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1.  Development of a 'toolkit' to identify medical students at risk of failure to thrive on the course: an exploratory retrospective case study 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:95.
Background
An earlier study at Nottingham suggested that 10-15% of the medical student intake was likely to fail completely or have substantial problems on the course. This is a problem for the students, the Faculty, and society as a whole. If struggling students could be identified early in the course and additional pastoral resources offered, some of this wastage might be avoided. An exploratory case study was conducted to determine whether there were common indicators in the early years, over and above academic failure, that might aid the identification of students potentially at risk.
Methods
The study group was drawn from five successive cohorts. Students who had experienced difficulties were identified in any of four ways: from Minutes of the Academic Progress Committee; by scanning examination lists at key stages (end of the first two years, and finals at the end of the clinical course); from lists of students flagged to the Postgraduate Deanery as in need of extra monitoring or support; and from progress files of those who had left the course prematurely. Relevant data were extracted from each student's course progress file into a customised database.
Results
1188 students were admitted over the five years. 162 (14%) were identified for the study, 75 of whom had failed to complete the course by October 2010. In the 87 who did graduate, a combination of markers in Years 1 and 2 identified over half of those who would subsequently have the most severe problems throughout the course. This 'toolkit' comprised failure of 3 or more examinations per year, an overall average of <50%, health or social difficulties, failure to complete Hepatitis B vaccination on time, and remarks noted about poor attitude or behaviour.
Conclusions
A simple toolkit of academic and non-academic markers could be used routinely to help identify potential strugglers at an early stage, enabling additional support and guidance to be given to these students.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-95
PMCID: PMC3229499  PMID: 22098629
2.  Profiling strugglers in a graduate-entry medicine course at Nottingham: a retrospective case study 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:124.
Background
10-15% of students struggle at some point in their medicine course. Risk factors include weaker academic qualifications, male gender, mental illness, UK ethnic minority status, and poor study skills. Recent research on an undergraduate medicine course provided a toolkit to aid early identification of students likely to struggle, who can be targeted by established support and study interventions. The present study sought to extend this work by investigating the number and characteristics of strugglers on a graduate-entry medicine (GEM) programme.
Methods
A retrospective study of four GEM entry cohorts (2003–6) was carried out. All students who had demonstrated unsatisfactory progress or left prematurely were included. Any information about academic, administrative, personal, or social difficulties, were extracted from their course progress files into a customised database and examined.
Results
362 students were admitted to the course, and 53 (14.6%) were identified for the study, of whom 15 (4.1%) did not complete the course. Students in the study group differed from the others in having a higher proportion of 2ii first degrees, and scoring less well on GAMSAT, an aptitude test used for admission. Within the study group, it proved possible to categorise students into the same groups previously reported (struggler throughout, pre-clinical struggler, clinical struggler, health-related struggler, borderline struggler) and to identify the majority using a number of flags for early difficulties. These flags included: missed attendance, unsatisfactory attitude or behaviour, health problems, social/family problems, failure to complete immunity status checks, and attendance at academic progress committee.
Conclusions
Problems encountered in a graduate-entry medicine course were comparable to those reported in a corresponding undergraduate programme. A toolkit of academic and non-academic flags of difficulty can be used for early identification of many who will struggle, and could be used to target appropriate support and interventions.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-124
PMCID: PMC3567936  PMID: 23249471
Graduate-entry medicine struggler identification flags UK
3.  Medical School Attrition-Beyond the Statistics A Ten Year Retrospective Study 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:13.
Background
Medical school attrition is important - securing a place in medical school is difficult and a high attrition rate can affect the academic reputation of a medical school and staff morale. More important, however, are the personal consequences of dropout for the student. The aims of our study were to examine factors associated with attrition over a ten-year period (2001–2011) and to study the personal effects of dropout on individual students.
Methods
The study included quantitative analysis of completed cohorts and qualitative analysis of ten-year data. Data were collected from individual student files, examination and admission records, exit interviews and staff interviews. Statistical analysis was carried out on five successive completed cohorts. Qualitative data from student files was transcribed and independently analysed by three authors. Data was coded and categorized and key themes were identified.
Results
Overall attrition rate was 5.7% (45/779) in 6 completed cohorts when students who transferred to other medical courses were excluded. Students from Kuwait and United Arab Emirates had the highest dropout rate (RR = 5.70, 95% Confidence Intervals 2.65 to 12.27;p < 0.0001) compared to Irish and EU students combined. North American students had a higher dropout rate than Irish and EU students; RR = 2.68 (1.09 to 6.58;p = 0.027) but this was not significant when transfers were excluded (RR = 1.32(0.38, 4.62);p = 0.75). Male students were more likely to dropout than females (RR 1.70, .93 to 3.11) but this was not significant (p = 0.079).
Absenteeism was documented in 30% of students, academic difficulty in 55.7%, social isolation in 20%, and psychological morbidity in 40% (higher than other studies). Qualitative analysis revealed recurrent themes of isolation, failure, and despair. Student Welfare services were only accessed by one-third of dropout students.
Conclusions
While dropout is often multifactorial, certain red flag signals may alert us to risk of dropout including non-EU origin, academic struggling, absenteeism, social isolation, depression and leave of absence. Psychological morbidity amongst dropout students is high and Student Welfare services should be actively promoted. Absenteeism should prompt early intervention. Behind every dropout statistic lies a personal story. All medical schools have a duty of care to support students who leave the medical programme.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-13
PMCID: PMC3565981  PMID: 23363547
Medical school attrition; Dropout; Exit interviews; Student welfare services; Academic difficulty; Absenteeism
4.  Attrition and success rates of accelerated students in nursing courses: a systematic review 
BMC Nursing  2016;15:24.
Background
There is a comprehensive literature on the academic outcomes (attrition and success) of students in traditional/baccalaureate nursing programs, but much less is known about the academic outcomes of students in accelerated nursing programs. The aim of this systematic review is to report on the attrition and success rates (either internal examination or NCLEX-RN) of accelerated students, compared to traditional students.
Methods
For the systematic review, the databases (Pubmed, Cinahl and PsychINFO) and Google Scholar were searched using the search terms ‘accelerated’ or ‘accreditation for prior learning’, ‘fast-track’ or ‘top up’ and ‘nursing’ with ‘attrition’ or ‘retention’ or ‘withdrawal’ or ‘success’ from 1994 to January 2016. All relevant articles were included, regardless of quality.
