questions examination to assess short-term knowledge gained.
Of 150 medical students, 119 completed the questionnaires, 88.6% were satisfied with the thoracoscopic video as a teaching tool, 86.4% were satisfied with the quality of the images, 69.2% perceived it to be beneficial in learning anatomy, 96.2% increased their interest in learning anatomy, and 88.5% wanted this new teaching tool to be implemented to the curriculum. Majority (80.7%) of the students increased their interest in surgery as a future career. Post-test scores were significantly higher in the thoracoscopy group (P = 0.0175).
Incorporating live surgery using thoracoscopic video presentation in the gross anatomy teaching curriculum had high acceptance and satisfaction scores from first year medical students. The video increased students’ interest in learning, in clinically applying anatomic fact, and in surgery as a future career.
PMCID: PMC3425046  PMID: 22924072
Medical students; thoracic anatomy; thoracoscopy
13.  First year clinical tutorials: students’ learning experience 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC4257052  PMID: 25489253
bedside teaching; clinical tutorials; role modeling; situated cognition
14.  Musculoskeletal ultrasound imaging of the plantar forefoot in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: inter-observer agreement between a podiatrist and a radiologist 
The use of musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) in the diagnosis and management of foot and ankle musculoskeletal pathology is increasing. Due to the wide use of MSUS and the depth and breadth of training required new proposals advocate tailored learning of the technique to discrete fields of practice. The aims of the study were to evaluate the inter-observer agreement between a MSUS radiologist and a podiatrist, who had completed basic skills training in MSUS, in the MSUS assessment of the forefoot of patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
A consecutive sample of thirty-two patients with rheumatoid arthritis was assessed for presence of synovitis, erosions and bursitis within the forefoot using MSUS. All MSUS assessments were performed independently on the same day by a podiatrist and one of two Consultant Radiologists experienced in MSUS.
Moderate agreement on image acquisition and interpretation was achieved for bursitis (kappa 0.522; p < 0.01) and erosions (kappa 0.636; p < 0.01) and fair agreement for synovitis (kappa 0.216; p < 0.05) during the primary assessments. Following a further training session, substantial agreement (kappa 0.702) between the two investigators was recorded. The sensitivity of the podiatrist using MSUS was 82.4% for detection of bursitis, 83.0% for detection of erosion and 84.0% for detection of synovitis. Specificity of the podiatrist using MSUS was 88.9% for detection of bursitis, 80.7% for detection of erosion and 35.9% for detection of synovitis.
This study demonstrated good inter-observer agreement between a podiatrist and radiologist on MSUS assessment of the forefoot, particularly for bursitis and erosions, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. There is scope to further evaluate and consider the role of podiatrists in the MSUS imaging of the foot following appropriate training and also in the development of reliable protocols for MSUS assessment of the foot.
PMCID: PMC2553775  PMID: 18822149
15.  A Model for Persistent Improvement of Medical Education as Illustrated by the Surgical Reform Curriculum HeiCuMed 
Background: Heidelberg Medical School underwent a major curricular change with the implementation of the reform curriculum HeiCuMed (Heidelberg Curriculum Medicinale) in October 2001. It is based on rotational modules with daily cycles of interactive, case-based small-group seminars, PBL tutorials and training of sensomotor and communication skills. For surgical undergraduate training an organisational structure was developed that ensures continuity of medical teachers for student groups and enables their unimpaired engagement for defined periods of time while accounting for the daily clinical routine in a large surgery department of a university hospital. It includes obligatory didactic training, standardising teaching material on the basis of learning objectives and releasing teaching doctors from clinical duties for the duration of a module.
Objective: To compare the effectiveness of the undergraduate surgical reform curriculum with that of the preceding traditional one as reflected by students' evaluations.
Method: The present work analyses student evaluations of the undergraduate surgical training between 1999 and 2008 including three cohorts (~360 students each) in the traditional curriculum and 13 cohorts (~150 students each) in the reform curriculum.
Results: The evaluation of the courses, their organisation, the teaching quality, and the subjective learning was significantly better in HeiCuMed than in the preceding traditional curriculum over the whole study period.
