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1.  Association of Medical Students' Reports of Interactions with the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Industries and Medical School Policies and Characteristics: A Cross-Sectional Study 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(10):e1001743.
Aaron Kesselheim and colleagues compared US medical students' survey responses regarding pharmaceutical company interactions with the schools' AMSA PharmFree scorecard and Institute on Medicine as a Profession's (IMAP) scores.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Professional societies use metrics to evaluate medical schools' policies regarding interactions of students and faculty with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. We compared these metrics and determined which US medical schools' industry interaction policies were associated with student behaviors.
Methods and Findings
Using survey responses from a national sample of 1,610 US medical students, we compared their reported industry interactions with their schools' American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and average Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database score. We used hierarchical logistic regression models to determine the association between policies and students' gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation. We adjusted for year in training, medical school size, and level of US National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. We used LASSO regression models to identify specific policies associated with the outcomes. We found that IMAP and AMSA scores had similar median values (1.75 [interquartile range 1.50–2.00] versus 1.77 [1.50–2.18], adjusted to compare scores on the same scale). Scores on AMSA and IMAP shared policy dimensions were not closely correlated (gift policies, r = 0.28, 95% CI 0.11–0.44; marketing representative access policies, r = 0.51, 95% CI 0.36–0.63). Students from schools with the most stringent industry interaction policies were less likely to report receiving gifts (AMSA score, odds ratio [OR]: 0.37, 95% CI 0.19–0.72; IMAP score, OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.19–1.04) and less likely to interact with marketing representatives (AMSA score, OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15–0.69; IMAP score, OR 0.37, 95% CI 0.14–0.95) than students from schools with the lowest ranked policy scores. The association became nonsignificant when fully adjusted for NIH funding level, whereas adjusting for year of education, size of school, and publicly versus privately funded school did not alter the association. Policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus were associated with students reporting having not received gifts and having not interacted with marketing representatives. Policy dimensions reflecting the regulation of industry involvement in educational activities (e.g., continuing medical education, travel compensation, and scholarships) were associated with perceived separation between faculty and industry. The study is limited by potential for recall bias and the cross-sectional nature of the survey, as school curricula and industry interaction policies may have changed since the time of the survey administration and study analysis.
Conclusions
As medical schools review policies regulating medical students' industry interactions, limitations on receipt of gifts and meals and participation of faculty in speaking bureaus should be emphasized, and policy makers should pay greater attention to less research-intensive institutions.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling prescription drugs and medical devices is big business. To promote their products, pharmaceutical and medical device companies build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, by organizing educational meetings and sponsored events, and by giving gifts. Financial relationships begin early in physicians' careers, with companies providing textbooks and other gifts to first-year medical students. In medical school settings, manufacturers may help to inform trainees and physicians about developments in health care, but they also create the potential for harm to patients and health care systems. These interactions may, for example, reduce trainees' and trained physicians' skepticism about potentially misleading promotional claims and may encourage physicians to prescribe new medications, which are often more expensive than similar unbranded (generic) drugs and more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than older drugs. To address these and other concerns about the potential career-long effects of interactions between medical trainees and industry, many teaching hospitals and medical schools have introduced policies to limit such interactions. The development of these policies has been supported by expert professional groups and medical societies, some of which have created scales to evaluate the strength of the implemented industry interaction policies.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of policies designed to limit interactions between students and industry on student behavior is unclear, and it is not known which aspects of the policies are most predictive of student behavior. This information is needed to ensure that the policies are working and to identify ways to improve them. Here, the researchers investigate which medical school characteristics and which aspects of industry interaction policies are most predictive of students' reported behaviors and beliefs by comparing information collected in a national survey of US medical students with the strength of their schools' industry interaction policies measured on two scales—the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) PharmFree Scorecard and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) Conflicts of Interest Policy Database.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers compared information about reported gift acceptance, interactions with marketing representatives, and the perceived adequacy of faculty–industry separation collected from 1,610 medical students at 121 US medical schools with AMSA and IMAP scores for the schools evaluated a year earlier. Students at schools with the highest ranked interaction policies based on the AMSA score were 63% less likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools. Students at the highest ranked schools based on the IMAP score were about half as likely to accept gifts as students at the lowest ranked schools, although this finding was not statistically significant (it could be a chance finding). Similarly, students at the highest ranked schools were 70% less likely to interact with sales representatives as students at the lowest ranked schools. These associations became statistically nonsignificant after controlling for the amount of research funding each school received from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Policies limiting gifts, meals, and being a part of speaking bureaus (where companies pay speakers to present information about the drugs for dinners and other events) were associated with students' reports of receiving no gifts and of non-interaction with sales representatives. Finally, policies regulating industry involvement in educational activities were associated with the perceived separation between faculty and industry, which was regarded as adequate by most of the students at schools with such policies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that policies designed to limit industry interactions with medical students need to address multiple aspects of these interactions to achieve changes in the behavior and attitudes of trainees, but that policies limiting gifts, meals, and speaking bureaus may be particularly important. These findings also suggest that the level of NIH funding plays an important role in students' self-reported behaviors and their perceptions of industry, possibly because institutions with greater NIH funding have the resources needed to implement effective policies. The accuracy of these findings may be limited by recall bias (students may have reported their experiences inaccurately), and by the possibility that industry interaction policies may have changed in the year that elapsed between policy grading and the student survey. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that limitations on gifts should be emphasized when academic medical centers refine their policies on interactions between medical students and industry and that particular attention should be paid to the design and implementation of policies that regulate industry interactions in institutions with lower levels of NIH funding.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743.
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice document, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Information about the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) Just Medicine campaign (formerly the PharmFree campaign) and about the AMSA Scorecard is available
Information about the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and about its Conflicts of Interest Policy Database is also available
“Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide” is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that medical schools can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion
The US Institute of Medicine's report “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice” recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The ALOSA Foundation provides evidence-based, non-industry-funded education about treating common conditions and using prescription drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001743
PMCID: PMC4196737  PMID: 25314155
2.  Medical Students' Exposure to and Attitudes about the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(5):e1001037.
A systematic review of published studies reveals that undergraduate medical students may experience substantial exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, and that this contact may be associated with positive attitudes about marketing.
Background
The relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has become a source of controversy. Physicians' attitudes towards the industry can form early in their careers, but little is known about this key stage of development.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review reported according to PRISMA guidelines to determine the frequency and nature of medical students' exposure to the drug industry, as well as students' attitudes concerning pharmaceutical policy issues. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and ERIC from the earliest available dates through May 2010, as well as bibliographies of selected studies. We sought original studies that reported quantitative or qualitative data about medical students' exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, their attitudes about marketing practices, relationships with industry, and related pharmaceutical policy issues. Studies were separated, where possible, into those that addressed preclinical versus clinical training, and were quality rated using a standard methodology. Thirty-two studies met inclusion criteria. We found that 40%–100% of medical students reported interacting with the pharmaceutical industry. A substantial proportion of students (13%–69%) were reported as believing that gifts from industry influence prescribing. Eight studies reported a correlation between frequency of contact and favorable attitudes toward industry interactions. Students were more approving of gifts to physicians or medical students than to government officials. Certain attitudes appeared to change during medical school, though a time trend was not performed; for example, clinical students (53%–71%) were more likely than preclinical students (29%–62%) to report that promotional information helps educate about new drugs.
