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1.  Beyond Knowledge, Toward Linguistic Competency: An Experiential Curriculum 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2010;25(Suppl 2):155-159.
Training is essential for future health care providers to effectively communicate with limited English proficient (LEP) patients during interpreted encounters. Our aim is to describe an innovative skill-based medical school linguistic competency curriculum and its impact on knowledge and skills.
At Stanford University School of Medicine, we incorporated a linguistic competency curriculum into a 2-year Practice of Medicine preclinical doctoring course and pediatrics clerkship over three cohorts.
Program Description
First year students participated in extensive interpreter-related training including: a knowledge-based online module, interactive role-play exercises, and didactic skill-building sessions. Students in the pediatrics clerkship participated in interpreted training exercises with facilitated feedback.
Program Evaluation
Knowledge and skills were evaluated in the first and fourth years. First year students’ knowledge scores increased (pre-test = 0.62, post-test = 0.89, P < 0.001), and they demonstrated good skill attainment during an end-year performance assessment. One cohort of students participated in the entire curriculum and maintained performance into the fourth year.
Our curriculum increased knowledge and led to skill attainment, each of which showed good durability for a cohort of students evaluated 3 years later. With a growing LEP population, these skills are essential to foster in future health care providers to effectively communicate with LEP patients and reduce health disparities.
PMCID: PMC2847115  PMID: 20352511
interpreter use; evaluation of skills undergraduate medical education; cultural competency; curriculum; cultural competency/education; educational measurement/methods
2.  Teaching medical students a clinical approach to altered mental status: simulation enhances traditional curriculum 
Medical Education Online  2013;18:10.3402/meo.v18i0.19775.
Simulation-based medical education (SBME) is increasingly being utilized for teaching clinical skills in undergraduate medical education. Studies have evaluated the impact of adding SBME to third- and fourth-year curriculum; however, very little research has assessed its efficacy for teaching clinical skills in pre-clerkship coursework. To measure the impact of a simulation exercise during a pre-clinical curriculum, a simulation session was added to a pre-clerkship course at our medical school where the clinical approach to altered mental status (AMS) is traditionally taught using a lecture and an interactive case-based session in a small group format. The objective was to measure simulation's impact on students’ knowledge acquisition, comfort, and perceived competence with regards to the AMS patient.
AMS simulation exercises were added to the lecture and small group case sessions in June 2010 and 2011. Simulation sessions consisted of two clinical cases using a high-fidelity full-body simulator followed by a faculty debriefing after each case. Student participation in a simulation session was voluntary. Students who did and did not participate in a simulation session completed a post-test to assess knowledge and a survey to understand comfort and perceived competence in their approach to AMS.
A total of 154 students completed the post-test and survey and 65 (42%) attended a simulation session. Post-test scores were higher in students who attended a simulation session compared to those who did not (p<0.001). Students who participated in a simulation session were more comfortable in their overall approach to treating AMS patients (p=0.05). They were also more likely to state that they could articulate a differential diagnosis (p=0.03), know what initial diagnostic tests are needed (p=0.01), and understand what interventions are useful in the first few minutes (p=0.003). Students who participated in a simulation session were more likely to find the overall AMS curriculum useful (p<0.001).
Students who participated in a simulation exercise performed better on a knowledge-based test and reported increased comfort and perceived competence in their clinical approach to AMS. SBME shows significant promise for teaching clinical skills to medical students during pre-clinical curriculum.
PMCID: PMC3617787  PMID: 23561054
mental status change; simulation; pre-clinical medical students
3.  Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine: a student-selected component at the Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University 
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) involves approaching a clinical problem using a four-step method: (1) formulate a clear clinical question from a patient’s problem, (2) search the literature for relevant clinical articles, (3) evaluate (critically appraise) the evidence for its validity and usefulness, (4) implement useful findings into clinical practice. EBM has now been incorporated as an integral part of the medical curriculum in many faculties of medicine around the world. The Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, started its process of curriculum reform and introduction of the new curriculum 4 years ago. One of the most characteristic aspects of this curriculum is the introduction of special study modules and electives as a student-selected component in the fourth year of study; the Introduction to Evidence-Based Medicine course was included as one of these special study modules. The purpose of this article is to evaluate the EBM skills of medical students after completing the course and their perceptions of the faculty member delivering the course and organization of the course.
Materials and methods
The EBM course was held for the first time as a special study module for fourth-year medical students in the first semester of the academic year 2009–2010. Fifteen students were enrolled in this course. At the end of the course, students anonymously evaluated aspects of the course regarding their EBM skills and course organization using a five- point Likert scale in response to an online course evaluation questionnaire. In addition, students’ achievement was evaluated with regard to the skills and competencies taught in the course.
Medical students generally gave high scores to all aspects of the EBM course, including course organization, course delivery, methods of assessment, and overall. Scores were also high for students’ self-evaluation of skill level and EBM experience. The results of a faculty member’s evaluation of the students’ achievement showed an average total percentage (92.2%) for all EBM steps.
The EBM course at the Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, is useful for familiarizing medical students with the basic principles of EBM and to help them in answering routine questions of clinical interest in a systematic way. In light of the results obtained from implementing this course with a small number of students, and as a student-selected component, the author believes integrating EBM longitudinally throughout the curriculum would be beneficial for King Abdulaziz University medical students. It would provide a foundation of knowledge, offer easy access to resources, promote point-of-care and team learning, help students to develop applicable skills for lifelong learning, and help the faculty to achieve its goals of becoming more student-centered and encouraging students to employ more self-directed learning strategies.
