Previous research has shown that Dutch medical residents feel inadequate in certain management areas: 85% had a need for management training and reported preferences on the format of such training. Our objective was to explore if the perceived deficiencies and needs among Dutch residents were similar to those of their peers in other countries, and if a longer duration of the incorporation of the CanMEDS competency framework into curricula as well as management training had an influence on these perceptions.
Medical residents from Denmark, Canada and Australia were approached for participation. The questionnaire used to survey the perceptions of Dutch residents was slightly modified, translated into English and sent by email to all international participants.
Response rates were; Denmark 719/2105 (34%), Canada 177/500 (35%) and Australia 194/1213 (16%) respectively. The Danish as well as the Canadian residents rated their negotiating skills poorly. In Australia the residents found their knowledge on how their specialist department was organized to be insufficient, while residents in the Netherlands rated their knowledge on how the healthcare system was organized as inadequate. In all of the countries, more than 70% of the residents reported a perceived need for management training.
A majority of the residents in all countries felt the need for specific training in developing their management competencies. The adoption of the CanMEDS framework alone seems to be insufficient in meeting residents’ perceived educational needs in this area.
Medical residents; CanMEDS; Managers role; Assessment; International comparison
Many medical schools have embraced small group learning methods in their undergraduate curricula. Given increasing financial constraints on universities, active learning groups like seminars (with 25 students a group) are gaining popularity. To enhance the understanding of seminar learning and to determine how seminar learning can be optimised it is important to investigate stakeholders’ views. In this study, we qualitatively explored the views of teachers on aspects affecting seminar learning.
Twenty-four teachers with experience in facilitating seminars in a three-year bachelor curriculum participated in semi-structured focus group interviews. Three focus groups met twice with an interval of two weeks led by one moderator. Sessions were audio taped, transcribed verbatim and independently coded by two researchers using thematic analysis. An iterative process of data reduction resulted in emerging aspects that influence seminar learning.
Teachers identified seven key aspects affecting seminar learning: the seminar teacher, students, preparation, group functioning, seminar goals and content, course coherence and schedule and facilities. Important components of these aspects were: the teachers’ role in developing seminars (‘ownership’), the amount and quality of preparation materials, a non-threatening learning climate, continuity of group composition, suitability of subjects for seminar teaching, the number and quality of seminar questions, and alignment of different course activities.
The results of this study contribute to the unravelling of the ‘the black box’ of seminar learning. Suggestions for ways to optimise active learning in seminars are made regarding curriculum development, seminar content, quality assurance and faculty development.
Seminar learning; Undergraduate (veterinary) medical education; Focus groups; Faculty development
The advantages of using simulators in skills training are generally recognized, but simulators are often too expensive for medical schools in developing countries. Cheaper locally-made models (or part-task trainers) could be the answer, especially when teachers are involved in design and production (teacher-made models, TM).
We evaluated the effectiveness of a TM in training and assessing intravenous injection skills in comparison to an available commercial model (CM) in a randomized, blind, pretest-posttest study with 144 undergraduate nursing students. All students were assessed on both the TM and the CM in the pre-test and post-test. After the post-test the students were also assessed while performing the skill on real patients.
Differences in the mean scores pre- and post-test were marked in all groups. Training with TM or CM improved student scores substantially but there was no significant difference in mean scores whether students had practiced on TM or CM. Students who practiced on TM performed better on communication with the patient than did students who practiced on CM. Decreasing the ratio of students per TM model helped to increase practice opportunities but did not improve student’s mean scores. The result of the assessment on both the TM and the CM had a low correlation with the results of the assessment on real persons.
The TM appears to be an effective alternative to CM for training students on basic IV skills, as students showed similar increases in performance scores after training on models that cost considerably less than commercially available models. These models could be produced using locally available materials in most countries, including those with limited resources to invest in medical education and skills laboratories.
Clinical skills laboratory; Teacher made models; Commercial models; Vietnam
Reflection on professional experience is increasingly accepted as a critical attribute for health care practice; however, evidence that it has a positive impact on performance remains scarce. This study investigated whether, after allowing for the effects of knowledge and consultation skills, reflection had an independent effect on students’ ability to solve problem cases.