Conclusions
Undergraduate medical education provides substantial contact with pharmaceutical marketing, and the extent of such contact is associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism about negative implications of these interactions. These results support future research into the association between exposure and attitudes, as well as any modifiable factors that contribute to attitudinal changes during medical education.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The complex relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has long been a subject of discussion among physicians and policymakers. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that physicians' interactions with pharmaceutical sales representatives may influence clinical decision making in a way that is not always in the best interests of individual patients, for example, encouraging the use of expensive treatments that have no therapeutic advantage over less costly alternatives. The pharmaceutical industry often uses physician education as a marketing tool, as in the case of Continuing Medical Education courses that are designed to drive prescribing practices.
One reason that physicians may be particularly susceptible to pharmaceutical industry marketing messages is that doctors' attitudes towards the pharmaceutical industry may form early in their careers. The socialization effect of professional schooling is strong, and plays a lasting role in shaping views and behaviors.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recently, particularly in the US, some medical schools have limited students' and faculties' contact with industry, but some have argued that these restrictions are detrimental to students' education. Given the controversy over the pharmaceutical industry's role in undergraduate medical training, consolidating current knowledge in this area may be useful for setting priorities for changes to educational practices. In this study, the researchers systematically examined studies of pharmaceutical industry interactions with medical students and whether such interactions influenced students' views on related topics.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers did a comprehensive literature search using appropriate search terms for all relevant quantitative and qualitative studies published before June 2010. Using strict inclusion criteria, the researchers then selected 48 articles (from 1,603 abstracts) for full review and identified 32 eligible for analysis—giving a total of approximately 9,850 medical students studying at 76 medical schools or hospitals.
Most students had some form of interaction with the pharmaceutical industry but contact increased in the clinical years, with up to 90% of all clinical students receiving some form of educational material. The highest level of exposure occurred in the US. In most studies, the majority of students in their clinical training years found it ethically permissible for medical students to accept gifts from drug manufacturers, while a smaller percentage of preclinical students reported such attitudes. Students justified their entitlement to gifts by citing financial hardship or by asserting that most other students accepted gifts. In addition, although most students believed that education from industry sources is biased, students variably reported that information obtained from industry sources was useful and a valuable part of their education.
Almost two-thirds of students reported that they were immune to bias induced by promotion, gifts, or interactions with sales representatives but also reported that fellow medical students or doctors are influenced by such encounters. Eight studies reported a relationship between exposure to the pharmaceutical industry and positive attitudes about industry interactions and marketing strategies (although not all included supportive statistical data). Finally, student opinions were split on whether physician–industry interactions should be regulated by medical schools or the government.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This analysis shows that students are frequently exposed to pharmaceutical marketing, even in the preclinical years, and that the extent of students' contact with industry is generally associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism towards any negative implications of interactions with industry. Therefore, strategies to educate students about interactions with the pharmaceutical industry should directly address widely held misconceptions about the effects of marketing and other biases that can emerge from industry interactions. But education alone may be insufficient. Institutional policies, such as rules regulating industry interactions, can play an important role in shaping students' attitudes, and interventions that decrease students' contact with industry and eliminate gifts may have a positive effect on building the skills that evidence-based medical practice requires. These changes can help cultivate strong professional values and instill in students a respect for scientific principles and critical evidence review that will later inform clinical decision-making and prescribing practices.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001037.
Further information about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on doctors and medical students can be found at the American Medical Students Association PharmFree campaign and PharmFree Scorecard, Medsin-UKs PharmAware campaign, the nonprofit organization Healthy Skepticism, and the Web site of No Free Lunch.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001037
PMCID: PMC3101205  PMID: 21629685
3.  The attitude of patients towards medical students in a sexual health clinic 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2005;81(5):437-439.
Objectives: To determine patient attitudes toward medical students in the sexual health clinic, and to describe factors associated with patient refusal of medical student involvement.
Method: A self administered questionnaire was given to 259 consecutive patients attending the general genitourinary medicine clinic. Participants were asked to indicate their attitude to questioning and/or examination by medical students. Information was also collected on sex, age, ethnicity, and previous visits to sexual health clinics and previous exposure to medical students. The proportion of patients reporting comfort with student involvement, and association with age, sex, country of birth, language spoken, and previous experience of student and/or genitourinary medicine clinics are reported.
Results: 82.6% of patients agreed to participate. The proportion reporting feeling comfortable with students ranged from 64% for female students questioning them with a doctor present to 35% for a male student questioning them alone. Comfort levels were associated with the sex of the student and previous exposure to medical students, but not age, country of birth, language spoken, or previous attendance at a sexual health clinic. The most common reasons for feeling uncomfortable with students were privacy concerns and poorer quality of care.
Conclusion: Many patients feel uncomfortable with medical student involvement in a sexual health clinic consultation; particularly patients with no previous contact with medical students. Privacy and standard of care were the most common concerns, which are potentially amenable to change through better explanation of the students' role in the clinic.
doi:10.1136/sti.2004.014332
PMCID: PMC1745034  PMID: 16199748
4.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
5.  Evaluation of a novel nutrition education intervention for medical students from across England 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000417.
Objectives
Problems such as hospital malnutrition (∼40% prevalence in the UK) may be managed better by improving the nutrition education of ‘tomorrow's doctors’. The Need for Nutrition Education Programme aimed to measure the effectiveness and acceptability of an educational intervention on nutrition for medical students in the clinical phase of their training.
Design
An educational needs analysis was followed by a consultative process to gain consensus on a suitable educational intervention. This was followed by two identical 2-day educational interventions with before and after analyses of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP). The 2-day training incorporated six key learning outcomes.
Setting
Two constituent colleges of Cambridge University used to deliver the above educational interventions.
Participants
An intervention group of 100 clinical medical students from 15 medical schools across England were recruited to attend one of two identical intensive weekend workshops.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The primary outcome measure consisted of change in KAP scores following intervention using a clinical nutrition questionnaire. Secondary outcome measures included change in KAP scores 3 months after the intervention as well as a student-led semiqualitative evaluation of the educational intervention.
Results
Statistically significant changes in KAP scores were seen immediately after the intervention, and this was sustained for 3 months. Mean differences and 95% CIs after intervention were Knowledge 0.86 (0.43 to 1.28); Attitude 1.68 (1.47 to 1.89); Practice 1.76 (1.11 to 2.40); KAP 4.28 (3.49 to 5.06). Ninety-seven per cent of the participants rated the overall intervention and its delivery as ‘very good to excellent’, reporting that they would recommend this educational intervention to colleagues.