Results
The findings of 19 studies of attrition rates and/or success rates for accelerated students are reported. For international accelerated students, there were only three studies, which are heterogeneous, and have major limitations. One of three studies has lower attrition rates, and one has shown higher success rates, than traditional students. In contrast, another study has shown high attrition and low success for international accelerated students. For graduate accelerated students, most of the studies are high quality, and showed that they have rates similar or better than traditional students. Thus, five of six studies have shown similar or lower attrition rates. Four of these studies with graduate accelerated students and an additional seven studies of success rates only, have shown similar or better success rates, than traditional students. There are only three studies of non-university graduate accelerated students, and these had weaknesses, but were consistent in reporting higher attrition rates than traditional students.
Conclusions
The paucity and weakness of information available makes it unclear as to the attrition and/or success of international accelerated students in nursing programs. The good information available suggests that accelerated programs may be working reasonably well for the graduate students. However, the limited information available for non-university graduate students is weak, but consistent, in suggesting they may struggle in accelerated courses. Further studies are needed to determine the attrition and success rates of accelerated students, particularly for international and non-university graduate students.
doi:10.1186/s12912-016-0145-7
PMCID: PMC4825075  PMID: 27064943
Accelerated nursing students; Accelerated programs; International students; Non-university graduate students; University graduates
5.  Predicting academic outcomes in an Australian graduate entry medical programme 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:31.
Background
Predictive validity studies for selection criteria into graduate entry courses in Australia have been inconsistent in their outcomes. One of the reasons for this inconsistency may have been failure to have adequately considered background disciplines of the graduates as well as other potential confounding socio-demographic variables that may influence academic performance.
Methods
Graduate entrants into the MBBS at The University of Western Australia between 2005 and 2012 were studied (N = 421). They undertook a 6-month bridging course, before joining the undergraduate-entry students for Years 3 through 6 of the medical course. Students were selected using their undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA), Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test scores (GAMSAT) and a score from a standardised interview. Students could apply from any background discipline and could also be selected through an alternative rural entry pathway again utilising these 3 entry scores. Entry scores, together with age, gender, discipline background, rural entry status and a socioeconomic indicator were entered into linear regression models to determine the relative influence of each predictor on subsequent academic performance in the course.
Results
Background discipline, age, gender and selection through the rural pathway were variously related to each of the 3 entry criteria. Their subsequent inclusion in linear regression models identified GPA at entry, being from a health/allied health background and total GAMSAT score as consistent independent predictors of stronger academic performance as measured by the weighted average mark for the core units completed throughout the course. The Interview score only weakly predicted performance later in the course and mainly in clinically-based units. The association of total GAMSAT score with academic performance was predominantly dictated by the score in GAMSAT Section 3 (Reasoning in the biological and physical sciences) with Section 1 (Reasoning in the humanities and social sciences) and Section 2 (Written communication) also contributing either later or early in the course respectively. Being from a more disadvantaged socioeconomic background predicted weaker academic performance early in the course. Being an older student at entry or from a humanities background also predicted weaker academic performance.
Conclusions
This study confirms that both GPA at entry and the GAMSAT score together predict outcomes not only in the early stages of a graduate-entry medical programme but throughout the course. It also indicates that a comprehensive evaluation of the predictive validity of GAMSAT scores, interview scores and undergraduate academic performance as valid selection processes for graduate entry into medical school needs to simultaneously consider the potential confounding influence of graduate discipline background and other socio-demographic factors on both the initial selection parameters themselves as well as subsequent academic performance.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-31
PMCID: PMC3931285  PMID: 24528509
6.  Attrition Rates Between Residents in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Other Clinical Specialties, 2000–2009 
Background
As resident attrition disrupts educational and workload balance and reduces the number of graduating physicians to care for patients, an ongoing goal of graduate medical education programs is to retain residents.
Objective
We compared annual rates of resident attrition in obstetrics and gynecology (Ob-Gyn) with other clinical specialties of similar or larger size during a recent 10-year period, and explored the reasons for resident attrition.
Methods
In this observational study, we analyzed annual data from the American Medical Association Graduate Medical Education Census between academic years 2000 and 2009 for residents who entered Ob-Gyn and other core clinical specialties. Our primary outcome was the trend in averaged annual attrition rates.
Results
The average annual attrition was 196 ± 12 (SD) residents, representing 4.2% ± 0.5% of all Ob-Gyn residents. Rates of attrition were consistently higher among men (5.3%) and international medical school graduates (7.6%). The annual rate of attrition was similar to that for other clinical specialties (mean: 4.0%; range: from 1.5% in emergency medicine to 7.9% in psychiatry). The attrition rates for Ob-Gyn residents were relatively stable for the 10-year period (range: 3.6% in 2008 to 5.1% in 2006). Common reasons for attrition were transition to another specialty (30.0%), withdrawal/dismissal (28.2%), transfer to another Ob-Gyn program (25.4%), and leave of absence (2.2%). These proportions remained fairly constant during this 10-year period.
Conclusions
The average annual attrition rate of residents in Ob-Gyn was 4.2%, comparable to most other core clinical specialties.
doi:10.4300/JGME-D-12-00141.1
PMCID: PMC3693692  PMID: 24404271
7.  Predictors of Attrition and Academic Success of Medical Students: A 30-Year Retrospective Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39144.
Aim
To determine attrition and predictors of academic success among medical students at University of Split, Croatia.
Methods
We analysed academic records of 2054 students enrolled during 1979–2008 period.
Results
We found that 26% (533/2054) of enrolled students did not graduate. The most common reasons for attrition were ‘personal’ (36.4%), transfer to another medical school (35.6%), and dismissal due to unsatisfactory academic record (21.2%). Grade point average (GPA) and study duration of attrition students were significantly associated with parental education. There were 1126 graduates, 395 men and 731 women. Their average graduation GPA was 3.67±0.53 and study duration 7.6±2.44 years. During 5-year curriculum only 6.4% (42/654) of students graduated in time, and 55% (240/472) of students graduated in time after curriculum was extended to 6 years. Variables predicting whether a student will graduate or not were high school grades, entrance exam score and year of enrollment. Significant predictors of graduation grades were high school grades and entrance exam score. Entrance exam score predicted length of studying.