PMCID: PMC3661260  PMID: 23745093
student-selected component; evidence-based medicine; learning; curriculum
4.  Does the inclusion of 'professional development' teaching improve medical students' communication skills? 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:41.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3141797  PMID: 21708000
communication skills; patient-centredness; medical student; curriculum change; video observation
5.  A study to investigate the effectiveness of SimMan® as an adjunct in teaching preclinical skills to medical students 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14(1):231.
Following the GMC’s report on Tomorrow’s Doctors, greater emphasis has been placed on training in clinical skills, and the integration of clinical and basic sciences within the curriculum to promote the development of effective doctors. The use of simulation in the learning environment has the potential to support the development of clinical skills in preclinical medical students whilst in a ‘safe’ environment, but currently there is little evidence on its effectiveness.
Seventy nine year one medical students were divided into two groups. A pre-test was conducted by both groups, after which one group performed chest examination on their peers whilst the other group examined the SimMan® manikin. Both groups subsequently performed a mid-test and crossed over so that the group that conducted peer examination examined the manikin and vice-versa. Finally a post-test was conducted. The students were scored for formative feedback whilst performing examinations. Students completed a feedback questionnaire at the end of the session. Data were analysed using a one-way ANOVA, independent t-test and 2- proportion Z test.
When the two groups were compared, there was no significant difference in their pre-test and post-test knowledge scores, whereas mid-test knowledge scores increased significantly (P < 0.001), with the group using SimMan® initially scoring higher. A significant increase in the test scores was seen in both groups after using SimMan® (P < 0.001). Students’ confidence increased significantly in differentiating between normal and abnormal signs (P < 0.001). Students highly valued the use of the manikin in the session with 96% of students reporting that it enhanced their learning experience.
The study demonstrated a significant improvement in the students’ knowledge after examining the manikin and students also reported an increase in their confidence. Students’ feedback was generally very positive and they perceived the incorporation of manikin-based examinations useful to prepare them for future patient contact. The use of simulation in this context supports an integrated learning approach when used as an adjunct to peer examination, and can benefit the acquisition of clinical skills in preclinical medical students.
PMCID: PMC4289028  PMID: 25410815
Clinical skills; SimMan®; Preclinical medical students
6.  Extended Evaluation of a Longitudinal Medical School Evidence-Based Medicine Curriculum 
Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is an important element of medical education. However, limited information is available on effective curricula.
To evaluate a longitudinal medical school EBM curriculum using validated instruments.
We evaluated EBM attitudes and knowledge of medical students as they progressed through an EBM curriculum. The first component of the curriculum was an EBM “short course” with didactic and small-group sessions occurring at the end of the second year. The second component integrated EBM assignments with third-year clinical rotations. The 15-point Berlin Questionnaire was administered before the course in 2006 and 2007, after the short course, and at the end of the third year. The 212-point Fresno Test was administered before the course in 2007 and 2008, after the short course, and at the end of the third year. Self-reported knowledge and attitudes were also assessed in all three classes of medical students.
EBM knowledge scores on the 15-point Berlin Questionnaire increased from baseline by 3.0 points (20.0%) at the end of the second year portion of the course (p < 001) and by 3.4 points (22.7%) at the end of the third year (p < 001). EBM knowledge scores on the 212-point Fresno Test increased from baseline by 39.7 points (18.7%) at the end of the second year portion of the course (p < 001) and by 54.6 points (25.8%) at the end of the third year (p < 001). On a 5-point scale, self-rated EBM knowledge increased from baseline by 1.0 and 1.4 points, respectively (both p < 001). EBM was felt to be of high importance for medical education and clinical practice at all time points, with increases noted after both components of the curriculum.
A longitudinal medical school EBM was associated with markedly increased EBM knowledge on two validated instruments. Both components of the curriculum were associated with gains in knowledge. The curriculum was also associated with increased perceptions of the importance of EBM for medical education and clinical practice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-011-1642-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3101983  PMID: 21286836
medical education; evidence-based medicine; medical school
7.  Medical students as EMTs: skill building, confidence and professional formation 
Medical Education Online  2014;19:10.3402/meo.v19.24829.
The first course of the medical curriculum at the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, From the Person to the Professional: Challenges, Privileges and Responsibilities, provides an innovative early clinical immersion. The course content specific to the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) curriculum was developed using the New York State Emergency Medical Technician curriculum. Students gain early legitimate clinical experience and practice clinical skills as team members in the pre-hospital environment. We hypothesized this novel curriculum would increase students’ confidence in their ability to perform patient care skills and enhance students’ comfort with team-building skills early in their training.
Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from first-year medical students (n=97) through a survey developed to assess students’ confidence in patient care and team-building skills. The survey was completed prior to medical school, during the final week of the course, and at the end of their first year. A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare self-ratings on 12 patient care and 12 team-building skills before and after the course, and a theme analysis was conducted to examine open-ended responses.
Following the course, student confidence in patient care skills showed a significant increase from baseline (p<0.05) for all identified skills. Student confidence in team-building skills showed a significant increase (p<0.05) in 4 of the 12 identified skills. By the end of the first year, 84% of the first-year students reported the EMT curriculum had ‘some impact’ to ‘great impact’ on their patient care skills, while 72% reported the EMT curriculum had ‘some impact’ to ‘great impact’ on their team-building skills.
The incorporation of EMT training early in a medical school curriculum provides students with meaningful clinical experiences that increase their self-reported level of confidence in the performance of patient care skills early in their medical education.
PMCID: PMC4108757  PMID: 25056855
undergraduate medical education; curriculum; pre-hospital care; clinical skills; team building; professional role
8.  Improving the Physical Diagnosis Skills of Third-year Medical Students 
To determine if a literature-based physical diagnosis curriculum could improve student knowledge, skill, and self-confidence in physical diagnosis.
Prospective controlled trial of an educational intervention.
Required internal medicine clerkship for third-year medical students at Brown Medical School.