Conclusion: A medical curriculum based on the implementation of interactive didactical methods is more important to successful teaching and the subjective gain of knowledge than knowledge transfer by traditional classroom teaching. The organisational strategy adopted in the surgical training of HeiCuMed has been successful in enabling the maintenance of a complex modern curriculum on a continuously high level within the framework of a busy surgical environment.
PMCID: PMC3149464  PMID: 21818239
Medical education; undergraduate surgery curriculum; evaluation
16.  Students and tutors' social representations of assessment in problem-based learning tutorials supporting change 
Medical programmes that implement problem-based learning (PBL) face several challenges when introducing this innovative learning method. PBL relies on small group as the foundation of study, and tutors facilitate learning by guiding the process rather than teaching the group. One of the major challenges is the use of strategies to assess students working in small groups. Self-, peer- and tutor-assessment are integral part of PBL tutorials and they're not easy to perform, especially for non experienced students and tutors. The undergraduate PBL medical programme was introduced in 2003, and after two years the curriculum committee decided to evaluate the tutorial assessment in the new program.
A random group of ten students, out of a cohort of sixty, and ten tutors (out of eighteen) were selected for semi-structured interviews. The social representations' theory was used to explore how the students and tutors made sense of "assessment in tutorials". The data were content analyzed using software for qualitative and quantitative processing of text according to lexicological distribution patterns.
Even though students and tutors are aware of the broader purpose of assessment, they felt that they were not enough trained and confident to the tutorial assessment. Assigning numbers to complex behaviors on a regular basis, as in tutorials, is counter productive to cooperative group learning and self assessment. Tutors believe that students are immature and not able to assess themselves and tutors. Students believe that good grades are closely related to good oral presentation skills and also showed a corporative attitude among themselves (protecting each other from poor grades).
Faculty training on PBL tutorials' assessment process and a systematic strategy to evaluate new programs is absolutely necessary to review and correct directions. It is envisaged that planners can make better-informed decisions about curricular implementation, review and reform when information of this nature is made available to them.
PMCID: PMC2702354  PMID: 19500408
17.  Knowledge transfer of spinal manipulation skills by student-teachers: a randomised controlled trial 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(5):992-998.
To assess the use of peer-assisted learning (PAL) of complex manipulative motor skills with respect to gender in medical students.
In 2007–2010, 292 students in their 3rd and 4th years of medical school were randomly assigned to two groups [Staff group (SG), PAL group (PG)] led by either staff tutors or student-teachers (ST). The students were taught bimanual practical and diagnostic skills (course education module of eight separate lessons) as well as a general introduction to the theory of spinal manipulative therapy. In addition to qualitative data collection (Likert scale), evaluation was performed using a multiple-choice questionnaire in addition to an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).
Complex motor skills as well as palpatory diagnostic competencies could in fact be better taught through professionals than through ST (manipulative OSCE grades/diagnostic OSCE score; SG vs. PG; male: P = 0.017/P < 0.001, female: P < 0.001/P < 0.001). The registration of theoretical knowledge showed equal results in students taught by staff or ST. In both teaching groups (SG: n = 147, PG: n = 145), no significant differences were observed between male and female students in matters of manipulative skills or theoretical knowledge. Diagnostic competencies were better in females than in males in the staff group (P = 0.041) Overall, students were more satisfied with the environment provided by professional teachers than by ST, though male students regarded the PAL system more suspiciously than their female counterparts.
The peer-assisted learning system does not seem to be generally qualified to transfer such complex spatiotemporal demands as spinal manipulative procedures.
PMCID: PMC3337919  PMID: 22223196
Peer teaching; Gender differences; Randomised controlled trial; Complex motor skills; Spinal manipulative therapy
18.  Medical students benefit from the use of ultrasound when learning peripheral IV techniques 
Recent studies support high success rates after a short learning period of ultrasound IV technique, and increased patient and provider satisfaction when using ultrasound as an adjunct to peripheral IV placement. No study to date has addressed the efficacy for instructing ultrasound-naive providers. We studied the introduction of ultrasound to the teaching technique of peripheral IV insertion on first- and second-year medical students.
This was a prospective, randomized, and controlled trial. A total of 69 medical students were randomly assigned to the control group with a classic, landmark-based approach (n = 36) or the real-time ultrasound-guided group (n = 33). Both groups observed a 20-min tutorial on IV placement using both techniques and then attempted vein cannulation. Students were given a survey to report their results and observations by a 10-cm visual analog scale. The survey response rate was 100%.