Conclusion
Preadmission academic qualifications and year of enrollment predict academic success in medical school. More attention should be devoted to high attrition.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039144
PMCID: PMC3377595  PMID: 22737228
8.  Trends in attrition among medical teaching staff at universities in Myanmar 2009–2013 
ABSTRACT
Although lack of human resources for health is becoming a global problem, there are few studies on human resources in Myanmar. This study was conducted to investigate the attrition rates of teaching staff from universities for medical professions in Myanmar from 2009 to 2013. The data were collected from administrative records from Department of Medical Sciences, Ministry of Health, Myanmar. Numbers of staff and those who permanently left work (attrition) from 2009 to 2013 were counted. The reasons were classified into two categories; involuntary attrition (death or retirement) and voluntary attrition (resignation or absenteeism). Official records of the attrited staff were reviewed for identifying demographic characteristics. The annual attrition rate for all kinds of health workers was about 4%. Among 494 attrited staff from 2009 to 2013, 357 staff (72.3%) left their work by involuntary attrition, while 137 staff (27.7%) left voluntarily. Doctors left their work with the highest annual rate (6.7%), while the rate for nurses was the lowest (1.1%). Male staff attrited with a higher rate (4.6%) than female staff (2.7%). Staff aged 46–60 years had the highest attrition rate. PhD degree holders had the highest rate (5.9%), while basic degree holders had the second highest rate (3.5%). Associate professors and above showed the highest attrition rate (8.1%). Teaching staff from non-clinical subjects had the higher rates (8.2%). Among 494 attrited staff, significant differences between involuntary attrition and voluntary attrition were observed in age, marital status, education, overseas degree, position, field of teaching, duration of services and duration of non-residential service. These findings indicated the need to develop appropriate policies such as educational reforms, local recruitment plans, transparent regulatory and administrative measures, and professional incentives to retain the job.
PMCID: PMC4767512  PMID: 27019526
attrition; teaching staff; Department of Medical Sciences; Myanmar
9.  Can the 12-item general health questionnaire be used to identify medical students who might ‘struggle’ on the medical course? A prospective study on two cohorts 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:48.
Background
Students who fail to thrive on the Nottingham undergraduate medical course frequently suffer from anxiety, depression or other mental health problems. These difficulties may be the cause, or the result of, academic struggling. Early detection of vulnerable students might direct pastoral care and remedial support to where it is needed. We investigated the use of the short-form General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) as a possible screening tool.
Methods
Two consecutive cohorts (2006 and 2007) were invited to complete the GHQ-12. The questionnaire was administered online, during the second semester (after semester 1 exams) for the 2006 cohort and during the first semester for the 2007 cohort. All data were held securely and confidentially. At the end of the course, GHQ scores were examined in relation to course progress.
Results
251 students entered the course in 2006 and 254 in 2007; 164 (65%) and 160 (63%), respectively, completed the GHQ-12. In both cohorts, the study and non-study groups were very similar in terms of pre-admission socio-demographic characteristics and overall course marks. In the 2006 study group, the GHQ Likert score obtained part-way through the first year was negatively correlated with exam marks during Years 1 and 2, but the average exam mark in semester 1 was the sole independent predictor of marks in semester 2 and Year 2. No correlations were found for the 2007 study group but the GHQ score was a weak positive predictor of marks in semester 2, with semester 1 average exam mark again being the strongest predictor. A post-hoc moderated-mediation analysis suggested that significant negative associations of GHQ scores with semester 1 and 2 exams applied only to those who completed the GHQ after their semester 1 exams. Students who were identified as GHQ ‘cases’ in the 2006 group were statistically less likely to complete the course on time (OR = 4.74, p 0.002). There was a non-significant trend in the same direction in the 2007 group.
Conclusions
Results from two cohorts provide insufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of the GHQ-12 as a screening tool. The timing of administration could have a critical influence on the results, and the theoretical and practical implications of this finding are discussed. Low marks in semester 1 examinations seem be the best single indicator of students at risk for subsequent poor performance.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-48
PMCID: PMC3616988  PMID: 23548161
10.  Some Observations on Attrition of Students from Canadian Medical Schools 
Students who entered their freshman year for the first time in 1958 and in 1959, from all medical schools in Canada, and those entering the four Western schools in 1960 were studied from the time they matriculated until they either graduated or withdrew from medical school. The rate of attrition is about 15% of matriculants each year, with the lowest rate at the University of Western Ontario (1.7%) and the highest at the University of Ottawa (33.6%) over the time period studied. Attrition was classified as academic and non-academic. Significantly higher rates were found in the case of non-academic attrition for women and in the case of academic attrition for Commonwealth students. Significantly higher rates for both types of attrition were found for older students and students who had attended undergraduate colleges different from their medical school colleges. It would appear from available statistics that the factors which combine to produce attrition are the intellectual and personality characteristics of the student, school promotional policies and evaluation methods.
PMCID: PMC1936080  PMID: 6019678
11.  Impact of extended course duration and stricter study organization on attrition and academic performance of medical students 
Croatian Medical Journal  2013;54(2):192-197.
Aim
To assess whether extended medical school duration, block/modular structure of subjects, not allowing students to transfer exams into the higher course year, and curriculum implementation in line with the Bologna Accord are associated with lower attrition and better academic outcomes of medical students.
Methods
We retrospectively investigated curricula at the University of Split School of Medicine and academic outcomes of 2301 medical students during a 33-year period (1979-2011). The following data were obtained: grade point average (GPA) at the end of the studies, duration of studies, graduation on time, and whether the student graduated or not.
Results
After extension of medical curriculum from 5 to 6 years, students had significantly better grades (3.35 vs 3.68; P < 0.001), shorter study duration (7.0 vs 6.0 years; P < 0.001), and more students graduated on time (6.5% vs 57%; P < 0.001). Changes in the 6-year curriculum, such as stricter study regulations and adoption of Bologna Accord, were associated with better indicators of students’ academic success. The lowest attrition and the highest grades during the studied period were observed after the implementation of the Bologna Accord in 2005.
Conclusion
Introduction of a longer medical curriculum, block/modular subject structure, stricter regulations of exam transfer, and curriculum in line with the Bologna Accord may contribute to better academic outcomes and lower attrition of medical students.
doi:10.3325/cmj.2013.54.192
PMCID: PMC3641877  PMID: 23630147
12.  Frequency and Predictors of Courses Repetition, Probation, and Delayed Graduation in Kashan Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery 
Nursing and Midwifery Studies  2013;2(4):89-96.
Background:
Course failing and delayed graduation are important concerns in educational systems. The reasons of these educational failures need to be clarified.
Objectives:
This study was designed to determine the academic failure rate and its predictors in Nursing and Midwifery Students in Kashan University of Medical Sciences.
Materials and Methods:
In this cross-sectional study, the records of all the students graduated in Nursing and Midwifery faculty during 18 years (1986 - 2003) were evaluated (1174 graduates). The demographic variables and the educational situation were recorded. The frequency of course repetition, probation, and delayed graduation were determined and the data were analyzed using the chi-square and logistic regression tests.