Third-year medical students who completed the internal medicine clerkship during the academic year 1999–2000: 32 students at 1 clerkship site received the intervention; a total of 50 students at 3 other clerkship sites served as controls.
Physical diagnosis curriculum based on 8 articles from the Journal of the American Medical Association's Rational Clinical Examination series. Intervention students met weekly for 1 hour with a preceptor to review each article, discuss the sensitivity and specificity of the maneuvers and findings, and practice the techniques with an inpatient who agreed to be visited and examined.
Physical diagnosis knowledge for the 8 topics was evaluated using a 22-item multiple choice question quiz, skill was evaluated using trained evaluators, and self-confidence was assessed using an end-of-clerkship survey. Intervention students scored significantly higher than the control group on the knowledge quiz (mean correct score 70% vs 63%, P = .002), skills assessment (mean correct score 90% vs 54%, P < .001), and self-confidence score (mean total score 40 vs 35, P = .003), and they expressed greater satisfaction with the physical diagnosis teaching they received in the clerkship.
This physical diagnosis curriculum was successful in improving students' knowledge, skill, and self-confidence in physical diagnosis.
PMCID: PMC1494895  PMID: 12911648
physical diagnosis; medical education; clinical examination
9.  Integrated medical school ultrasound: development of an ultrasound vertical curriculum 
Physician-performed focused ultrasonography is a rapidly growing field with numerous clinical applications. Focused ultrasound is a clinically useful tool with relevant applications across most specialties. Ultrasound technology has outpaced the education, necessitating an early introduction to the technology within the medical education system. There are many challenges to integrating ultrasound into medical education including identifying appropriately trained faculty, access to adequate resources, and appropriate integration into existing medical education curricula. As focused ultrasonography increasingly penetrates academic and community practices, access to ultrasound equipment and trained faculty is improving. However, there has remained the major challenge of determining at which level is integrating ultrasound training within the medical training paradigm most appropriate.
The Ohio State University College of Medicine has developed a novel vertical curriculum for focused ultrasonography which is concordant with the 4-year medical school curriculum. Given current evidenced-based practices, a curriculum was developed which provides medical students an exposure in focused ultrasonography. The curriculum utilizes focused ultrasonography as a teaching aid for students to gain a more thorough understanding of basic and clinical science within the medical school curriculum. The objectives of the course are to develop student understanding in indications for use, acquisition of images, interpretation of an ultrasound examination, and appropriate decision-making of ultrasound findings.
Preliminary data indicate that a vertical ultrasound curriculum is a feasible and effective means of teaching focused ultrasonography. The foreseeable limitations include faculty skill level and training, initial cost of equipment, and incorporating additional information into an already saturated medical school curriculum.
Focused ultrasonography is an evolving concept in medicine. It has been shown to improve education and patient care. The indications for and implementation of focused ultrasound is rapidly expanding in all levels of medicine. The ideal method for teaching ultrasound has yet to be established. The vertical curriculum in ultrasound at The Ohio State University College of Medicine is a novel evidenced-based training regimen at the medical school level which integrates ultrasound training into medical education and serves as a model for future integrated ultrasound curricula.
PMCID: PMC3701608  PMID: 23819896
Curriculum; Focused ultrasound; Medical education; Ultrasonography; Undergraduate medical education
10.  Medical Students' Exposure to and Attitudes about the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(5):e1001037.
A systematic review of published studies reveals that undergraduate medical students may experience substantial exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, and that this contact may be associated with positive attitudes about marketing.
The relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has become a source of controversy. Physicians' attitudes towards the industry can form early in their careers, but little is known about this key stage of development.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review reported according to PRISMA guidelines to determine the frequency and nature of medical students' exposure to the drug industry, as well as students' attitudes concerning pharmaceutical policy issues. We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and ERIC from the earliest available dates through May 2010, as well as bibliographies of selected studies. We sought original studies that reported quantitative or qualitative data about medical students' exposure to pharmaceutical marketing, their attitudes about marketing practices, relationships with industry, and related pharmaceutical policy issues. Studies were separated, where possible, into those that addressed preclinical versus clinical training, and were quality rated using a standard methodology. Thirty-two studies met inclusion criteria. We found that 40%–100% of medical students reported interacting with the pharmaceutical industry. A substantial proportion of students (13%–69%) were reported as believing that gifts from industry influence prescribing. Eight studies reported a correlation between frequency of contact and favorable attitudes toward industry interactions. Students were more approving of gifts to physicians or medical students than to government officials. Certain attitudes appeared to change during medical school, though a time trend was not performed; for example, clinical students (53%–71%) were more likely than preclinical students (29%–62%) to report that promotional information helps educate about new drugs.
Undergraduate medical education provides substantial contact with pharmaceutical marketing, and the extent of such contact is associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism about negative implications of these interactions. These results support future research into the association between exposure and attitudes, as well as any modifiable factors that contribute to attitudinal changes during medical education.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
The complex relationship between health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has long been a subject of discussion among physicians and policymakers. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that physicians' interactions with pharmaceutical sales representatives may influence clinical decision making in a way that is not always in the best interests of individual patients, for example, encouraging the use of expensive treatments that have no therapeutic advantage over less costly alternatives. The pharmaceutical industry often uses physician education as a marketing tool, as in the case of Continuing Medical Education courses that are designed to drive prescribing practices.
One reason that physicians may be particularly susceptible to pharmaceutical industry marketing messages is that doctors' attitudes towards the pharmaceutical industry may form early in their careers. The socialization effect of professional schooling is strong, and plays a lasting role in shaping views and behaviors.
Why Was This Study Done?
