The implicit “hidden curriculum” strongly influences medical students’ perceptions of the importance of patient-centeredness. A new instrument, the Communication, Curriculum, and Culture Survey (C3), already used to assess this hard-to- access part of the curriculum in the US, has potential for use in cross-cultural comparisons.
To use the C3 to perform a pilot cross-cultural comparison of the patient-centeredness of the hidden curriculum between a Saudi medical school and 9 U.S. medical schools.
Senior Saudi medical students completed the C3 and a second instrument, the Patient-Provider Orientation Scale (PPOS), which measured their attitudes toward patient-centered behavior.
Senior Saudi medical students.
139/256 (54%) Saudis completed the C3; 122/256(48%) completed the PPOS. Means for 2 out of 3 of the C3's domains (0–100 scale) were lower for the Saudis than those for the Americans (95% confidence intervals in parentheses): 47 (45, 50) vs. 55 (53, 58); 54 (50, 58) vs. 68 (67, 70); they overlapped in the third: 60 (57, 63) vs. 62 (60, 63). The mean Saudi PPOS score was 4.0 (3.9, 4.1); for the American medical schools, 4.8 (4.8–4.8) (1–6, least to most patient-centered).
In this preliminary study the data suggest that the patient-centeredness of the hidden curriculum differs in Saudi and US medical schools in 2 out of 3 domains. Cross-cultural use of instruments such as the C3 can highlight such important differences and help educators evaluate their currciulum from an international, as well as a local perspective. Use of instruments across borders is a growing trend and an indicator of the increasing globalization of medical education.