Results:
The frequency of course repetition, probation, and delayed graduation was reported to be 19.25%, 3.9% and 19.85%, respectively. Gaining Low grade in high school, transferring from other universities, having special quota, and transferring temporarily to other universities were mentioned as the risk factors of academic failure. The major had a significant relationship with academic failure. Day time students had more course failure and night time students stayed longer in the university.
Conclusions:
The individual characteristics, educational background and admission criteria had showed relation with academic failure. Vulnerable students should be identified and educational supports should be provided for these students.
PMCID: PMC4228902  PMID: 25414885
Educational Measurement; Educational Status; Student Dropouts; Education, Medical
13.  Flipping for success: evaluating the effectiveness of a novel teaching approach in a graduate level setting 
BMC Medical Education  2015;15:27.
Background
Flipped Classroom is a model that’s quickly gaining recognition as a novel teaching approach among health science curricula. The purpose of this study was four-fold and aimed to compare Flipped Classroom effectiveness ratings with: 1) student socio-demographic characteristics, 2) student final grades, 3) student overall course satisfaction, and 4) course pre-Flipped Classroom effectiveness ratings.
Methods
The participants in the study consisted of 67 Masters-level graduate students in an introductory epidemiology class. Data was collected from students who completed surveys during three time points (beginning, middle and end) in each term. The Flipped Classroom was employed for the academic year 2012–2013 (two terms) using both pre-class activities and in-class activities.
Results
Among the 67 Masters-level graduate students, 80% found the Flipped Classroom model to be either somewhat effective or very effective (M = 4.1/5.0). International students rated the Flipped Classroom to be significantly more effective when compared to North American students (X2 = 11.35, p < 0.05). Students’ perceived effectiveness of the Flipped Classroom had no significant association to their academic performance in the course as measured by their final grades (rs = 0.70). However, students who found the Flipped Classroom to be effective were also more likely to be satisfied with their course experience. Additionally, it was found that the SEEQ variable scores for students enrolled in the Flipped Classroom were significantly higher than the ones for students enrolled prior to the implementation of the Flipped Classroom (p = 0.003).
Conclusions
Overall, the format of the Flipped Classroom provided more opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking, independently facilitate their own learning, and more effectively interact with and learn from their peers. Additionally, the instructor was given more flexibility to cover a wider range and depth of material, provide in-class applied learning opportunities based on problem-solving activities and offer timely feedback/guidance to students. Yet in our study, this teaching style had its fair share of challenges, which were largely dependent on the use and management of technology. Despite these challenges, the Flipped Classroom proved to be a novel and effective teaching approach at the graduate level setting.
doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0317-2
PMCID: PMC4363198  PMID: 25884508
Flipped Classroom; Education; Instructional technology; Students; Graduate level setting
14.  Medical students’ personal experience of high-stakes failure: case studies using interpretative phenomenological analysis 
BMC Medical Education  2015;15:86.
Background
Failing a high-stakes assessment at medical school is a major event for those who go through the experience. Students who fail at medical school may be more likely to struggle in professional practice, therefore helping individuals overcome problems and respond appropriately is important. There is little understanding about what factors influence how individuals experience failure or make sense of the failing experience in remediation. The aim of this study was to investigate the complexity surrounding the failure experience from the student’s perspective using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA).
Methods
The accounts of three medical students who had failed final re-sit exams, were subjected to in-depth analysis using IPA methodology. IPA was used to analyse each transcript case-by-case allowing the researcher to make sense of the participant’s subjective world. The analysis process allowed the complexity surrounding the failure to be highlighted, alongside a narrative describing how students made sense of the experience.
Results
The circumstances surrounding students as they approached assessment and experienced failure at finals were a complex interaction between academic problems, personal problems (specifically finance and relationships), strained relationships with friends, family or faculty, and various mental health problems. Each student experienced multi-dimensional issues, each with their own individual combination of problems, but experienced remediation as a one-dimensional intervention with focus only on improving performance in written exams. What these students needed to be included was help with clinical skills, plus social and emotional support. Fear of termination of the their course was a barrier to open communication with staff.
Conclusions
These students’ experience of failure was complex. The experience of remediation is influenced by the way in which students make sense of failing. Generic remediation programmes may fail to meet the needs of students for whom personal, social and mental health issues are a part of the picture.
doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0371-9
PMCID: PMC4548844  PMID: 25964102
Underperformance; Failure; Experience; Medical student; Medical school; Interpretative phenomenological analysis
15.  Coherent Learning: Creating High-level Performance and Cultural Empathy From Student to Expert 
Global Advances in Health and Medicine  2014;3(Suppl 1):BPA17.
Background:
Schools of nursing are charged with graduating nursing students who reflect the race and ethnicity of the communities they will serve. A college of nursing in Oklahoma received a grant to do just that for the Native American community in Oklahoma. In 1998, 19 Native American students were admitted to the school; only 12 graduated 2 years later. The rate of attrition for Native American nursing students averaged 57% between 1997 and 2001. The overall attrition rate was approximately 9%.
Methods:
HeartMath trainers were identified and prepared in 2002 and implemented the program in the nursing college in 2003. The program was voluntary for the first year, then became part of new student orientation the next year. Trainings were offered monthly for students and faculty and were available to every student. Laboratory computers were equipped with the Freeze Frame program, and students could practice during school hours. Several faculty also did one-to-one training and practice with students in their offices at student request. Many faculty members did a short HearthMath session that any student could participate in before each test.
Results:
Although only Native American students are reported here, students from all ethnicities and races reported benefits. Following implementation of HeartMath in 2003, the average attrition rate for Native American nursing students between 2003 and 2008 was 37%. During this time, requirements for admission and graduation became more stringent and required increased testing. By 2006, the overall attrition rate for the school was 3% or less. The students reported increased confidence in their test-taking abilities and fewer physical health issues with regular practice of the HeartMath process. Based on test results for all students, it was determined that practicing HeartMath increased test scores by an average of 17 points, thus highly motivating students to practice.
Conclusion:
Native American nursing students using the HeartMath stress-reducing processes demonstrated improved test-taking and perceived physical health and higher graduation rates than those who did not use HeartMath. Use of HeartMath while in school decreased the overall attrition rate by approximately 40% for Native American students over the reported timeframe.
doi:10.7453/gahmj.2014.BPA17
PMCID: PMC3923294
Nursing educatioin; biofeedback; stress reduction; HeartMath
16.  Examination performance of graduate entry medical students compared with mainstream students 
Summary
Objectives
To assess whether medical students on graduate entry/fast- track programmes perform as well as students on standard courses.
Design
Retrospective cohort study.
Setting
University of Birmingham Medical School.
Participants
Medical students on graduate entry/fast-track course and standard (5-year) course (‘mainstream’).