Recently, particularly in the US, some medical schools have limited students' and faculties' contact with industry, but some have argued that these restrictions are detrimental to students' education. Given the controversy over the pharmaceutical industry's role in undergraduate medical training, consolidating current knowledge in this area may be useful for setting priorities for changes to educational practices. In this study, the researchers systematically examined studies of pharmaceutical industry interactions with medical students and whether such interactions influenced students' views on related topics.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers did a comprehensive literature search using appropriate search terms for all relevant quantitative and qualitative studies published before June 2010. Using strict inclusion criteria, the researchers then selected 48 articles (from 1,603 abstracts) for full review and identified 32 eligible for analysis—giving a total of approximately 9,850 medical students studying at 76 medical schools or hospitals.
Most students had some form of interaction with the pharmaceutical industry but contact increased in the clinical years, with up to 90% of all clinical students receiving some form of educational material. The highest level of exposure occurred in the US. In most studies, the majority of students in their clinical training years found it ethically permissible for medical students to accept gifts from drug manufacturers, while a smaller percentage of preclinical students reported such attitudes. Students justified their entitlement to gifts by citing financial hardship or by asserting that most other students accepted gifts. In addition, although most students believed that education from industry sources is biased, students variably reported that information obtained from industry sources was useful and a valuable part of their education.
Almost two-thirds of students reported that they were immune to bias induced by promotion, gifts, or interactions with sales representatives but also reported that fellow medical students or doctors are influenced by such encounters. Eight studies reported a relationship between exposure to the pharmaceutical industry and positive attitudes about industry interactions and marketing strategies (although not all included supportive statistical data). Finally, student opinions were split on whether physician–industry interactions should be regulated by medical schools or the government.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This analysis shows that students are frequently exposed to pharmaceutical marketing, even in the preclinical years, and that the extent of students' contact with industry is generally associated with positive attitudes about marketing and skepticism towards any negative implications of interactions with industry. Therefore, strategies to educate students about interactions with the pharmaceutical industry should directly address widely held misconceptions about the effects of marketing and other biases that can emerge from industry interactions. But education alone may be insufficient. Institutional policies, such as rules regulating industry interactions, can play an important role in shaping students' attitudes, and interventions that decrease students' contact with industry and eliminate gifts may have a positive effect on building the skills that evidence-based medical practice requires. These changes can help cultivate strong professional values and instill in students a respect for scientific principles and critical evidence review that will later inform clinical decision-making and prescribing practices.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Further information about the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on doctors and medical students can be found at the American Medical Students Association PharmFree campaign and PharmFree Scorecard, Medsin-UKs PharmAware campaign, the nonprofit organization Healthy Skepticism, and the Web site of No Free Lunch.
PMCID: PMC3101205  PMID: 21629685
11.  Contribution of integrated teaching in the improvement of an undergraduate ophthalmology curriculum 
Conventional medical curriculum is the rule of medical teaching in Greek Medical Schools. Medical students are often taught irrelevant details with little or no reference to their potential clinical significance. Alternatively, integrated teaching warrants that the complete teaching material is covered by each faculty member not considering areas of personal expertise. The aim of this study was to evaluate the implementation of integrated teaching in ophthalmic training.
The main outcome measures of this retrospective study were a) comments and recommendations made anonymously by the fifth-year medical students in the evaluation questionnaires filled in at the end of their training, and b) scores obtained by students in their final examination at the end of their training in the 2nd Department of Ophthalmology as part of the core Curriculum of the Medical School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The latter outcome was analyzed with respect to the implementation of integrated teaching.
The score obtained by students in the final examination, which is an objective outcome measure, increased significantly after the implementation of integrated teaching. The final grade (scores out of 10) of students who were trained with the integrated system (6.17±1.67, mean ± standard deviation) was significantly higher compared to those (5.52±2.20) trained with the conventional system (P<0.001). The positive outcome of this process was evident as there was a significant increase in the number of students satisfied with the teaching process compared to previous academic years.
Based on the experience of eight academic years and as a result of interactive assessment process our department has modified its medical student teaching process from conventional to integrated; all teaching staff members are involved in the teaching process, while students are divided in small groups. In conclusion, integrated teaching in small student groups appears to be an efficient teaching method (for both theoretical and clinical skills) of ophthalmic training for medical students.
PMCID: PMC4241950  PMID: 25429248
medical teaching; integrated teaching; medical training assessment
12.  The role of simulation in developing communication and gestural skills in medical students 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:106.
International studies have shown that laboratory training, particularly through the application of the principles of simulation learning, is an effective means of developing the communication and gestural skills of healthcare professionals. At the Advanced Simulation Center of the University of Genoa we have therefore established the first clinical skill laboratory with medical school students and an interprofessional team of trainers, as the first step towards developing simulation training of both medical and nursing students at our University.
The aim of this study was to assess student satisfaction with laboratory training in an Advanced Simulation Center.
All of the third-year students of the Medical School (n = 261) were invited to participate in the laboratory sessions at the Advanced Simulation Center. They were divided into groups and attended the Center for one week. The team of trainers included medical doctors and nurses involved in teaching at the University Medicine and Nursing programs. At the end of the week, the students were administered an anonymous questionnaire made up of two sections: the first one was on the content of individual laboratory sessions; the second on the training methods, materials used and the trainers. A five-point Likert scale was used to measure satisfaction.
According to the students all of the topics covered by the laboratory sessions were irreplaceable. Questionnaire results showed a high level of satisfaction with the methods used, the instruments developed, and with the expertise and approachability of the educators. Almost all of the students wanted to participate in similar laboratory activities in the future.
The study highlighted the need to permanently integrate laboratory training sessions into the curriculum of medical students, who found them very useful and stimulating. The limit of this study was that only the teaching staff was interprofessional, and the students were only 3rd Year students of medicine.