In the two groups, 73.9% stated that they attempted an IV previously, and 63.7% of students had used an ultrasound machine prior to the study. None had used ultrasound for IV access prior to our session. The average number of attempts at cannulation was 1.42 in either group. There was no difference between the control and ultrasound groups in terms of number of attempts (p = 0.31). In both groups, 66.7% of learners were able to cannulate in one attempt, 21.7% in two attempts, and 11.6% in three attempts. The study group commented that they felt they gained more knowledge from the experience (p < 0.005) and that it was easier with ultrasound guidance (p < 0.005).
Medical students feel they learn more when using ultrasound after a 20-min tutorial to place IVs and cannulation of the vein feels easier. Success rates are comparable between the traditional and ultrasound teaching approaches.
PMCID: PMC3395036  PMID: 22883311
ultrasonography; teaching; catheterization; intravenous
19.  Teaching Anatomy in the XXI Century: New Aspects and Pitfalls 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:310348.
Anatomy has historically been a cornerstone in medical education regardless of nation, racial background, or medical school system. By learning gross anatomy, medical students get a first “impression” about the structure of the human body which is the basis for understanding pathologic and clinical problems. Although the importance of teaching anatomy to both undergraduate and postgraduate students remains undisputed, there is currently a relevant debate concerning methods of anatomy teaching. In the past century, dissection and lectures were its sole pedagogy worldwide. Recently, the time allocated for anatomy teaching was dramatically reduced to such an extent that some suggest that it has fallen below an adequate standard. Traditional anatomy education based on topographical structural anatomy taught in lectures and gross dissection classes has been replaced by a multiple range of study modules, including problem-based learning, plastic models or computer-assisted learning, and curricula integration. “Does the anatomical theatre still have a place in medical education?” And “what is the problem with anatomic specimens?” We endeavor to answer both of these questions and to contribute to the debate on the current situation in undergraduate and graduate anatomy education.
Doctors without anatomy are like moles.They work in the dark and the work of their hands are mounds. Friedrich TiedemannThe foundation of the study of the art of operating must be laid in the dissecting room. Robert Liston
PMCID: PMC3842041  PMID: 24367240
20.  A prospective randomized trial of content expertise versus process expertise in small group teaching 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:70.
Effective teaching requires an understanding of both what (content knowledge) and how (process knowledge) to teach. While previous studies involving medical students have compared preceptors with greater or lesser content knowledge, it is unclear whether process expertise can compensate for deficient content expertise. Therefore, the objective of our study was to compare the effect of preceptors with process expertise to those with content expertise on medical students' learning outcomes in a structured small group environment.
One hundred and fifty-one first year medical students were randomized to 11 groups for the small group component of the Cardiovascular-Respiratory course at the University of Calgary. Each group was then block randomized to one of three streams for the entire course: tutoring exclusively by physicians with content expertise (n = 5), tutoring exclusively by physicians with process expertise (n = 3), and tutoring by content experts for 11 sessions and process experts for 10 sessions (n = 3). After each of the 21 small group sessions, students evaluated their preceptors' teaching with a standardized instrument. Students' knowledge acquisition was assessed by an end-of-course multiple choice (EOC-MCQ) examination.
Students rated the process experts significantly higher on each of the instrument's 15 items, including the overall rating. Students' mean score (±SD) on the EOC-MCQ exam was 76.1% (8.1) for groups taught by content experts, 78.2% (7.8) for the combination group and 79.5% (9.2) for process expert groups (p = 0.11). By linear regression student performance was higher if they had been taught by process experts (regression coefficient 2.7 [0.1, 5.4], p < .05), but not content experts (p = .09).
When preceptors are physicians, content expertise is not a prerequisite to teach first year medical students within a structured small group environment; preceptors with process expertise result in at least equivalent, if not superior, student outcomes in this setting.
PMCID: PMC2966459  PMID: 20946674
21.  Evaluation of the first year of the Oxpal Medlink: A web-based partnership designed to address specific challenges facing medical education in the occupied Palestinian territories 
JRSM Open  2014;5(2):2042533313517692.