Main outcome measures
Examination marks from all assessments taken simultaneously by graduate entry course (GEC) and mainstream course students once the cohorts have combined: i.e. for the final three years of the programme. Honours awards for 2007 and 2008 graduates.
Results
In total 19,263 examination results were analysed from 1547 students. Of these 161 were GEC students and 1386 were mainstream medical students. On average mainstream students, male students, overseas students and students of South Asian ethnicity obtained lower examination marks than graduate entry students, female students, home or EU students and students of non-South Asian ethnicity, respectively. Graduate entry students were significantly more likely to achieve honours degrees than mainstream students.
Conclusion
On average the academic performance of Graduate Entry medical students at the University of Birmingham is better than mainstream medical students.
doi:10.1258/jrsm.2009.090121
PMCID: PMC2755335  PMID: 19797600
17.  Reduced withdrawal and failure rates of accelerated nursing students enrolled in pharmacology is associated with a supportive intervention 
BMC Medical Education  2016;16:40.
Background
To reduce nursing shortages, accelerated nursing programs are available for domestic and international students. However, the withdrawal and failure rates from these programs may be different than for the traditional programs. The main aim of our study was to improve the retention and experience of accelerated nursing students.
Methods
The academic background, age, withdrawal and failure rates of the accelerated and traditional students were determined. Data from 2009 and 2010 were collected prior to intervention. In an attempt to reduce the withdrawal of accelerated students, we set up an intervention, which was available to all students. The assessment of the intervention was a pre-post-test design with non-equivalent groups (the traditional and the accelerated students). The elements of the intervention were a) a formative website activity of some basic concepts in anatomy, physiology and pharmacology, b) a workshop addressing study skills and online resources, and c) resource lectures in anatomy/physiology and microbiology. The formative website and workshop was evaluated using questionnaires.
Results
The accelerated nursing students were five years older than the traditional students (p < 0.0001). The withdrawal rates from a pharmacology course are higher for accelerated nursing students, than for traditional students who have undertaken first year courses in anatomy and physiology (p = 0.04 in 2010). The withdrawing students were predominantly the domestic students with non-university qualifications or equivalent experience. The failure rates were also higher for this group, compared to the traditional students (p = 0.05 in 2009 and 0.03 in 2010). In contrast, the withdrawal rates for the international and domestic graduate accelerated students were very low. After the intervention, the withdrawal and failure rates in pharmacology for domestic accelerated students with non-university qualifications were not significantly different than those of traditional students.
Conclusions
The accelerated international and domestic graduate nursing students have low withdrawal rates and high success rates in a pharmacology course. However, domestic students with non-university qualifications have higher withdrawal and failure rates than other nursing students and may be underprepared for university study in pharmacology in nursing programs. The introduction of an intervention was associated with reduced withdrawal and failure rates for these students in the pharmacology course.
doi:10.1186/s12909-016-0570-z
PMCID: PMC4736620  PMID: 26830810
Accelerated nursing students; Domestic graduate; Domestic students with non-university qualifications; International students; Retention; Pharmacology; Withdrawal
18.  The UK clinical aptitude test and clinical course performance at Nottingham: a prospective cohort study 
BMC Medical Education  2013;13:32.
Background
The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) was introduced in 2006 as an additional tool for the selection of medical students. It tests mental ability in four distinct domains (Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Abstract Reasoning, and Decision Analysis), and the results are available to students and admission panels in advance of the selection process. Our first study showed little evidence of any predictive validity for performance in the first two years of the Nottingham undergraduate course.
The study objective was to determine whether the UKCAT scores had any predictive value for the later parts of the course, largely delivered via clinical placements.
Methods
Students entering the course in 2007 and who had taken the UKCAT were asked for permission to use their anonymised data in research. The UKCAT scores were incorporated into a database with routine pre-admission socio-demographics and subsequent course performance data. Correlation analysis was followed by hierarchical multivariate linear regression.
Results
The original study group comprised 204/254 (80%) of the full entry cohort. With attrition over the five years of the course this fell to 185 (73%) by Year 5. The Verbal Reasoning score and the UKCAT Total score both demonstrated some univariate correlations with clinical knowledge marks, and slightly less with clinical skills. No parts of the UKCAT proved to be an independent predictor of clinical course marks, whereas prior attainment was a highly significant predictor (p <0.001).
Conclusions
This study of one cohort of Nottingham medical students showed that UKCAT scores at admission did not independently predict subsequent performance on the course. Whilst the test adds another dimension to the selection process, its fairness and validity in selecting promising students remains unproven, and requires wider investigation and debate by other schools.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-13-32
PMCID: PMC3621812  PMID: 23442227
19.  Medical students who decompress during the M-1 year outperform those who fail and repeat it: A study of M-1 students at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign 1988–2000 
Background
All medical schools must counsel poor-performing students, address their problems and assist them in developing into competent physicians. The objective of this study was to determine whether students with academic deficiencies in their M-1 year graduate more often, spend less time to complete the curriculum, and need fewer attempts at passing USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 by entering the Decompressed Program prior to failure of the M-1 year than those students who fail the M-1 year and then repeat it.
Method
The authors reviewed the performance of M-1 students in the Decompressed Program and compared their outcomes to M-1 students who failed and fully repeated the M-1 year. To compare the groups upon admission, t-Tests comparing the Cognitive Index of students and MCAT scores from both groups were performed. Performance of the two groups after matriculation was also analyzed.
Results
Decompressed students were 2.1 times more likely to graduate. Decompressed students were 2.5 times more likely to pass USMLE Step 1 on the first attempt than the repeat students. In addition, 46% of those in the decompressed group completed the program in five years compared to 18% of the repeat group.
Conclusion
Medical students who decompress their M-1 year prior to M-1 year failure outperform those who fail their first year and then repeat it. These findings indicate the need for careful monitoring of M-1 student performance and early intervention and counseling of struggling students.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-5-18
PMCID: PMC1166556  PMID: 15943876
20.  Retention and Attrition Among African Americans in the STAR*D Study: What Causes Research Volunteers to Stay or Stray? 
Depression and anxiety  2013;30(11):10.1002/da.22134.
Background
High attrition rates among African-Americans (AA) volunteers are a persistent problem that makes clinical trials less representative and complicates estimation of treatment outcomes. Many studies contrast AA with other ethnic/racial groups, but few compare the AA volunteers who remain in treatment with those who leave. Here, in addition to comparing patterns of attrition between African Americans and whites, we identify predictors of overall and early attrition among African Americans.
Method
Sample comprised non-Hispanic African-American (n=673) and white (n=2,549) participants in the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study. Chi-square tests were used to examine racial group differences in reasons for exit. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine predictors of overall attrition, early attrition (by Level 2) and top reasons cited for attrition among African Americans.