In the future, we hope to include also nursing students because they will need to learn how to deal with aspects of their clinical practice that require an interprofessional approach.
PMCID: PMC4039313  PMID: 24885330
Simulation; Education; Communication skills; Gestural skills; Medical students; Nursing students
13.  Teaching Musculoskeletal Physical Diagnosis Using A Web-based Tutorial and Pathophysiology-Focused Cases 
To assess the effectiveness of an experimental curriculum on teaching first-year medical students the musculoskeletal exam as compared to a traditional curriculum.
Musculoskeletal complaints are common in the primary care setting. Practitioners are often deficient in examination skills and knowledge regarding musculoskeletal diseases. There is a lack of uniformity regarding how to teach the musculoskeletal examination among sub-specialists. We propose a novel web-based approach to teaching the musculoskeletal exam that is enhanced by peer practice with pathophysiology-focused cases. We sought to assess the effectiveness of an innovative musculoskeletal curriculum on the knowledge and skills of first-year medical students related to musculoskeletal physical diagnosis as compared to a traditional curriculum. The secondary purpose of this study was to assess satisfaction of students and preceptors exposed to this teaching method.
This quasi-experimental study was conducted at a single LCME-accredited medical school and included a convenience sample from 2 consecutive classes of medical students during the musculoskeletal portion of their physical diagnosis class. We conducted a needs assessment of the traditional curriculum used to teach musculoskeletal examination. The needs assessment informed the development of an experimental curriculum. One class (control group) received the traditional curriculum while the second class (experimental group) received the experimental curriculum, consisting of a web-based musculoskeletal tutorial, pathophysiology-focused cases, and facilitator preparation. We used multiple-choice questions and musculoskeletal OSCE scores to assess differences between knowledge and skills in the 2 groups.
The sample consisted of 140 students in each medical school class. There were no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups. One hundred seven students from the control group and 120 students from the experimental group took the multiple-choice examination. The average score was 66% (95% CI= 59.7–72.3) for the control group and 66% (95% CI = 60.5–71.5) for the experimental group. There was no difference between the median musculoskeletal OSCE scores between the 2 groups. The experimental group was satisfied with the new teaching method and gained the additional benefit of a persistent resource.
This web-based experimental curriculum was as effective as the traditional curriculum for teaching the musculoskeletal exam. Additionally, users were satisfied with the web-based training and benefited from a persistent resource.
PMCID: PMC2779618  PMID: 20165527
cases; curriculum; musculoskeletal; OSCE; physical exam; tutorial; website
14.  Knowledge of drug prescription in dentistry students 
Students in schools of dentistry attend to patients with illnesses, and often prescribe medication. Because students are still learning, they are influenced by a variety of factors: the different teaching approaches of the professors at the clinics and in the pharmacology course, fellow students, and even the information provided by the pharmaceutical industry.
The aim of this pilot study was to assess the prescription knowledge and common mistakes in fourth-year students at the School of Dentistry at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
In March 2010, a survey was conducted among 66 fourth-year students at the School of Dentistry, applying a previously validated questionnaire consisting of six open-ended questions The following factors were assessed: the most frequent illness requiring dental prescription; the most prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics; the most frequent errors; sources of information used for prescribing drugs; and whether the students knew and followed the World Health Organization Guide to Good Prescribing.
The most frequent response for each question was considered the most significant. The most common reason for prescribing medication was infection (n = 37, 56%), followed by pain (n = 24, 38%); the most used painkillers were ibuprofen and acetaminophen at equal levels (n = 25, 37.8%), followed by ketorolac (n = 7, 10.6%), naproxen (n = 6, 9.1%), diclofenac (n = 2, 3%), and aspirin (n = 1, 1.5%); the most widely prescribed antibiotics were amoxicillin (n = 52, 78.9%), ampicillin (n = 7, 10.6%), and penicillin V and clindamycin (n = 3, 4.5%). The most frequent errors reported by students were: lack of knowledge about drug posology (n = 49, 74.2%), improperly filled prescriptions (n = 7, 10.7%), not knowing the brand names and uncertainty about the correct drug indicated for each case (n = 3, 4.54%), not knowing the duration of treatment (n = 2, 3%), not asking the patient about possible allergies, and not giving prescriptions (n = 1, 1.5%). The sources of information used by students for prescribing drugs included the professors at the clinics (n = 49, 74.2%), the pharmacology course (n = 7, 10.7%), medical dictionary consultation (n = 15, 22.72%), classmate support (n = 3, 4.54%), and information provided by medical representatives from pharmaceutical companies (n = 1, 1.5%). Finally, only 20 students (30.3%) followed the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing, 40 students acknowledged not following it (60.6%), and six students (9.1%) had no knowledge of it.
The knowledge of pharmacology among fourth-year students in the School of Dentistry has gaps that could affect patient safety. More studies are needed to determine whether this issue affects the quality of patient care and the effectiveness and safety of treatments. Since prescribing accurately is extremely important, it is necessary to develop therapeutic guidelines, and to provide pharmacological therapy courses. The implementation of educational programs, including the WHO Guide to Good Prescribing and Patient Safety Curriculum Guide, would be beneficial in helping students develop prescribing skills.
PMCID: PMC3396048  PMID: 22807647
prescription; dentistry prescription; most used NSAIDs by dentists; most used antibiotics; dentist prescribing errors; sources of information for prescribing; WHO Guide to Good Prescribing
15.  Development and Evaluation of a Palliative Medicine Curriculum for Third-Year Medical Students 
Journal of Palliative Medicine  2012;15(11):1198-1217.