Conclusion
Need for Nutrition Education Programme has highlighted the need for curricular innovation in the area of clinical health nutrition in medical schools. This project also demonstrates the effectiveness and acceptability of such a curriculum intervention for ‘tomorrow's doctors’. Doctors, dietitians and nutritionists worked well in an effective interdisciplinary partnership when teaching medical students, providing a good model for further work in a healthcare setting.
Article summary
Article focus
Hospital malnutrition has been a challenge for decades in the UK due to its cost and impact on patient care.
The focus was to examine whether a novel 2-day course could make a significant improvement in the understanding of clinical nutrition, among senior medical students.
Key messages
This study summarised the need for improved training in clinical nutrition among medical students in England, a need noted in other countries too.
Statistically significant changes in KAP scores were seen immediately after the intervention among the 98 students, and this was sustained for 3 months.
Ninety-seven per cent of the participants rated the overall intervention and its delivery as ‘very good to excellent’, reporting that they would recommend this educational intervention to colleagues.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The learning outcomes seemed appropriate and the teaching intervention appeared effective.
A multidisciplinary teaching team helped emphasise the roles of various team members, in dealing with nutrition-related problems in a healthcare setting.
Comparing change to a parallel student control group would have been preferable to monitoring within-group change.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000417
PMCID: PMC3277906  PMID: 22327628
6.  Factors considered by medical students when formulating their specialty preferences in Japan: findings from a qualitative study 
Background
Little research addresses how medical students develop their choice of specialty training in Japan. The purpose of this research was to elucidate factors considered by Japanese medical students when formulating their specialty choice.
Methods
We conducted qualitative interviews with 25 Japanese medical students regarding factors influencing specialty preference and their views on roles of primary versus specialty care. We qualitatively analyzed the data to identify factors students consider when developing specialty preferences, to understand their views about primary and subspecialty care, and to construct models depicting the pathways to specialization.
Results
Students mention factors such as illness in self or close others, respect for family member in the profession, preclinical experiences in the curriculum such as labs and dissection, and aspects of patient care such as the clinical atmosphere, charismatic role models, and doctor-patient communication as influential on their specialty preferences. Participating students could generally distinguish between subspecialty care and primary care, but not primary care and family medicine. Our analysis yields a "Two Career" model depicting how medical graduates can first train for hospital-based specialty practice, and then switch to mixed primary/specialty care outpatient practice years later without any requirement for systematic training in principles of primary care practice.
Conclusion
Preclinical and clinical experiences as well as role models are reported by Japanese students as influential factors when formulating their specialty preferences. Student understanding of family medicine as a discipline is low in Japan. Students with ultimate aspirations to practice outpatient primary care medicine do not need to commit to systematic primary care training after graduation. The Two Career model of specialization leaves the door open for medical graduates to enter primary care practice at anytime regardless of post-graduate residency training choice.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-7-31
PMCID: PMC2072940  PMID: 17848194
7.  'It gives you an understanding you can't get from any book.' The relationship between medical students' and doctors' personal illness experiences and their performance: a qualitative and quantitative study 
Background
Anecdotes abound about doctors' personal illness experiences and the effect they have on their empathy and care of patients. We formally investigated the relationship between doctors' and medical students' personal illness experiences, their examination results, preparedness for clinical practice, learning and professional attitudes and behaviour towards patients.
Methods
Newly-qualified UK doctors in 2005 (n = 2062/4784), and two cohorts of students at one London medical school (n = 640/749) participated in the quantitative arm of the study. 37 Consultants, 1 Specialist Registrar, 2 Clinical Skills Tutors and 25 newly-qualified doctors participated in the qualitative arm. Newly-qualified doctors and medical students reported their personal illness experiences in a questionnaire. Doctors' experiences were correlated with self-reported preparedness for their new clinical jobs. Students' experiences were correlated with their examination results, and self-reported anxiety and depression. Interviews with clinical teachers, newly-qualified doctors and senior doctors qualitatively investigated how personal illness experiences affect learning, professional attitudes, and behaviour.
Results
85.5% of newly-qualified doctors and 54.4% of medical students reported personal illness experiences. Newly-qualified doctors who had been ill felt less prepared for starting work (p < 0.001), but those who had only experienced illness in a relative or friend felt more prepared (p = 0.02). Clinical medical students who had been ill were more anxious (p = 0.01) and had lower examination scores (p = 0.006). Doctors felt their personal illness experiences helped them empathise and communicate with patients. Medical students with more life experience were perceived as more mature, empathetic, and better learners; but illness at medical school was recognised to impede learning.
Conclusion
The majority of the medical students and newly qualified doctors we studied reported personal illness experiences, and these experiences were associated with lower undergraduate examination results, higher anxiety, and lower preparedness. However reflection on such experiences may have improved professional attitudes such as empathy and compassion for patients. Future research is warranted in this area.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-7-50
PMCID: PMC2211477  PMID: 18053231
8.  Electronic health records in outpatient clinics: Perspectives of third year medical students 
Background
United States academic medical centers are increasingly incorporating electronic health records (EHR) into teaching settings. We report third year medical students' attitudes towards clinical learning using the electronic health record in ambulatory primary care clinics.
Methods
In academic year 2005–06, 60 third year students were invited to complete a questionnaire after finishing the required Ambulatory Medicine/Family Medicine clerkship. The authors elicited themes for the questionnaire by asking a focus group of third year students how using the EHR had impacted their learning. Five themes emerged: organization of information, access to online resources, prompts from the EHR, personal performance (charting and presenting), and communication with patients and preceptors. The authors added a sixth theme: impact on student and patient follow-up. The authors created a 21-item questionnaire, based on these themes that used a 5-point Likert scale from "Strongly Agree" to "Strongly Disagree". The authors emailed an electronic survey link to each consenting student immediately following their clerkship experience in Ambulatory Medicine/Family Medicine.
Results
33 of 53 consenting students (62%) returned completed questionnaires. Most students liked the EHR's ability to organize information, with 70% of students responding that essential information was easier to find electronically. Only 36% and 33% of students reported accessing online patient information or clinical guidelines more often when using the EHR than when using paper charts. Most students (72%) reported asking more history questions due to EHR prompts, and 39% ordered more clinical preventive services. Most students (69%) reported that the EHR improved their documentation. 39% of students responded that they received more feedback on their EHR notes compared to paper chart notes. Only 64% of students were satisfied with the doctor-patient communication with the EHR, and 48% stated they spent less time looking at the patient.
Conclusion
Third year medical students reported generally positive attitudes towards using the EHR in the ambulatory setting. They reported receiving more feedback on their electronic charts than on paper charts. However, students reported significant concerns about the potential impact of the EHR on their ability to conduct the doctor-patient encounter.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-13
PMCID: PMC2294117  PMID: 18373880
9.  Attitudes of undergraduate medical students of Addis Ababa University towards medical practice and migration, Ethiopia 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:68.