Results
For both African-American and white dropouts, non-compliance reasons for attrition were most commonly cited during the earlier phases of the study while reasons related to efficacy and medication side effects were cited later in the study. Satisfaction with treatment strongly predicted overall attrition among African Americans independent of socioeconomic, clinical, medical or psychosocial factors. Early attrition among African American dropouts was associated with less psychiatric comorbidity, and higher perceived physical functioning but greater severity of clinician-rated depression.
Conclusions
The decision to drop out is a dynamic process that changes over the course of a clinical trial. Strategies aimed at retaining African Americans in such trials should emphasize engagement with treatment and patient satisfaction immediately following enrollment and after treatment initiation.
doi:10.1002/da.22134
PMCID: PMC3818393  PMID: 23723044
Research Volunteers; Ethnic Groups; Blacks; Depression; Disparities; Treatment
21.  Academic Performance of Students with the Highest and Mediocre School-leaving Grades: Does the Aptitude Test for Medical Studies (TMS) Balance Their Prognoses? 
Background: Admission to undergraduate medical training in Germany occurs by central and local pathways. Central admission includes two distinct groups: Students with top school-leaving grades (best-SLG group) and students with inferior school-leaving grades who are admitted with a delay of up to seven years (delayed admission group). Students with academic difficulties and early dropouts are present in both groups. Local admission at our university involves the German Test for Medical Studies (TMS) and allows the admission by merit of students with a wide range of school-leaving grades.
Aims: To examine the justification of a TMS-based strategy to reduce the admission of potentially weak best school-leavers and enhance the admission of potentially able candidates with mediocre school-leaving grades.
Method: The prognostic contribution of the school-leaving (SL) GPA and the TMS to academic performance and to continuity in the pre-clinical part of the undergraduate medical program was examined in two study groups: best school leavers (SL grade 1.0, SL-GPA 823-900 points) and mediocre school leavers (SL grades 2.0-2.3, SL-GPA 689-660 points). The outcomes in both groups were compared in relation to their TMS results. The prospective study included four consecutive cohorts.
Results: In each study group the TMS predicted the academic performance (β=0.442-0.446) and the continuity of studies (OR=0.890-0.853) better than the SL-GPA (β=0.238-0.047; OR=1.009-0.998). Attrition was most strongly associated with failing to take the TMS (OR=0.230-0.380). Mediocre school leavers with TMS scores ≥125 performed as well as the best school leavers. Mediocre school leavers with TMS scores between 110-124 performed on average less well but within the required standards. Best school leavers with mediocre TMS scores and 30% of the best school leavers who hadn't taken the TMS performed less well than most mediocre school leavers with high TMS scores.
Discussion: The TMS appears to differentiate between potentially successful and less successful students in both GPA categories. Mediocre school leavers (SLG 2.0-2.3) with exceptionally high TMS results reach better pre-clinical examination results than best school leavers (SLG 1.0) with mediocre TMS results. Thus, the present data justify the use of the TMS to facilitate the participation of mediocre school leavers in the competition for admission slots.
doi:10.3205/zma001006
PMCID: PMC4766935  PMID: 26958655
student admission; undergraduate medical training; aptitude; test for medical studies; TMS; school-leaving GPA
22.  The Edinburgh intercalated honours BSc in pathology: evaluation of selection methods, undergraduate performance, and postgraduate career. 
In a study of 60 students who entered the intercalated honours BSc course in pathology at the University of Edinburgh over 10 years the conventional criteria of academic excellence and motivation were shown to be appropriate for the selection of honours students. When compared with classmates who did not take the intercalated year but who had shown similar high academic ability in the preclinical course the students who had taken the honours BSc did better in the remainder of the undergraduate curriculum. Of 42 honours students, 18 (43%) entered academic careers, particularly in pathology and medicine, but there was no observed tendency for students without honours BSc to do so. Although it is impossible to establish a causal relation between taking the honours course and subsequent academic distinction, the results suggest that the intercalated honours BSc in pathology serves a useful function in introducing able students into academic careers. The findings justify the financial support made available to such students during their intercalated year by the Medical Research Council and the Scottish Education Department.
PMCID: PMC1340712  PMID: 3087558
23.  Implementing the 2009 Institute of Medicine recommendations on resident physician work hours, supervision, and safety 
Long working hours and sleep deprivation have been a facet of physician training in the US since the advent of the modern residency system. However, the scientific evidence linking fatigue with deficits in human performance, accidents and errors in industries from aeronautics to medicine, nuclear power, and transportation has mounted over the last 40 years. This evidence has also spawned regulations to help ensure public safety across safety-sensitive industries, with the notable exception of medicine.
In late 2007, at the behest of the US Congress, the Institute of Medicine embarked on a year-long examination of the scientific evidence linking resident physician sleep deprivation with clinical performance deficits and medical errors. The Institute of Medicine’s report, entitled “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety”, published in January 2009, recommended new limits on resident physician work hours and workload, increased supervision, a heightened focus on resident physician safety, training in structured handovers and quality improvement, more rigorous external oversight of work hours and other aspects of residency training, and the identification of expanded funding sources necessary to implement the recommended reforms successfully and protect the public and resident physicians themselves from preventable harm.
Given that resident physicians comprise almost a quarter of all physicians who work in hospitals, and that taxpayers, through Medicare and Medicaid, fund graduate medical education, the public has a deep investment in physician training. Patients expect to receive safe, high-quality care in the nation’s teaching hospitals. Because it is their safety that is at issue, their voices should be central in policy decisions affecting patient safety. It is likewise important to integrate the perspectives of resident physicians, policy makers, and other constituencies in designing new policies. However, since its release, discussion of the Institute of Medicine report has been largely confined to the medical education community, led by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).
To begin gathering these perspectives and developing a plan to implement safer work hours for resident physicians, a conference entitled “Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety: What will it take to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations?” was held at Harvard Medical School on June 17–18, 2010. This White Paper is a product of a diverse group of 26 representative stakeholders bringing relevant new information and innovative practices to bear on a critical patient safety problem. Given that our conference included experts from across disciplines with diverse perspectives and interests, not every recommendation was endorsed by each invited conference participant. However, every recommendation made here was endorsed by the majority of the group, and many were endorsed unanimously. Conference members participated in the process, reviewed the final product, and provided input before publication. Participants provided their individual perspectives, which do not necessarily represent the formal views of any organization.