To assess the impact, retention, and magnitude of effect of a required didactic and experiential palliative care curriculum on third-year medical students' knowledge, confidence, and concerns about end-of-life care, over time and in comparison to benchmark data from a national study of internal medicine residents and faculty.
Prospective study of third-year medical students prior to and immediately after course completion, with a follow-up assessment in the fourth year, and in comparison to benchmark data from a large national study.
Internal Medicine Clerkship in a public accredited medical school.
Five hundred ninety-three third-year medical students, from July 2002 to December 2007.
Main outcome measures
Pre- and postinstruction performance on: knowledge, confidence (self-assessed competence), and concerns (attitudes) about end-of-life care measures, validated in a national study of internal medicine residents and faculty. Medical student's reflective written comments were qualitatively assessed.
Required 32-hour didactic and experiential curriculum, including home hospice visits and inpatient hospice care, with content drawn from the AMA-sponsored Education for Physicians on End-of-life Care (EPEC) Project.
Analysis of 487 paired t tests shows significant improvements, with 23% improvement in knowledge (F1,486=881, p<0.001), 56% improvement in self-reported competence (F1,486=2,804, p<0.001), and 29% decrease in self-reported concern (F1,486=208, p<0.001). Retesting medical students in the fourth year showed a further 5% increase in confidence (p<0.0002), 13% increase in allaying concerns (p<0.0001), but a 6% drop in knowledge. The curriculum's effect size on M3 students' knowledge (0.56) exceeded that of a national cross-sectional study comparing residents at progressive training levels (0.18) Themes identified in students' reflective comments included perceived relevance, humanism, and effectiveness of methods used to teach and assess palliative care education.
We conclude that required structured didactic and experiential palliative care during the clinical clerkship year of medical student education shows significant and largely sustained effects indicating students are better prepared than a national sample of residents and attending physicians.
PMCID: PMC3533838  PMID: 22845026
16.  Improving Medical Students’ Success in Promoting Health Behavior Change: A Curriculum Evaluation 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2008;23(9):1503-1506.
Effective behavior change counseling is an important component of the optimal care of patients, yet only a minority of medical schools currently include such training in their curriculum.
To design and evaluate a formal curriculum to teach medical students the principles of motivational interviewing (MI) that will improve knowledge, skills, and confidence in the area of counseling patients for health behavior change.
Fifty-three 3rd year medical students at the University of California, San Diego.
Program Description
A 4-week curriculum consisting of four 2-h sessions, in a small group format (8–12 students). Educational strategies included a combination of short didactics, video demonstrations, small group role plays, and interactive exercises.
Program Evaluation
Students completed identical pre- and post-assessments, consisting of a questionnaire measuring confidence and knowledge, and a performance assessment using the Video Assessment of Simulated Encounters-Revised (VASE-R) tool. Knowledge improved significantly (pre-mean: 7.04, post-mean: 11.54; P < 0.001), as did skill development (pre-mean: 7.02, post-mean: 9.47; P < 0.001). Student satisfaction with behavior change counseling training improved from 3.6 to 8.1 (P < 0.001). Students were significantly more confident (P < 0.001) in their abilities to assess a patient’s readiness for change and counsel the patient on behavior change after the course.
Participation in a focused curriculum on the use of motivational interviewing techniques significantly improved 3rd year medical students’ knowledge, confidence, and skills in the area of behavior change counseling. These gains may help students succeed in promoting good health habits in their future patients.
PMCID: PMC2518029  PMID: 18592322
motivational interviewing; behavior change counseling; curriculum evaluation
17.  First year clinical tutorials: students’ learning experience 
Bedside teaching lies at the heart of medical education. The learning environment afforded to students during clinical tutorials contributes substantially to their knowledge, thinking, and learning. Situated cognition theory posits that the depth and breadth of the students’ learning experience is dependent upon the attitude of the clinical teacher, the structure of the tutorial, and the understanding of tutorial and learning objectives. This theory provides a useful framework to conceptualize how students’ experience within their clinical tutorials impacts their knowledge, thinking, and learning.
The study was conducted with one cohort (n=301) of students who had completed year 1 of the medical program at Sydney Medical School in 2013. All students were asked to complete a three-part questionnaire regarding their perceptions of their clinical tutor’s attributes, the consistency of the tutor, and the best features of the tutorials and need for improvement. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analyzed using descriptive statistics.
The response rate to the questionnaire was 88% (265/301). Students perceived that their tutors displayed good communication skills and enthusiasm, encouraged their learning, and were empathetic toward patients. Fifty-two percent of students reported having the same communications tutor for the entire year, and 28% reported having the same physical examination tutor for the entire year. Students would like increased patient contact, greater structure within their tutorials, and greater alignment of teaching with the curriculum.
Situated cognition theory provides a valuable lens to view students’ experience of learning within the clinical environment. Our findings demonstrate students’ appreciation of clinical tutors as role models, the need for consistency in feedback, the importance of structure within tutorials, and the need for tutors to have an understanding of the curriculum and learning objectives for each teaching session.
PMCID: PMC4257052  PMID: 25489253
bedside teaching; clinical tutorials; role modeling; situated cognition
18.  Enhancing medical students' communication skills: development and evaluation of an undergraduate training program 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:16.
There is a relative lack of current research on the effects of specific communication training offered at the beginning of the medical degree program. The newly developed communication training "Basics and Practice in Communication Skills" was pilot tested in 2008 and expanded in the following year at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany. The goal was to promote and improve the communicative skills of participants and show the usefulness of an early offered intervention on patient-physician communication within the medical curriculum.
The students participating in the project and a comparison group of students from the standard degree program were surveyed at the beginning and end of the courses. The survey consisted of a self-assessment of their skills as well as a standardised expert rating and an evaluation of the modules by means of a questionnaire.