Background
The health care system of Ethiopia is facing a serious shortage of health workforce. While a number of strategies have been developed to improve the training and retention of medical doctors in the country, understanding the perceptions and attitudes of medical students towards their training, future practice and intent to migrate can contribute in addressing the problem. This study was carried out to assess the attitudes of Ethiopian medical students towards their training and future practice of medicine, and to identify factors associated with the intent to practice in rural or urban settings, or to migrate abroad.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted in June 2009 among 600 medical students (Year I to Internship program) of the Faculty of Medicine at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. A pre-tested self-administered structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Descriptive statistics were used for data summarization and presentation. Degree of association was measured by Chi Square test, with significance level set at p < 0.05. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to assess associations.
Results
Only 20% of the students felt ‘excellent’ about studying medicine; followed by ‘very good’ (19%), ‘good’ (30%), ‘fair’ (21%) and ‘bad’ (11%). About 35% of respondents responded they felt the standard of medical education was below their expectation. Only 30% of the students said they would like to initially practice medicine in rural settings in Ethiopia. However, students with rural backgrounds were more likely than those with urban backgrounds to say they intended to practice medicine in rural areas (adjusted OR = 2.50, 95% CI = 1.18-5.26). Similarly, students in clinical training program preferred to practice medicine in rural areas compared to pre-clinical students (adjusted OR = 1.83, 95% CI = 1.12-2.99). About 53% of the students (57% males vs. 46% females, p = 0.017) indicated aspiration to emigrate following graduation, particularly to the United States of America (42%) or European countries (15%). The attitude towards emigration was higher among Year IV (63%) and Internship (71%) students compared to Year I to Year III students (45-54%). Male students were more likely to say they would emigrate than females (adjusted OR = 1.57, 95% CI = 1.10-2.29). Likewise, students with clinical training were more likely to want to emigrate than pre-clinical students, although the difference was marginally significant (adjusted OR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.00-2.49).
Conclusions
The attitudes of the majority of Ethiopian medical students in the capital city towards practicing medicine in rural areas were found to be poor, and the intent to migrate after completing medical training was found to be very high among the study participants, creating a huge potential for brain drain. This necessitates the importance of improving the quality of education and career choice satisfaction, creating conducive training and working conditions including retention efforts for medical graduates to serve their nation. It follows that recruiting altruistic and rural background students into medical schools is likely to produce graduates who are more likely to practice medicine in rural settings.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-68
PMCID: PMC3492144  PMID: 22867022
10.  Attitudes and perceptions of medical students about family medicine in Spain: protocol for a cross-sectional survey 
BMJ Open  2011;1(2):e000231.
Background
Despite the fact that family medicine (FM) has become established as a specialty in the past 25 years, this has not been reflected in the inclusion of the specialty in the majority of medical schools in Spain. Almost 40% of the students will work in primary care but, in spite of this, most universities do not have an assessed placement as such. There are only specific practice periods in health centres or some student-selected components with little weight in the overall curricula.
Objectives
To evaluate the attitudes and perceptions of medical students about FM in the health system and their perception about the need for specific training in FM at the undergraduate level. To explore change over time of these attitudes and perceptions and to examine potential predictive factors for change. Finally, we will review what teaching activity in FM is offered across the Spanish schools of medicine.
Methods
Descriptive cross-sectional survey. Each one of the different analyses will consist of two surveys: one for all the students in the first, third and fifth year of medical school in all the Spanish schools of medicine asking about their knowledge, perceptions and attitudes in relation to primary care and FM. There will be an additional survey for the coordinating faculty of the study in each university about the educational activities related to FM that are carried out in their centres. The repetition of the study every 2 years will allow for an analysis of the evolution of the cohort of students until they receive their degree and the potential predictive factors.
Discussion
This study will provide useful information for strategic planning decisions, content and educational methodology in medical schools in Spain and elsewhere. It will also help to evaluate the influence of the ongoing changes in FM, locally and at the European level, on the attitudes and perceptions of the students towards FM in Spain.
Article summary
Article focus
There is a need to explore further the reasons for which students choose a specific specialty for training and future practice. This protocol outlines the design of a cross-sectional survey to evaluate attitudes and perceptions of medical students about family medicine.
The project will assess the potential impact of medical school teaching on the final profiles of students, both in perceptions and expectations and in the choice of specialty.
Key messages
This is a protocol of a multicentre survey that will take place in Spanish medical schools. The study includes a survey for students and one for the coordinators of family medicine in each centre.
The repetition of the student survey every 2 years will allow for an analysis of the evolution of student cohorts until the end of their studies.
The results of this study will provide valuable information for curriculum development related to family medicine in the different schools of medicine and will help to prioritise those activities that are likely to be most effective for promoting this specialty.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The research team for this study includes coordinating faculty from 22 of the 27 universities throughout Spain. The study will be repeated every 2 years and will explore change over time of the issues addressed.
The principal limitations of this study are related to its design, of observational nature. The results observed will serve as hypotheses generating and cannot be regarded as definitive. Finally, the fact that the survey will be anonymous will impede the evaluation, at an individual level, of change over time.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000231
PMCID: PMC3278481  PMID: 22189348
11.  Patient perceptions of innovative longitudinal integrated clerkships based in regional, rural and remote primary care: a qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:72.
Background
Medical students at the University of Wollongong experience continuity of patient care and clinical supervision during an innovative year-long integrated (community and hospital) clinical clerkship. In this model of clinical education, students are based in a general practice ‘teaching microsystem’ and participate in patient care as part of this community of practice (CoP). This study evaluates patients’ perceptions of the clerkship initiative, and their perspectives on this approach to training ‘much-needed’ doctors in their community.
Methods
Semi-structured, face-to-face, interviews with patients provided data on the clerkship model in three contexts: regional, rural and remote health care settings in Australia. Two researchers independently thematically analysed transcribed data and organised emergent categories into themes.
Results
The twelve categories that emerged from the analysis of transcribed data were clustered into four themes: learning as doing; learning as shared experience; learning as belonging to a community; and learning as ‘becoming’. Patients viewed the clerkship learning environment as patient- and student-centred, emphasising that the patient-student-doctor relationship triad was important in facilitating active participation by patients as well as students. Patients believed that students became central, rather than peripheral, members of the CoP during an extended placement, value-adding and improving access to patient care.
Conclusions
Regional, rural and remote patients valued the long-term engagement of senior medical students in their health care team(s). A supportive CoP such as the general practice ‘teaching microsystem’ allowed student and patient to experience increasing participation and identity transformation over time. The extended student-patient-doctor relationship was seen as influential in this progression. Patients revealed unique insights into the longitudinal clerkship model, and believed they have an important contribution to make to medical education and new strategies addressing mal-distribution in the medical workforce.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-13-72
PMCID: PMC3503733  PMID: 22839433
Rural medical education; Longitudinal integrated clerkships; Patient-centredness; Patients as stakeholders
12.  Medical students' and facilitators' experiences of an Early Professional Contact course: Active and motivated students, strained facilitators 
Background
Today, medical students are introduced to patient contact, communication skills, and clinical examination in the preclinical years of the curriculum with the purpose of gaining clinical experience. These courses are often evaluated from the student perspective. Reports with an additional emphasis on the facilitator perspective are scarce. According to constructive alignment, an influential concept from research in higher education, the learning climate between students and teachers is also of great importance. In this paper, we approach the learning climate by studying both students' and facilitators' course experiences.
