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1.  Can personal qualities of medical students predict in-course examination success and professional behaviour? An exploratory prospective cohort study 
BMC Medical Education  2012;12:69.
Background
Over two-thirds of UK medical schools are augmenting their selection procedures for medical students by using the United Kingdom Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT), which employs tests of cognitive and non-cognitive personal qualities, but clear evidence of the tests’ predictive validity is lacking. This study explores whether academic performance and professional behaviours that are important in a health professional context can be predicted by these measures, when taken before or very early in the medical course.
Methods
This prospective cohort study follows the progress of the entire student cohort who entered Hull York Medical School in September 2007, having taken the UKCAT cognitive tests in 2006 and the non-cognitive tests a year later. This paper reports on the students’ first and second academic years of study. The main outcome measures were regular, repeated tutor assessment of individual students’ interpersonal skills and professional behaviour, and annual examination performance in the three domains of recall and application of knowledge, evaluation of data, and communication and practical clinical skills. The relationships between non-cognitive test scores, cognitive test scores, tutor assessments and examination results were explored using the Pearson product–moment correlations for each group of data; the data for students obtaining the top and bottom 20% of the summative examination results were compared using Analysis of Variance.
Results
Personal qualities measured by non-cognitive tests showed a number of statistically significant relationships with ratings of behaviour made by tutors, with performance in each year’s objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs), and with themed written summative examination marks in each year. Cognitive ability scores were also significantly related to each year’s examination results, but seldom to professional behaviours. The top 20% of examination achievers could be differentiated from the bottom 20% on both non-cognitive and cognitive measures.
Conclusions
This study shows numerous significant relationships between both cognitive and non-cognitive test scores, academic examination scores and indicators of professional behaviours in medical students. This suggests that measurement of non-cognitive personal qualities in applicants to medical school could make a useful contribution to selection and admission decisions. Further research is required in larger representative groups, and with more refined predictor measures and behavioural assessment methods, to establish beyond doubt the incremental validity of such measures over conventional cognitive assessments.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-69
PMCID: PMC3473297  PMID: 22873571
2.  Emotional intelligence and perceived stress in healthcare students: a multi-institutional, multi-professional survey 
Background
Emotional intelligence (EI) is increasingly discussed as having a potential role in medicine, nursing, and other healthcare disciplines, both for personal mental health and professional practice. Stress has been identified as being high for students in healthcare courses. This study investigated whether EI and stress differed among students in four health professions (dental, nursing, graduate mental health workers, medical) and whether there was evidence that EI might serve as a buffer for stress.
Method
The Schutte Emotional Intelligence and the Perceived Stress scale instruments were administered to four groups of healthcare students in their first year of study in both the autumn and summer terms of the 2005-6 academic year. The groups were undergraduate dental, nursing and medical students, and postgraduate mental health workers.
Results
No significant differences were found between males and females nor among professional groups for the EI measure. Dental students reported significantly higher stress than medical students. EI was found to be only moderately stable in test-retest scores. Some evidence was found for EI as a possible factor in mediating stress. Students in different health profession courses did not show significant differences in Emotional Intelligence.
Conclusion
While stress and EI showed a moderate relationship, results of this study do not allow the direction of relationship to be determined. The limitations and further research questions raised in this study are discussed along with the need for refinement of the EI construct and measures, particularly if Emotional Intelligence were to be considered as a possible selection criterion, as has been suggested by some authors.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-9-61
PMCID: PMC2753627  PMID: 19761603

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