Students who attended the communication skills course exhibited a considerable increase of communication skills in this newly developed training. It was also observed that students in the intervention group had a greater degree of self-assessed competence following training than the medical students in the comparison group. This finding is also reflected in the results from a standardised objective measure.
The empirical results of the study showed that the training enabled students to acquire specialised competence in communication through the course of a newly developed training program. These findings will be used to establish new communication training at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf.
PMCID: PMC3338375  PMID: 22443807
19.  Teaching first-year medical students in basic clinical and procedural skills − A novel course concept at a medical school in Austria 
Introduction: Clerkships are still the main source for undergraduate medical students to acquire necessary skills. However, these educational experiences may not be sufficient, as there are significant deficiencies in the clinical experience and practical expertise of medical students.
Project description: An innovative course teaching basic clinical and procedural skills to first-year medical students has been implemented at the Medical University of Graz, aiming at preparing students for clerkships and clinical electives. The course is based on several didactic elements: standardized and clinically relevant contents, dual (theoretical and virtual) pre-course preparation, student peer-teaching, small teaching groups, hands-on training, and the use of medical simulation. This is the first course of its kind at a medical school in Austria, and its conceptual design as well as the implementation process into the curriculum shall be described.
Evaluation: Between November 2011 and January 2013, 418 students have successfully completed the course. Four online surveys among participating students have been performed, with 132 returned questionnaires. Students’ satisfaction with all four practical course parts was high, as well as the assessment of clinical relevance of contents. Most students (88.6%) strongly agreed/agreed that they had learned a lot throughout the course. Two thirds of the students were motivated by the course to train the acquired skills regularly at our skills laboratory. Narrative feedbacks revealed elements contributing most to course success.
Conclusions: First-year medical students highly appreciate practical skills training. Hands-on practice, peer-teaching, clinically relevant contents, and the use of medical simulation are valued most.
PMCID: PMC3935167  PMID: 24575157
Clinical skills; skills laboratory; practical training; undergraduate education; medical simulation
20.  Perceptions of graduating students from eight medical schools in Vietnam on acquisition of key skills identified by teachers 
The eight main Vietnamese medical schools recently cooperated to produce a book listing the knowledge, attitudes and skills expected of a graduate, including specification of the required level for each skill. The teaching program should ensure that students can reach that level. The objective of this study was to determine the perception of graduating students on whether they had achieved the level set for a selection of clinical and public health skills as a guide for the schools to adjust either the levels or the teaching.
From all eight schools, 1136 of the 1528 final year students completed questionnaires just before completed all the requirements for graduation, a response rate of 87% overall (ranging from 74–99% per school). They rated their own competence on a scale of 0–5 for 129 skills selected from the 557 skills listed in the book, and reported where they thought they had learned them. The scores that the students gave themselves were then compared to the levels proposed by the teachers for each skill. The proportions of the self-assessed achievement to the levels expected by the teachers, means self-assessed scores and the coefficients of variation were calculated to make comparisons among disciplines, among schools and among learning sites.
Most students felt they had learned most of the skills for key clinical departments to the required level; this varied little among the schools. Self-assessed skill acquisition in public health and minor clinical disciplines was lower and varied more. Sites outside the classroom were especially important for learning skills. The results revealed key similarities and differences between the teachers and the students in their perception about what could be learned and where
Revising a curriculum for medical schools demands inputs from all stakeholders. Graduating class students can provide valuable feedback on what they have learned in the existing system. Learning objectives should always be checked with students who have followed their study under existing teaching conditions. The information from the graduates helped to identify potential problem areas where either the objectives or the teaching need adjustment.
PMCID: PMC2248186  PMID: 18205954
21.  The communication skills course for second year medical students at Hannover Medical School: An evaluation study based on students' self-assessments 
In the model medical curriculum HannibaL at Hannover Medical School (MHH, Hannover, Germany), communication skills in taking case histories and disclosing diagnoses (breaking bad news) are assessed through an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). This is part of the examinations which at the MHH represent the equivalent to the First Part of the Medical Examinations. The second year doctor-patient communication course preparing for these examinations was evaluated during the 2009/10 academic year.
Using questionnaires specific to the learning objectives, learning needs were assessed, pre-post comparisons of self-assessed competencies were performed and key teaching methods were evaluated (5-point Likert scales, “5”=fully agree). At T0 (start of the course) 267 students participated (response rate: 93.7%), of which 180 filled out the T1 questionnaire during the last session of the course (67.4%). Within-subject analyses of variance and paired t-tests were conducted.
The highest learning needs were found for the “to show how”-items regarding history taking and disclosing diagnoses (M=4.4). The T1-T0 comparisons showed the greatest improvements for history taking (“to know how”: mean difference = +1.7, “to show how”: +1.8, p<.0001 as with all tests) and the “to know how”-item regarding the disclosure of diagnoses (+1.6), followed by the “to show how”-items on disclosing a diagnosis (+1.4), shared decision making (+1.2), self-assessing one’s own strengths/weaknesses (+1.0) and confidently approaching new patients (+0.7). Students with T0 values of 1 or 2 on the respective scales improved on average by 2.2 points across all items, students with the value of 3 by 1.1, and from 4 or 5 by 0.1. Methodically, the use of simulated patients was rated the most helpful (M=4.8, 87% with the scale value 5).
This doctor-patient communication course is associated with substantial improvements regarding all key learning objectives. Regarding methods, the deployed simulated patients (2-4 per 10-student-course group in 3 of the 7 course sessions, respectively) were rated the most helpful. The present evaluation calls for both further development of the doctor-patient communication curriculum at the MHH and joint activities across medical schools, which are discussed at the end of the paper.