To (1) evaluate educational needs of clinical students at Al-Quds University Medical School in the West Bank; (2) address these needs where possible using synchronous distance learning, with clinicians in Oxford providing case-based tutorials to undergraduates in the West Bank via an online platform (WizIQ) and (3) assess the impact of this education.
Review of online OxPal Medlink database for tutorials held between March 2012 and April 2013. Needs assessment and evaluation of student and tutor experiences through online questionnaires, focus groups and semi-structured interviews.
Oxford University Hospitals, Oxford, UK, and Al-Quds University Medical School, Abu Dies, Palestine.
Doctors at Oxford University Hospitals and fourth-, fifth- and sixth-year medical students and faculty members at Al-Quds Medical School.
Main outcome measures
Number of tutorials, student participation, student-rated satisfaction and qualitative feedback from tutors and students.
Students demonstrated strong theoretical knowledge but struggled to apply this in presentation-based scenarios. Between March 2012 and April 2013, 90 tutorials were delivered to 60 students. Feedback: >95% respondents rated tutorials as ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ and ‘Very’ or ‘Fairly’ relevant to their future practice in Palestine. Students reported the programme had modified their approach to patients but requested better synchronization with concurrent attachments and clarification of learning outcomes.
OxPal Medlink is a novel, web-based distance-learning partnership designed to overcome some of the challenges to local medical education in the occupied Palestinian territories. Evaluation of the first year indicates teaching is relevant to local practice and of high quality. This approach may have the potential to strengthen local capacity for medical education.
PMCID: PMC4012652  PMID: 25057373
distance learning; education; Internet; teaching
22.  The need for education on health related-quality of life 
Health-related quality of life is increasingly recognised as an important outcome measure that complements existing measures of clinical effectiveness. The education available on this subject for different healthcare professionals is varied. This article describes the design, implementation and evaluation of a Special Study Module on Health-Related Quality of Life for undergraduate medical students at the University of Birmingham.
The course involves 10 hours of "guided discovery learning" covering core concepts of Health-Related Quality of Life assessment including methodological considerations, use in clinical trials, routine practice and in health policy followed by self-directed learning. The taught components aim to provide students with the skills and knowledge to enable them to explore and evaluate the use of quality of life assessments in a particular patient group, or setting, through self-directed learning supported by tutorials.
The use of case studies, recent publications and research, and discussion with a research oncology nurse in task-based learning appeared to provide students with a stimulating environment in which to develop their ideas and was reflected in the diverse range of subjects chosen by students for self-directed study and the positive feedback on the module. Course evaluation and student assessment suggests that quality of life education appears to integrate well within the medical curriculum and allows students to develop and utilise skills of time-management and independent, self-directed learning that can be applied in any context.
We suggest that education and training initiatives in quality of life may improve the quality of studies, and help bridge the gap between research and clinical practice. Resources for curriculum development on health-related quality of life have been developed by the International Society for Quality of Life Research and may prove a useful tool to educators interested in this area.
PMCID: PMC2222608  PMID: 18194541
23.  Arthroscopic Lavage and Debridement for Osteoarthritis of the Knee 
Executive Summary
The purpose of this review was to determine the effectiveness and adverse effects of arthroscopic lavage and debridement, with or without lavage, in the treatment of symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee, and to conduct an economic analysis if evidence for effectiveness can be established.
Questions Asked
Does arthroscopic lavage improve motor function and pain associated with OA of the knee?
Does arthroscopic debridement improve motor function and pain associated with OA of the knee?
If evidence for effectiveness can be established, what is the duration of effect?
What are the adverse effects of these procedures?
What are the economic considerations if evidence for effectiveness can be established?
Clinical Need
Osteoarthritis, the most common rheumatologic musculoskeletal disorder, affects about 10% of the Canadian adult population. Although the natural history of OA is not known, it is a degenerative condition that affects the bone cartilage in the joint. It can be diagnosed at earlier ages, particularly within the sports injuries population, though the prevalence of non-injury-related OA increases with increasing age and varies with gender, with women being twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with this condition. Thus, with an aging population, the impact of OA on the health care system is expected to be considerable.