In 2001, a new "Early Professional Contact" longitudinal strand through term 1–4, was introduced at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. General practitioners and hospital specialists were facilitators.
The aim of this study was to assess and analyse students' and clinical facilitators' experiences of the Early Professional Contact course and to illuminate facilitators' working conditions.
Methods
Inspired by a Swedish adaptation of the Course Experience Questionnaire, an Early Professional Contact Questionnaire was constructed. In 2003, on the completion of the first longitudinal strand, a student and facilitator version was distributed to 86 students and 21 facilitators. In the analysis, both Chi-square and the Mann-Whitney tests were used.
Results
Sixty students (70%) and 15 facilitators (71%) completed the questionnaire. Both students and facilitators were satisfied with the course. Students reported gaining iiration for their future work as doctors along with increased confidence in meeting patients. They also reported increased motivation for biomedical studies. Differences in attitudes between facilitators and students were found. Facilitators experienced a greater workload, less reasonable demands and less support, than students.
Conclusion
In this project, a new Early Professional Contact course was analysed from both student and facilitator perspectives. The students experienced the course as providing them with a valuable introduction to the physician's professional role in clinical practice. In contrast, course facilitators often experienced a heavy workload and lack of support, despite thorough preparatory education. A possible conflict between the clinical facilitator's task as educator and member of the workplace is suggested. More research is needed on how doctors combine their professional tasks with work as facilitators.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-56
PMCID: PMC2614986  PMID: 19055727
13.  Attitudes of medical students to medical leadership and management: a systematic review to inform curriculum development 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:93.
Background
There is a growing acknowledgement that doctors need to develop leadership and management competences to become more actively involved in the planning, delivery and transformation of patient services. We undertook a systematic review of what is known concerning the knowledge, skills and attitudes of medical students regarding leadership and management. Here we report the results pertaining to the attitudes of students to provide evidence to inform curriculum development in this developing field of medical education.
Methods
We searched major electronic databases and citation indexes within the disciplines of medicine, education, social science and management. We undertook hand searching of major journals, and reference and citation tracking. We accessed websites of UK medical institutions and contacted individuals working within the field.
Results
26 studies were included. Most were conducted in the USA, using mainly quantitative methods. We used inductive analysis of the topics addressed by each study to identity five main content areas: Quality Improvement; Managed Care, Use of Resources and Costs; General Leadership and Management; Role of the Doctor, and Patient Safety. Students have positive attitudes to clinical practice guidelines, quality improvement techniques and multidisciplinary teamwork, but mixed attitudes to managed care, cost containment and medical error. Education interventions had variable effects on students' attitudes. Medical students perceive a need for leadership and management education but identified lack of curriculum time and disinterest in some activities as potential barriers to implementation.
Conclusions
The findings from our review may reflect the relatively little emphasis given to leadership and management in medical curricula. However, students recognise a need to develop leadership and management competences. Although further work needs to be undertaken, using rigorous methods, to identify the most effective and cost-effective curriculum innovations, this review offers the only currently available summary of work examining the attitudes of students to this important area of development for future doctors.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-93
PMCID: PMC3247079  PMID: 22082174
14.  Rates of Latent Tuberculosis in Health Care Staff in Russia 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(2):e55.
Background
Russia is one of 22 high burden tuberculosis (TB) countries. Identifying individuals, particularly health care workers (HCWs) with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI), and determining the rate of infection, can assist TB control through chemoprophylaxis and improving institutional cross-infection strategies. The objective of the study was to estimate the prevalence and determine the relative risks and risk factors for infection, within a vertically organised TB service in a country with universal bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cross-sectional study to assess the prevalence of and risk factors for LTBI among unexposed students, minimally exposed medical students, primary care health providers, and TB hospital health providers in Samara, Russian Federation. We used a novel in vitro assay (for gamma-interferon [IFN-γ]) release to establish LTBI and a questionnaire to address risk factors. LTBI was seen in 40.8% (107/262) of staff and was significantly higher in doctors and nurses (39.1% [90/230]) than in students (8.7% [32/368]) (relative risk [RR] 4.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.1–6.5) and in TB service versus primary health doctors and nurses: respectively 46.9% (45/96) versus 29.3% (34/116) (RR 1.6; 95% CI 1.1–2.3). There was a gradient of LTBI, proportional to exposure, in medical students, primary health care providers, and TB doctors: respectively, 10.1% (24/238), 25.5% (14/55), and 55% (22/40). LTBI was also high in TB laboratory workers: 11/18 (61.1%).
Conclusions
IFN-γ assays have a useful role in screening HCWs with a high risk of LTBI and who are BCG vaccinated. TB HCWs were at significantly higher risk of having LTBI. Larger cohort studies are needed to evaluate the individual risks of active TB development in positive individuals and the effectiveness of preventive therapy based on IFN-γ test results.
Gamma-interferon assays were used in a cross-sectional study of Russian health care workers and found high rates of latent tuberculosis infection.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a very common and life-threatening infection caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is carried by about a third of the world's population. Many people who are infected do not develop the symptoms of disease; this is called “latent infection.” However, it is important to detect latent infection among people in high-risk communities, in order to prevent infected people from developing active disease, and therefore also reduce the spread of TB within the community. 22 countries account for 80% of the world's active TB, and Russia is one of these. Health care workers are particularly at risk for developing active TB disease in Russia, but the extent of latent infection is not known. In order to design appropriate measures for controlling TB in Russia, it is important to know how common latent infection is among health care workers, as well as other members of the community.
Why Was This Study Done?
The researchers here had been studying the spread of tuberculosis in Samara City in southeastern Russia, where the rate of TB disease among health care workers was very high; in 2004 the number of TB cases among health care workers on TB wards was over ten times that in the general population. There was also no information available on the rates of latent TB infection among health care workers in Samara City. The researchers therefore wanted to work out what proportion of health care workers in Samara City had latent TB infection, and particularly to compare groups whom they thought would be at different levels of risk (students, clinicians outside of TB wards, clinicians on TB wards, etc.). Finally, the researchers also wanted to use a new test for detecting latent TB infection. The traditional test for detecting TB infection (tuberculin skin test) is not very reliable among people who have received the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination against TB earlier in life, as is the case in Russia. In this study a new test was therefore used, based on measuring the immune response to two proteins produced by M. tuberculosis, which are not present in the BCG vaccine strain.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In this study the researchers tested health care workers from all the TB clinics in Samara City, as well as other clinical staff and students, for latent tuberculosis. In total, 630 people had blood samples taken for testing. A questionnaire was also used to collect information on possible risk factors for TB. As expected, the rate of latent TB infection was highest among clinical staff working in the TB clinics, 47% of whom were infected with M. tuberculosis. This compared to a 10% infection rate among medical students and 29% infection rate among primary care health workers. The differences in infection rate between medical students, primary care health workers, and TB clinic staff were statistically significant and reflected progressively increasing exposure to TB. Among primary care health workers, past exposure to TB was a risk factor for having latent TB infection.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study showed that there was a high rate of latent TB infection among health care workers in Samara City and that infection is increasingly likely among people with either past or present exposure to TB. The results suggest that further research should be carried out to test whether mass screening for latent infection, followed by treatment, will reduce the rate of active TB disease among health care workers and also prevent further spread of TB. There are concerns that widespread treatment of latent infection may not be completely effective due to the relatively high prevalence of drug-resistant TB strains and any new initiatives would therefore need to be carefully evaluated.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040055.