In September 2010 the ACGME issued new rules to go into effect on July 1, 2011. Unfortunately, they stop considerably short of the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations and those endorsed by this conference. In particular, the ACGME only applied the limitation of 16 hours to first-year resident physicans. Thus, it is clear that policymakers, hospital administrators, and residency program directors who wish to implement safer health care systems must go far beyond what the ACGME will require. We hope this White Paper will serve as a guide and provide encouragement for that effort.
Resident physician workload and supervision
By the end of training, a resident physician should be able to practice independently. Yet much of resident physicians’ time is dominated by tasks with little educational value. The caseload can be so great that inadequate reflective time is left for learning based on clinical experiences. In addition, supervision is often vaguely defined and discontinuous. Medical malpractice data indicate that resident physicians are frequently named in lawsuits, most often for lack of supervision. The recommendations are: The ACGME should adjust resident physicians workload requirements to optimize educational value. Resident physicians as well as faculty should be involved in work redesign that eliminates nonessential and noneducational activity from resident physician dutiesMechanisms should be developed for identifying in real time when a resident physician’s workload is excessive, and processes developed to activate additional providersTeamwork should be actively encouraged in delivery of patient care. Historically, much of medical training has focused on individual knowledge, skills, and responsibility. As health care delivery has become more complex, it will be essential to train resident and attending physicians in effective teamwork that emphasizes collective responsibility for patient care and recognizes the signs, both individual and systemic, of a schedule and working conditions that are too demanding to be safeHospitals should embrace the opportunities that resident physician training redesign offers. Hospitals should recognize and act on the potential benefits of work redesign, eg, increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality of care, and resident physician and attending job satisfactionAttending physicians should supervise all hospital admissions. Resident physicians should directly discuss all admissions with attending physicians. Attending physicians should be both cognizant of and have input into the care patients are to receive upon admission to the hospitalInhouse supervision should be required for all critical care services, including emergency rooms, intensive care units, and trauma services. Resident physicians should not be left unsupervised to care for critically ill patients. In settings in which the acuity is high, physicians who have completed residency should provide direct supervision for resident physicians. Supervising physicians should always be physically in the hospital for supervision of resident physicians who care for critically ill patientsThe ACGME should explicitly define “good” supervision by specialty and by year of training. Explicit requirements for intensity and level of training for supervision of specific clinical scenarios should be providedCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should use graduate medical education funding to provide incentives to programs with proven, effective levels of supervision. Although this action would require federal legislation, reimbursement rules would help to ensure that hospitals pay attention to the importance of good supervision and require it from their training programs
Resident physician work hours
Although the IOM “Sleep, supervision and safety” report provides a comprehensive review and discussion of all aspects of graduate medical education training, the report’s focal point is its recommendations regarding the hours that resident physicians are currently required to work. A considerable body of scientific evidence, much of it cited by the Institute of Medicine report, describes deteriorating performance in fatigued humans, as well as specific studies on resident physician fatigue and preventable medical errors.
The question before this conference was what work redesign and cultural changes are needed to reform work hours as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s evidence-based report? Extensive scientific data demonstrate that shifts exceeding 12–16 hours without sleep are unsafe. Several principles should be followed in efforts to reduce consecutive hours below this level and achieve safer work schedules. The recommendations are: Limit resident physician work hours to 12–16 hour maximum shiftsA minimum of 10 hours off duty should be scheduled between shiftsResident physician input into work redesign should be actively solicitedSchedules should be designed that adhere to principles of sleep and circadian science; this includes careful consideration of the effects of multiple consecutive night shifts, and provision of adequate time off after night work, as specified in the IOM reportResident physicians should not be scheduled up to the maximum permissible limits; emergencies frequently occur that require resident physicians to stay longer than their scheduled shifts, and this should be anticipated in scheduling resident physicians’ work shiftsHospitals should anticipate the need for iterative improvement as new schedules are initiated; be prepared to learn from the initial phase-in, and change the plan as neededAs resident physician work hours are redesigned, attending physicians should also be considered; a potential consequence of resident physician work hour reduction and increased supervisory requirements may be an increase in work for attending physicians; this should be carefully monitored, and adjustments to attending physician work schedules made as needed to prevent unsafe work hours or working conditions for this group“Home call” should be brought under the overall limits of working hours; work load and hours should be monitored in each residency program to ensure that resident physicians and fellows on home call are getting sufficient sleepMedicare funding for graduate medical education in each hospital should be linked with adherence to the Institute of Medicine limits on resident physician work hours
Moonlighting by resident physicians
The Institute of Medicine report recommended including external as well as internal moonlighting in working hour limits. The recommendation is: All moonlighting work hours should be included in the ACGME working hour limits and actively monitored. Hospitals should formalize a moonlighting policy and establish systems for actively monitoring resident physician moonlighting
Safety of resident physicians
The “Sleep, supervision and safety” report also addresses fatigue-related harm done to resident physicians themselves. The report focuses on two main sources of physical injury to resident physicians impaired by fatigue, ie, needle-stick exposure to blood-borne pathogens and motor vehicle crashes. Providing safe transportation home for resident physicians is a logistical and financial challenge for hospitals. Educating physicians at all levels on the dangers of fatigue is clearly required to change driving behavior so that safe hospital-funded transport home is used effectively. Fatigue-related injury prevention (including not driving while drowsy) should be taught in medical school and during residency, and reinforced with attending physicians; hospitals and residency programs must be informed that resident physicians’ ability to judge their own level of impairment is impaired when they are sleep deprived; hence, leaving decisions about the capacity to drive to impaired resident physicians is not recommendedHospitals should provide transportation to all resident physicians who report feeling too tired to drive safely; in addition, although consecutive work should not exceed 16 hours, hospitals should provide transportation for all resident physicians who, because of unforeseen reasons or emergencies, work for longer than consecutive 24 hours; transportation under these circumstances should be automatically provided to house staff, and should not rely on self-identification or request
Training in effective handovers and quality improvement