Treatments for OA of the knee include conservative or nonpharmacological therapy, like physiotherapy, weight management and exercise; and more generally, intra-articular injections, arthroscopic surgery and knee replacement surgery. Whereas knee replacement surgery is considered an end-of-line intervention, the less invasive surgical procedures of lavage or debridement may be recommended for earlier and more severe disease. Both arthroscopic lavage and debridement are generally indicated in patients with knee joint pain, with or without mechanical problems, that are refractory to medical therapy. The clinical utility of these procedures is unclear, hence, the assessment of their effectiveness in this review.
Lavage and Debridement
Arthroscopic lavage involves the visually guided introduction of saline solution into the knee joint and removal of fluid, with the intent of extracting any excess fluids and loose bodies that may be in the knee joint. Debridement, in comparison, may include the introduction of saline into the joint, in addition to the smoothening of bone surface without any further intervention (less invasive forms of debridement), or the addition of more invasive procedures such as abrasion, partial or full meniscectomy, synovectomy, or osteotomy (referred to as debridement in combination with meniscectomy or other procedures). The focus of this health technology assessment is on the effectiveness of lavage, and debridement (with or without meniscal tear resection).
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat followed its standard procedures and searched these electronic databases: Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and The International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment.
The keywords searched were: arthroscopy, debridement, lavage, wound irrigation, or curettage; arthritis, rheumatoid, osteoarthritis; osteoarthritis, knee; knee or knee joint.
Time frame: Only 2 previous health technology assessments were identified, one of which was an update of the other, and included 3 of 4 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) from the first report. Therefore, the search period for inclusion of studies in this assessment was January 1, 1995 to April 24, 2005.
Excluded were: case reports, comments, editorials, and letters. Identified were 335 references, including previously published health technology assessments, and 5 articles located through a manual search of references from published articles and health technology assessments. These were examined against the criteria, as described below, which resulted in the inclusion of 1 health technology assessment and its corresponding update, and 4 articles (2 RCTs and 2 level 4 studies) for arthroscopic lavage and 8 papers (2 RCTs and 6 level 4 studies) for arthroscopic debridement.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language articles from PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane Systematic Reviews, and health technology assessments from January 1, 1995 onward
Studies on OA of the knee with a focus on the outcomes of motor function and pain
Studies of arthroscopic procedures only
Studies in which meniscal tear resection/meniscectomy (partial or full) has been conducted in conjunction with lavage or debridement.
Exclusion Criteria
Studies that focus on inflammatory OA, joint tuberculosis, septic joints, psoriatic joints (e.g., psoriatic knee joint synovitis), synovitis, chondropathy of the knee and gonarthrosis (which includes varotic gonarthrosis)
Studies that focus on rheumatoid arthritis
Studies that focus on meniscal tears from an acute injury (e.g., sports injury)
Studies that are based on lavage or debridement for microfracture of the knee
Studies in which other surgical procedures (e.g., high tibial osteotomy, synovectomy, have been conducted in addition to lavage/debridement)
Studies based on malalignment of the knee (e.g., varus/valgus arthritic conditions).
Studies that compare lavage to lavage plus drug therapy
Studies on procedures that are not arthroscopic (i.e., visually guided) (e.g., nonarthroscopic lavage)
Studies of OA in children.
Arthroscopic lavage or debridement, with or without meniscectomy, for the treatment of motor function symptoms and pain associated with OA of the knee.
Studies in which there was a comparison group of either diseased or healthy subjects or one in which subjects were their own control were included. Comparisons to other treatments included placebo (or sham) arthroscopy. Sham arthroscopy involved making small incisions and manipulating the knee, without the insertion of instruments.
Summary of Findings
In early OA of the knee with pain refractory to medical treatment, there is level 1b evidence that:
Arthroscopic lavage gives rise to a statistically significant, but not clinically meaningful effect in improving pain (WOMAC pain and VAS pain) up to 12 months following surgery. The effect on joint function (WOMAC function) and the primary outcome (WOMAC aggregate) was neither statistically nor clinically significant.
In moderate or severe OA of the knee with pain refractory to medical treatment, there is:
Level 1b evidence that the effect on pain and function of arthroscopic lavage (10 L saline) and debridement (with 10 L saline lavage) is not statistically significant up to 24 months following surgery.