The Stop TB Partnership has been set up to eliminate TB as a public health problem; its site provides data and resources about TB in each of the 22 most-affected countries, including Russia
Tuberculosis minisite from the World Health Organization, providing data on tuberculosis worldwide, details of the Stop TB strategy, as well as fact sheets and current guidelines
The US Centers for Disease Control has a tuberculosis minisite, including a fact sheet on latent TB
Information from the US Centers for Disease Control about the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test, used to test for latent TB infection in this study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040055
PMCID: PMC1796908  PMID: 17298167
15.  Attitudes of Medical Students, Clinicians and Sports Scientists Towards Exercise Counselling 
We compared the amount of exercise undertaken by medical students, clinicians, and sport scientists with the National Australian Physical Activity (NAPA) Guidelines. A second aim was to compare attitudes to exercise counselling as preventive medicine between university- and clinic-based professionals. The research setting was a university medical school and a sports science sports medicine centre. A 20-item questionnaire was completed by 216 individuals (131 medical students, 43 clinicians and 37 sports scientists). Self-reported physical activity habits, exercise counselling practices and attitudes towards preventive medicine were assessed. The physical activity undertaken by most respondents (70%) met NAPA Guidelines. General practitioners had significantly lower compliance rates with NAPA Guidelines than other professionals. More than half of clinicians and medical students (54%) were less active now compared with levels of activity undertaken prior to graduate training. Most physicians (68%) reported they sometimes discuss physical activity with patients. In contrast, the majority of non-medically qualified respondents (60%) said they never discuss physical activity with their doctor. Most respondents (70%) had positive attitudes to exercise counselling. Sports scientists and respondents who were highly active in childhood had more positive attitudes to exercise counselling than others. Health professionals in this study were more active than the general population, however healthy exercise habits tend to deteriorate after the commencement of medical training. Despite the important role of doctors in health promotion, the degree of exercise counselling to patients is low.
Key pointsThe rate of exercise counselling by doctors to patients is lowSports physicians and scientists have substantially more positive attitudes to exercise counselling than clinicians and medical studentsMedical schools have a responsibility to promote physical activity of students and improve training in exercise counselling
PMCID: PMC3737811  PMID: 24150613
Physical activity; exercise; counselling; university; medical school; attitudes.
16.  “Concerns” about medical students’ adverse behaviour and attitude: an audit of practice at Nottingham, with mapping to GMC guidance 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14(1):196.
Background
The development and maintenance of students’ professional behaviour and attitude is of increasing importance in medical education. Unprofessional behaviour in doctors has the potential to jeopardise patient safety, compromise working relationships, and cause disruption and distress. The General Medical Council issues guidance to medical schools and students describing the standards that should be attained.
Nottingham University medical school introduced a ‘Concerns’ form in 2009, to create a standardised, transparent and defensible means of recording and handling complaints about adverse attitudes or behaviours. This paper reports an audit of the system over the first three years.
Methods
The routinely-held database was enhanced with further detail collected from relevant student records. The data were explored in terms of the types of complaint, students who were reported, the people who reported them, and the actions taken afterwards. The data were also mapped to the current GMC guidance.
Results
189 valid forms were generated, relating to 143 students. The form was used by a wide variety of people, including clinical and non-clinical teachers, administrators, Hall Wardens, and fellow students. The concerns ranged from infringements of regulations to serious fitness to practise issues. Most were dealt with by faculty or pastoral care staff but some required escalation to formal hearings. The complaints were mapped successfully to GMC documentation, with the highest proportions relating to the GMC categories ‘Good Clinical Care’ and ‘Working with Colleagues’.
Male and ethnic minority students appeared to be more likely to have a Concern raised, but this is a tentative conclusion that requires a larger sample. Undergraduate (as opposed to Graduate Entry) students may also be at greater risk.
Conclusions
A simple form, freely available, but designed to prevent frivolous or malicious use, has provided valuable data on unprofessional behaviour and the responses elicited. Some parts of the form require improvements, and these are underway to provide more efficient use, audit and review in future.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-196) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-196
PMCID: PMC4189166  PMID: 25239087
Medical students; Unprofessional behaviour; Audit; Fitness-to-practise; GMC guidance
17.  Does the inclusion of 'professional development' teaching improve medical students' communication skills? 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:41.
Background
This study investigated whether the introduction of professional development teaching in the first two years of a medical course improved students' observed communication skills with simulated patients. Students' observed communication skills were related to patient-centred attitudes, confidence in communicating with patients and performance in later clinical examinations.
Methods
Eighty-two medical students from two consecutive cohorts at a UK medical school completed two videoed consultations with a simulated patient: one at the beginning of year 1 and one at the end of year 2. Group 1 (n = 35) received a traditional pre-clinical curriculum. Group 2 (n = 47) received a curriculum that included communication skills training integrated into a 'professional development' vertical module. Videoed consultations were rated using the Evans Interview Rating Scale by communication skills tutors. A subset of 27% were double-coded. Inter-rater reliability is reported.
Results
Students who had received the professional development teaching achieved higher ratings for use of silence, not interrupting the patient, and keeping the discussion relevant compared to students receiving the traditional curriculum. Patient-centred attitudes were not related to observed communication. Students who were less nervous and felt they knew how to listen were rated as better communicators. Students receiving the traditional curriculum and who had been rated as better communicators when they entered medical school performed less well in the final year clinical examination.
Conclusions
Students receiving the professional development training showed significant improvements in certain communication skills, but students in both cohorts improved over time. The lack of a relationship between observed communication skills and patient-centred attitudes may be a reflection of students' inexperience in working with patients, resulting in 'patient-centredness' being an abstract concept. Students in the early years of their medical course may benefit from further opportunities to practise basic communication skills on a one-to-one basis with patients.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-41
PMCID: PMC3141797  PMID: 21708000
communication skills; patient-centredness; medical student; curriculum change; video observation
18.  Attitude of medical students towards general practice and general practitioners. 
BACKGROUND: The stimuli for this work came from the need to identify and understand the origin of students' attitudes towards general practice in the context of undergraduate curriculum reform and concerns about recruitment. AIM: To evaluate attitudes of medical students towards general practice as a specialty and general practitioners (GPs) as doctors and explore factors influencing students' attitudes and intended career choice. DESIGN OF STUDY: Cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Final-year students at two London medical schools. METHOD: Questionnaires were distributed to 984 students and the results analysed using SPSS analysis. RESULTS: The mean response rate was 72% (700/984). Medical students had a positive attitude towards general practice as a specialty (mean Likert score = 3.90/5, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 3.86 to 3.94) and towards GPs as doctors (mean Likert score = 3.62/5, 95% CI = 3.59 to 3.66). They rated personal experience of GPs as the most important factor influencing their attitude. Students' attitudes towards general practice and GPs were more positive (P<0.001) in the fifth year. First-year students perceived the media to have a more important role in influencing their attitude than those in the fifth year(P<0.001). General practice was the only career option to significantly increase in popularity between the first and final year(P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Medical students end their undergraduate years with a more positive attitude towards general practice than has been reported elsewhere recently. This may be partially explained by the greater contact with GPs and suggests that efforts by medical schools to ensure a more balanced, community-based curriculum promotes positive attitudes to general practice. The influence of the media on the first years of medical school requiresfurther investigation.