Handover practice for resident physicians, attendings, and other health care providers has long been identified as a weak link in patient safety throughout health care settings. Policies to improve handovers of care must be tailored to fit the appropriate clinical scenario, recognizing that information overload can also be a problem. At the heart of improving handovers is the organizational effort to improve quality, an effort in which resident physicians have typically been insufficiently engaged. The recommendations are: Hospitals should train attending and resident physicians in effective handovers of careHospitals should create uniform processes for handovers that are tailored to meet each clinical setting; all handovers should be done verbally and face-to-face, but should also utilize written toolsWhen possible, hospitals should integrate hand-over tools into their electronic medical records (EMR) systems; these systems should be standardized to the extent possible across residency programs in a hospital, but may be tailored to the needs of specific programs and services; federal government should help subsidize adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals to improve signoutWhen feasible, handovers should be a team effort including nurses, patients, and familiesHospitals should include residents in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts; the ACGME should specify in their core competency requirements that resident physicians work on quality improvement projects; likewise, the Joint Commission should require that resident physicians be included in quality improvement and patient safety programs at teaching hospitals; hospital administrators and residency program directors should create opportunities for resident physicians to become involved in ongoing quality improvement projects and root cause analysis teams; feedback on successful quality improvement interventions should be shared with resident physicians and broadly disseminatedQuality improvement/patient safety concepts should be integral to the medical school curriculum; medical school deans should elevate the topics of patient safety, quality improvement, and teamwork; these concepts should be integrated throughout the medical school curriculum and reinforced throughout residency; mastery of these concepts by medical students should be tested on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) stepsFederal government should support involvement of resident physicians in quality improvement efforts; initiatives to improve quality by including resident physicians in quality improvement projects should be financially supported by the Department of Health and Human Services
Monitoring and oversight of the ACGME
While the ACGME is a key stakeholder in residency training, external voices are essential to ensure that public interests are heard in the development and monitoring of standards. Consequently, the Institute of Medicine report recommended external oversight and monitoring through the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The recommendations are: Make comprehensive fatigue management a Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal; fatigue is a safety concern not only for resident physicians, but also for nurses, attending physicians, and other health care workers; the Joint Commission should seek to ensure that all health care workers, not just resident physicians, are working as safely as possibleFederal government, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, should encourage development of comprehensive fatigue management programs which all health systems would eventually be required to implementMake ACGME compliance with working hours a “ condition of participation” for reimbursement of direct and indirect graduate medical education costs; financial incentives will greatly increase the adoption of and compliance with ACGME standards
Future financial support for implementation
The Institute of Medicine’s report estimates that $1.7 billion (in 2008 dollars) would be needed to implement its recommendations. Twenty-five percent of that amount ($376 million) will be required just to bring hospitals into compliance with the existing 2003 ACGME rules. Downstream savings to the health care system could potentially result from safer care, but these benefits typically do not accrue to hospitals and residency programs, who have been asked historically to bear the burden of residency reform costs. The recommendations are: The Institute of Medicine should convene a panel of stakeholders, including private and public funders of health care and graduate medical education, to lay down the concrete steps necessary to identify and allocate the resources needed to implement the recommendations contained in the IOM “Resident duty hours: Enhancing sleep, supervision and safety” report. Conference participants suggested several approaches to engage public and private support for this initiativeEfforts to find additional funding to implement the Institute of Medicine recommendations should focus more broadly on patient safety and health care delivery reform; policy efforts focused narrowly upon resident physician work hours are less likely to succeed than broad patient safety initiatives that include residency redesign as a key componentHospitals should view the Institute of Medicine recommendations as an opportunity to begin resident physician work redesign projects as the core of a business model that embraces safety and ultimately saves resourcesBoth the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services should take the Institute of Medicine recommendations into consideration when promulgating rules for innovation grantsThe National Health Care Workforce Commission should consider the Institute of Medicine recommendations when analyzing the nation’s physician workforce needs
Recommendations for future research
Conference participants concurred that convening the stakeholders and agreeing on a research agenda was key. Some observed that some sectors within the medical education community have been reluctant to act on the data. Several logical funders for future research were identified. But above all agencies, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only stakeholder that funds graduate medical education upstream and will reap savings downstream if preventable medical errors are reduced as a result of reform of resident physician work hours.
doi:10.2147/NSS.S19649
PMCID: PMC3630963  PMID: 23616719
resident; hospital; working hours; safety
24.  Attrition in surgical residency programmes: Causes and effects 
Arab Journal of Urology  2013;12(1):25-29.
Objective
To determine the rate and trend of attrition from a surgical residency programme and to identify the reasons for attrition.
Methods
A questionnaire-based survey was conducted at a university hospital. Separate questionnaires were designed for residents and programme directors (PDs). The residents who left the training voluntarily from one of the five surgical residency programmes (i.e., general surgery, orthopaedics, neurosurgery, otorhinolaryngology and urology) during the academic years 2005–2011 were identified from a departmental database. The residents who did not respond after three attempts at contact, or those who refused to participate, were excluded.
Results
During the last 6 years, 106 residents were recruited; 84 (78%) were men, of whom 34.5% left the programme voluntarily. Of 22 women, half (54%) left the programme voluntarily (P = 0.07). The overall 6-year attrition rate was 39%. The reasons identified for attrition, in descending order, were personal reasons, attitude of senior residents or faculty, and change of specialty. None of the residents cited an excess workload as a reason for their leaving the programme. About 40% rejoined the same specialty after leaving, while 35% chose a different specialty (80% chose a different surgical subspecialty and 20% chose medicine). There was a significant discrepancy in the perspective of residents and PDs about the reasons for attrition.
Conclusion
Attrition among surgical residents, in particular woman residents, is high. Personal reasons and interpersonal relations were the most commonly cited reasons. Programme managers and residents have significantly different perspectives, again an indication of a communication gap.
doi:10.1016/j.aju.2013.07.002
PMCID: PMC4434499  PMID: 26019917
Residency; Urology; Attrition; Resident; Programme director
25.  Five-year survey of medical student attrition in a medical school in Nigeria: a pilot study 
Background
Student attrition represents a waste of career opportunity and, at times, results in a holistic loss of sense of self-worth for the students involved. The aim of this study was to evaluate the nature, causes, and impact of medical student attrition in Nigeria.
Method
A pilot analysis was undertaken using the records of students who failed at medical school as a result of inability to pass the second MBBS examination at Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria, between 2002 and 2007. Some of these students were interviewed using a structured questionnaire.
Results
Data analysis showed that 58 (7.8%) of the students admitted into preclinical class withdrew from their study. Thirty-six (62.1%) were males and the rest were females. Thirteen of those withdrawn were interviewed, and 53.8% of them believed they had poor academic ability, while 15.4% attributed their withdrawal to family pressure. No record of guidance or counseling session programs was noted for these students either at the point of withdrawal from the faculty and on the choice of a new career path.
Conclusion
As a result of the high attrition rate due to low academic ability, efforts should be made to check students for evidence of this at the point of admission to medicine training. Also, more accommodating teaching programs should be encouraged in faculties to accommodate students with such challenges. Good guidance and counseling programs should be encouraged to handle these inevitable cases of attrition when they occur, to avoid the demoralizing low self-esteem that plagues these individuals for the rest of their lives.
doi:10.2147/AMEP.S13395
PMCID: PMC3643137  PMID: 23745063
medical students; attrition; medical education; Nigeria

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