Level 2 evidence that arthroscopic debridement (with 3 L saline lavage) is effective in the control of pain in severe OA of the medial femoral condyle for up to 5 years.
For debridement in combination with meniscectomy, there is level 4 evidence that the procedure, as appropriate, might be effective in earlier stages, unicompartmental disease, shorter symptom duration, sudden onset of mechanical symptoms, and preoperative full range of motion. However, as these findings are derived from very poor quality evidence, the identification of subsets of patients that may benefit from this procedure requires further testing.
In patients with pain due to a meniscal tear, of the medial compartment in particular, repair of the meniscus results in better pain control at 2 years following surgery than if the pain is attributable to other causes. There is insufficient evidence to comment on the effectiveness of lateral meniscus repair on pain control.
Arthroscopic debridement of the knee has thus far only been found to be effective for medial compartmental OA. All other indications should be reviewed with a view to reducing arthroscopic debridement as an effective therapy.
Arthroscopic lavage of the knee is not indicated for any stage of OA.
There is very poor quality evidence on the effectiveness of debridement with partial meniscectomy in the case of meniscal tears in OA of the knee.
PMCID: PMC3382413  PMID: 23074463
24.  Can near-peer medical students effectively teach a new curriculum in physical examination? 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:165.
Students in German medical schools frequently complain that the subject ‘clinical examination’ is not taught in a satisfying manner due to time constraints and lack of personnel resources. While the effectiveness and efficiency of practice-oriented teaching in small groups using near-peer teaching has been shown, it is rarely used in German medical schools. We investigated whether adding a new near-peer teaching course developed with student input plus patient examination under supervision in small groups improves basic clinical examination skills in third year medical students compared to a traditional clinical examination course alone.
Third year medical students registered for the mandatory curricular clinical examination course at the medical faculty of the Technische Universität München were invited to participate in a randomised trial with blinded outcome assessment. Students were randomised to the control group participating in the established curricular physical examination course or to the intervention group, which received additional near-peer teaching for the same content. The learning success was verified by a voluntary objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).
A total of 84 students were randomised and 53 (63%) participated in the final OSCE. Students in the control group scored a median of 57% (25th percentile 47%, 75th percentile 61%) of the maximum possible total points of the OSCE compared to 77% (73%, 80%; p < 0.001) for students in the intervention group. Only two students in the intervention group received a lower score than the best student in the control group.
Adding a near-peer teaching course to the routine course significantly improved the clinical examination skills of medical students in an efficient manner in the context of a resource-constrained setting.
PMCID: PMC3874636  PMID: 24325639
25.  Student tutors for hands-on training in focused emergency echocardiography – a randomized controlled trial 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:101.
Focused emergency echocardiography performed by non-cardiologists has been shown to be feasible and effective in emergency situations. During resuscitation a short focused emergency echocardiography has been shown to narrow down potential differential diagnoses and to improve patient survival. Quite a large proportion of physicians are eligible to learn focused emergency echocardiography. Training in focused emergency echocardiography usually comprises a lecture, hands-on trainings in very small groups, and a practice phase. There is a shortage of experienced echocardiographers who can supervise the second step, the hands-on training. We thus investigated whether student tutors can perform the hands-on training for focused emergency echocardiography.
A total of 30 volunteer 4th and 5th year students were randomly assigned to a twelve-hour basic echocardiography course comprising a lecture followed by a hands-on training in small groups taught either by an expert cardiographer (EC) or by a student tutor (ST). Using a pre-post-design, the students were evaluated by an OSCE. The students had to generate two still frames with the apical five-chamber view and the parasternal long axis in five minutes and to correctly mark twelve anatomical cardiac structures. Two blinded expert cardiographers rated the students’ performance using a standardized checklist. Students could achieve a maximum of 25 points.
Both groups showed significant improvement after the training (p < .0001). In the group taught by EC the average increased from 2.3±3.4 to 17.1±3.0 points, and in the group taught by ST from 2.7±3.0 to 13.9±2.7 points. The difference in improvement between the groups was also significant (p = .03).
Hands-on training by student tutors led to a significant gain in echocardiography skills, although inferior to teaching by an expert cardiographer.
PMCID: PMC3532362  PMID: 23107588

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