PMCID: PMC1314290  PMID: 12014532
19.  Impact of Extended-Duration Shifts on Medical Errors, Adverse Events, and Attentional Failures 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e487.
Background
A recent randomized controlled trial in critical-care units revealed that the elimination of extended-duration work shifts (≥24 h) reduces the rates of significant medical errors and polysomnographically recorded attentional failures. This raised the concern that the extended-duration shifts commonly worked by interns may contribute to the risk of medical errors being made, and perhaps to the risk of adverse events more generally. Our current study assessed whether extended-duration shifts worked by interns are associated with significant medical errors, adverse events, and attentional failures in a diverse population of interns across the United States.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a Web-based survey, across the United States, in which 2,737 residents in their first postgraduate year (interns) completed 17,003 monthly reports. The association between the number of extended-duration shifts worked in the month and the reporting of significant medical errors, preventable adverse events, and attentional failures was assessed using a case-crossover analysis in which each intern acted as his/her own control. Compared to months in which no extended-duration shifts were worked, during months in which between one and four extended-duration shifts and five or more extended-duration shifts were worked, the odds ratios of reporting at least one fatigue-related significant medical error were 3.5 (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.3–3.7) and 7.5 (95% CI, 7.2–7.8), respectively. The respective odds ratios for fatigue-related preventable adverse events, 8.7 (95% CI, 3.4–22) and 7.0 (95% CI, 4.3–11), were also increased. Interns working five or more extended-duration shifts per month reported more attentional failures during lectures, rounds, and clinical activities, including surgery and reported 300% more fatigue-related preventable adverse events resulting in a fatality.
Conclusions
In our survey, extended-duration work shifts were associated with an increased risk of significant medical errors, adverse events, and attentional failures in interns across the United States. These results have important public policy implications for postgraduate medical education.
During months in which medical interns worked extended shifts, the chances of their reporting at least one fatigue-related significant medical error increased more than 3-fold compared to months with no extended shifts.
Editors' Summary
Background.
In the United States, medical students who are doing their internship (first year of postgraduate clinical training) regularly work in the clinic for longer than 24 h at a time. It is already known that doctors or students who work for long shifts make more medical errors and are less able to pay attention to what they are doing. Many thousands of adverse medical events per year including, in the extreme, deaths of patients, are thought to result from medical errors, but it is not clear whether doctors or students working long shifts—as opposed to, for example, an increase in total number of hours worked—are the cause of many or any of these errors.
Why Was This Study Done?
This research group wanted to find out whether long shifts worked by interns had an effect on reported medical errors, and hence patient safety, and specifically whether any harm that happened to patients might otherwise have been preventable.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers contacted all US medical school graduates beginning their internships from one particular year-group by email, and asked each person whether they wanted to take part in a confidential survey. Individuals who agreed to participate were directed to a secure website to enter basic information about themselves and then to complete a form each month. On that form the interns gave information about their working hours, hours of sleep, and number of extended-duration shifts worked, and completed questions about medical errors in the past month. Then, for each intern in the study, researchers compared month by month the number of medical errors and the number of extended-duration shifts that had been worked. A total of 2,737 interns took part in the survey.
  Compared to months in which no extended-duration shifts were worked, in those months in which between one and four, and more than five extended-duration shifts were worked, the doctors were, respectively, three and seven times more likely to report at least one fatigue-related significant medical error. Similarly, fatigue-related adverse events increased by around seven and eight times, respectively, compared with months in which no extended-duration shifts were worked. Fatigue-related preventable adverse events associated with the death of the patient increased by ∼300% in interns working more than five extended-duration shifts per month; they were also more likely to fall asleep during lectures, rounds, and clinical activities, including surgery.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Guidelines for graduate medical education in the United States still allow up to nine marathon shifts (30 h at a stretch) per month, even though the total number of hours worked is capped. This study shows that the long shifts worked by interns are bad for patient safety, as they are more likely to cause harm that would not otherwise happen.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030487.
The US Food and Drug Administration has resources on its website about medication errors
The National Sleep Foundation aims to improve public health and safety by achieving understanding of sleep and sleep disorders
Wikipedia (an internet encyclopedia anyone can edit) has a page about residency training in the United States
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030487
PMCID: PMC1705824  PMID: 17194188
20.  Comprehensive Healthcare module: medical and pharmacy students’ shared learning experiences 
Medical Education Online  2014;19:10.3402/meo.v19.25605.
Introduction
The Comprehensive Healthcare (CHC) module was developed to introduce pre-clinical medical and pharmacy students to the concept of comprehensive healthcare. This study aims to explore their shared learning experiences within this module.
Methodology
During this module, medical and pharmacy students conducted visits to patients’ homes and to related community-based organisations in small groups. They were required to write a reflective journal on their experiences regarding working with other professions as part of their module assessment. Highly scored reflective journals written by students from the 2011/2012 academic session were selected for analysis. Their shared learning experiences were identified via thematic analysis. We also analysed students’ feedback regarding the module.
Results
Analysis of 25 selected reflective journals revealed several important themes: ‘Understanding of impact of illness and its relation to holistic care’, ‘Awareness of the role of various healthcare professions’ and ‘Generic or soft skills for inter-professional collaboration’. Although the primary objective of the module was to expose students to comprehensive healthcare, the students learnt skills required for future collaborative practice from their experiences.
Discussion
The CHC module provided early clinical exposure to community-based health issues and incorporated some elements of inter-professional education. The students learnt about the roles of other healthcare professions and acquired soft skills required for future collaborative practice during this module.
doi:10.3402/meo.v19.25605
PMCID: PMC4202196  PMID: 25327980
education; medical; undergraduate; inter-professional education; comprehensive healthcare; primary healthcare
21.  Attitudes of medical students to HIV and AIDS. 
Genitourinary Medicine  1993;69(5):377-380.