PMCID: PMC3244738  PMID: 22205912
Doctor-Patient Communication; Undergraduate Medical Education; Medical History Taking; Diagnosis Disclosure; Health Communication
22.  Comparison of Two Different Curricula in Psychiatry Clerkship at Tehran University of Medical Sciences 
Iranian Journal of Psychiatry  2013;8(3):145-148.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a new psychiatry clerkship curriculum which was designed to improve the knowledge and skills of medical students of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Iran.
This quasi-experimental study was conducted in two consecutive semesters from February 2009 to January 2010. In total, 167 medical students participated in the study. In the first semester, as the control group, the clerks’ training was based on the traditional curriculum. In the next semester, we constructed and applied a new curriculum based on the SPICES model (student-centered, problem-based, integrated, community-based, elective and systematic).At the end of the clerkship, the students were given two exams: Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) to assess their knowledge, and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) to assess their skills. Baseline data and test performance for each student were analyzed.
Compared to the control group, students in the intervention group showed significantly higher OSCE scores (P= 0.01). With respect to MCQ score, no significant difference was found between the two groups.
The results suggest that the revised curriculum is more effective than the traditional one in improving the required clinical skills in medical students during their psychiatry clerkship.
PMCID: PMC3887232  PMID: 24454424
Psychiatry; Clerkship; Education; Medical students; Curriculum
23.  A Model for Persistent Improvement of Medical Education as Illustrated by the Surgical Reform Curriculum HeiCuMed 
Background: Heidelberg Medical School underwent a major curricular change with the implementation of the reform curriculum HeiCuMed (Heidelberg Curriculum Medicinale) in October 2001. It is based on rotational modules with daily cycles of interactive, case-based small-group seminars, PBL tutorials and training of sensomotor and communication skills. For surgical undergraduate training an organisational structure was developed that ensures continuity of medical teachers for student groups and enables their unimpaired engagement for defined periods of time while accounting for the daily clinical routine in a large surgery department of a university hospital. It includes obligatory didactic training, standardising teaching material on the basis of learning objectives and releasing teaching doctors from clinical duties for the duration of a module.
Objective: To compare the effectiveness of the undergraduate surgical reform curriculum with that of the preceding traditional one as reflected by students' evaluations.
Method: The present work analyses student evaluations of the undergraduate surgical training between 1999 and 2008 including three cohorts (~360 students each) in the traditional curriculum and 13 cohorts (~150 students each) in the reform curriculum.
Results: The evaluation of the courses, their organisation, the teaching quality, and the subjective learning was significantly better in HeiCuMed than in the preceding traditional curriculum over the whole study period.
Conclusion: A medical curriculum based on the implementation of interactive didactical methods is more important to successful teaching and the subjective gain of knowledge than knowledge transfer by traditional classroom teaching. The organisational strategy adopted in the surgical training of HeiCuMed has been successful in enabling the maintenance of a complex modern curriculum on a continuously high level within the framework of a busy surgical environment.
PMCID: PMC3149464  PMID: 21818239
Medical education; undergraduate surgery curriculum; evaluation
24.  Exploring the experiences and coping strategies of international medical students 
BMC Medical Education  2011;11:40.
Few studies have addressed the challenges that international medical students face and there is a dearth of information on the behavioural strategies these students adopt to successfully progress through their academic program in the face of substantial difficulties of language barrier, curriculum overload, financial constraints and assessment tasks that require high proficiency in communication skills.
This study was designed primarily with the aim of enhancing understanding of the coping strategies, skill perceptions and knowledge of assessment expectations of international students as they progress through the third and fourth years of their medical degree at the School of Medicine, University of Tasmania, Australia.
Survey, focus group discussion and individual interviews revealed that language barriers, communication skills, cultural differences, financial burdens, heavy workloads and discriminatory bottlenecks were key factors that hindered their adaptation to the Australian culture. Quantitative analyses of their examination results showed that there were highly significant (p < 0.001) variations between student performances in multiple choice questions, short answer questions and objective structured clinical examinations (70.3%, 49.7% & 61.7% respectively), indicating existence of communication issues.
Despite the challenges, these students have adopted commendable coping strategies and progressed through the course largely due to their high sense of responsibility towards their family, their focus on the goal of graduating as medical doctors and their support networks. It was concluded that faculty needs to provide both academic and moral support to their international medical students at three major intervention points, namely point of entry, mid way through the course and at the end of the course to enhance their coping skills and academic progression. Finally, appropriate recommendations were made.
PMCID: PMC3141796  PMID: 21702988
25.  A facilitative versus directive approach in training clinical skills? Investigating students’ clinical performance and perceptions 
Over the years, many medical school curricula have started implementing diverse student-centred teaching and learning methodologies. Previous studies, however, have indicated that students prefer more traditional and directive methodologies instead, raising questions on which training approach should be advocated. This study contrasts the effects of a student-centred (i.e. facilitative) training approach on students’ clinical skills learning with students’ perceptions. More specifically, a quasi-experimental study was set up in which students experienced either a directive or facilitative training approach. Data were collected by means of an OSCE on the one hand, and a questionnaire on students’ perceptions of the training sessions, and two open-ended questions about students’ likes and dislikes on the other hand. While no general differences were found in terms of clinical knowledge and understanding, and actual clinical performance, an interaction between students’ course-specific prior knowledge and the training approach was found. Especially students with low levels of knowledge benefited more from the facilitative training approach in terms of clinical knowledge, while highly knowledgeable students experienced a negative effect of this training approach. Moreover, students’ perceptions revealed that facilitative-trained students reported more deep-level learning, while the directive training approach turned out to score higher in terms of quality and perceived effects.
PMCID: PMC3540383  PMID: 23316467
Peer Assisted Learning; Clinical skills training; Clinical learning outcomes; Students’ perceptions

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