OBJECTIVE--To assess the knowledge and attitudes of medical students to HIV/AIDS and whether attitudes correlate with knowledge and clinical experience. To determine if students felt adequately prepared to deal with medical and psychological aspects of HIV/AIDS. SUBJECTS AND METHODS--The subjects consisted of 190 London and 99 Cambridge medical students at the end of their genitourinary medicine attachment, plus 230 Cambridge medical students at the end of their second pre-clinical year. Between March 1991 and February 1992 all were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire, covering factual knowledge and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS. MAIN RESULTS--Cambridge genitourinary medicine students, despite spending less time studying HIV infection than their London counterparts gave more correct answers to the factual questions, although this difference did not reach significance (52.4% vs. 47.5%, p = 0.14). One third of students believed that many health care workers were at high risk of acquiring HIV at work and one fifth thought doctors should have the right to refuse to treat people with HIV. Fourteen percent of Cambridge genitourinary medicine students indicated that most British people with HIV have only themselves to blame, by comparison with 4% of London students (p = 0.003). Thirty-nine per cent of Cambridge genitourinary medicine students expressed reluctance to care for someone with AIDS by comparison with 10% of London students (p = 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS--It is important that medical educators convey accurate information about HIV, including the actual risks posed by occupational exposure and try to ensure that medical students spend sufficient time seeing patients with HIV/AIDS during their training.
PMCID: PMC1195122  PMID: 8244357
22.  Western medical ethics taught to junior medical students can cross cultural and linguistic boundaries 
BMC Medical Ethics  2004;5:4.
Background
Little is known about teaching medical ethics across cultural and linguistic boundaries. This study examined two successive cohorts of first year medical students in a six year undergraduate MBBS program.
Methods
The objective was to investigate whether Arabic speaking students studying medicine in an Arabic country would be able to correctly identify some of the principles of Western medical ethical reasoning. This cohort study was conducted on first year students in a six-year undergraduate program studying medicine in English, their second language at a medical school in the Arabian Gulf. The ethics teaching was based on the four-principle approach (autonomy, beneficence, non-malfeasance and justice) and delivered by a non-Muslim native English speaker with no knowledge of the Arabic language. Although the course was respectful of Arabic culture and tradition, the content excluded an analysis of Islamic medical ethics and focused on Western ethical reasoning. Following two 45-minute interactive seminars, students in groups of 3 or 4 visited a primary health care centre for one morning, sitting in with an attending physician seeing his or her patients in Arabic. Each student submitted a personal report for summative assessment detailing the ethical issues they had observed.
Results
All 62 students enrolled in these courses participated. Each student acting independently was able to correctly identify a median number of 4 different medical ethical issues (range 2–9) and correctly identify and label accurately a median of 2 different medical ethical issues (range 2–7) There were no significant correlations between their English language skills or general academic ability and the number or accuracy of ethical issues identified.
Conclusions
This study has demonstrated that these students could identify medical ethical issues based on Western constructs, despite learning in English, their second language, being in the third week of their medical school experience and with minimal instruction. This result was independent of their academic and English language skills suggesting that ethical principles as espoused in the four principal approach may be common to the students' Islamic religious beliefs, allowing them to access complex medical ethical reasoning skills at an early stage in the medical curriculum.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-5-4
PMCID: PMC509252  PMID: 15283868
23.  Career choices among medical students in Bangladesh 
Introduction
Information regarding career choices of medical students is important to plan human resources for health, design need-based educational programs, and ensure equitable and quality health care services in a country.
Aim
The aim of the study is to identify career choices, nature of career, intended practice locations, and reasons for career choices of Bangladesh medical students.
Method
First-, third-, and fifth-year students of Bangladesh Medical College and Uttara Adhunik Medical College completed a self-report questionnaire on career choices, nature of career, intended practice locations, and reasons for career choices. The students were requested to choose three long-term choices from the given specialties.
Results
A total of 132 students responded (46 males and 86 females) and response rate was 75%. The popular choices (first choice) among males and females were medical specialty, surgical specialty, obstetrics and gynecology, and general practice. For first, second, and third choices altogether, male students chose surgical specialties and female students preferred medical specialties. The leading reasons for selecting a specialty were personal interest and wide job opportunity. More than 67% of respondents wanted to join private services and about 90% chose major cities as practice locations. About 43% of respondents expressed willingness to practice medicine in Bangladesh, whereas 51% of total respondents wanted to practice abroad.
Discussion
Majority of students intended to specialize in established clinical specialties and subsequently practice in major cities, and more than half wanted to immigrate to other countries. Basic medical subjects and service-oriented (lifestyle-related) and preventive/social medical specialties were found to be less attractive. If this pattern continues, Bangladesh will suffer a chronic shortage of health personnel in certain specialties and in rural areas.
Conclusions
Reorientation of health care and medical education is needed along with policy settings to attract doctors to the scarcity and high-priority disciplines so that imbalances encountered would be minimal in future.
doi:10.2147/AMEP.S13451
PMCID: PMC3661246  PMID: 23745076
career choices; medical students; Bangladesh
24.  A Model for Partnering First-Year Student Pharmacists With Community-Based Older Adults 
Objectives. To design, integrate, and assess the effectiveness of an introductory pharmacy practice experience intended to redefine first-year student pharmacists’ views on aging and medication use through their work with a healthy, community-based older-adult population.
Design. All students (N = 273) completed live skills training in an 8-hour boot camp provided during orientation week. Teams were assigned an independently living senior partner, completed 10 visits and reflections, and documented health-related information using an electronic portfolio (e-portfolio).
Assessment. As determined by pre- and post-experience survey instruments, students gained significant confidence in 7 skill areas related to communication, medication interviews, involving the partner in health care, and applying patient-care skills. Student reflections, in-class presentations, and e-portfolios documented that personal attitudes toward seniors changed over time. Senior partners enjoyed mentoring and interacting with students and many experienced health improvements as a result of the interaction.
Conclusions. The model for partnering first-year student pharmacists with community-based older adults improved students’ skills and fostered their connections to pharmacist roles and growth as person-centered providers.
doi:10.5688/ajpe76585
PMCID: PMC3386036  PMID: 22761526
geriatrics; senior partner; senior mentor; introductory pharmacy practice experience
25.  An interprofessional approach to improving paediatric medication safety 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:19.
Background
Safe drug prescribing and administration are essential elements within undergraduate healthcare curricula, but medication errors, especially in paediatric practice, continue to compromise patient safety. In this area of clinical care, collective responsibility, team working and communication between health professionals have been identified as key elements in safe clinical practice. To date, there is limited research evidence as to how best to deliver teaching and learning of these competencies to practitioners of the future.
Methods
An interprofessional workshop to facilitate learning of knowledge, core competencies, communication and team working skills in paediatric drug prescribing and administration at undergraduate level was developed and evaluated. The practical, ward-based workshop was delivered to 4th year medical and 3rd year nursing students and evaluated using a pre and post workshop questionnaire with open-ended response questions.
Results
Following the workshop, students reported an increase in their knowledge and awareness of paediatric medication safety and the causes of medication errors (p < 0.001), with the greatest increase noted among medical students. Highly significant changes in students' attitudes to shared learning were observed, indicating that safe medication practice is learnt more effectively with students from other healthcare disciplines. Qualitative data revealed that students' participation in the workshop improved communication and teamworking skills, and led to greater awareness of the role of other healthcare professionals.
Conclusion
This study has helped bridge the knowledge-skills gap, demonstrating how an interprofessional approach to drug prescribing and administration has the potential to improve quality and safety within healthcare.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-19
PMCID: PMC2834694  PMID: 20170498

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