Data was collected from 362 undergraduate medical students at Ghent University solving video cases and reflected on the experience of doing so. For knowledge and consultation skills results on a progress test and a course teaching consultation skills were used respectively. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis was used to test the relationship between the quality of case-solving (dependent variable) and reflection skills, knowledge, and consultation skills (dependent variables).
Only students with data on all variables available (n = 270) were included for analysis. The model was significant (Anova F(3,269) = 11.00, p < 0.001, adjusted R square 0.10) with all variables significantly contributing.
Medical students’ reflection had a small but significant effect on case-solving, which supports reflection as an attribute for performance. These findings suggest that it would be worthwhile testing the effect of reflection skills training on clinical competence.
Students may encounter difficulties when they have to apply clinical skills trained in their pre-clinical studies in clerkships. Early clinical exposure in the pre-clinical phase has been recommended to reduce these transition problems. The aim of this study is to explore differences in students' experiences during the first clerkships between students exclusively trained in a skills laboratory and peers for whom part of their skills training was substituted by early clinical experiences (ECE).
Thirty pre-clinical students trained clinical skills exclusively in a skills laboratory; 30 peers received part of their skills training in PHC centers. Within half a year after commencing their clerkships all 60 students shared their experiences in focus group discussions (FGDs). Verbatim transcripts of FGDs were analyzed using Atlas-Ti software.
Clerkship students who had participated in ECE in PHC centers felt better prepared to perform their clinical skills during the first clerkships than peers who had only practiced in a skills laboratory. ECE in PHC centers impacted positively in particular on students’ confidence, clinical reasoning, and interpersonal communication.
In the Indonesian setting ECE in PHC centers reduce difficulties commonly encountered by medical students in the first clerkships.
Clinical skills training; Early clinical experiences; Clerkships
Reflection is a meta-cognitive process, characterized by: 1. Awareness of self and the situation; 2. Critical analysis and understanding of both self and the situation; 3. Development of new perspectives to inform future actions. Assessors can only access reflections indirectly through learners’ verbal and/or written expressions. Being privy to the situation that triggered reflection could place reflective materials into context. Video-cases make that possible and, coupled with a scoring rubric, offer a reliable way of assessing reflection.
Fourth and fifth year undergraduate medical students were shown two interactive video-cases and asked to reflect on this experience, guided by six standard questions. The quality of students’ reflections were scored using a specially developed Student Assessment of Reflection Scoring rubric (StARS®). Reflection scores were analyzed concerning interrater reliability and ability to discriminate between students. Further, the intra-rater reliability and case specificity were estimated by means of a generalizability study with rating and case scenario as facets.
Reflection scores of 270 students ranged widely and interrater reliability was acceptable (Krippendorff’s alpha = 0.88). The generalizability study suggested 3 or 4 cases were needed to obtain reliable ratings from 4th year students and ≥ 6 cases from 5th year students.
Use of StARS® to assess student reflections triggered by standardized video-cases had acceptable discriminative ability and reliability. We offer this practical method for assessing reflection summatively, and providing formative feedback in training situations.
Incident reporting systems (IRS) are used to identify medical errors in order to learn from mistakes and improve patient safety in hospitals. However, IRS contain only a small fraction of occurring incidents. A more comprehensive overview of medical error in hospitals may be obtained by combining information from multiple sources. The WHO has developed the International Classification for Patient Safety (ICPS) in order to enable comparison of incident reports from different sources and institutions.
The aim of this paper was to provide a more comprehensive overview of medical error in hospitals using a combination of different information sources. Incident reports collected from IRS, patient complaints and retrospective chart review in an academic acute care hospital were classified using the ICPS. The main outcome measures were distribution of incidents over the thirteen categories of the ICPS classifier “Incident type”, described as odds ratios (OR) and proportional similarity indices (PSI).
A total of 1012 incidents resulted in 1282 classified items. Large differences between data from IRS and patient complaints (PSI = 0.32) and from IRS and retrospective chart review (PSI = 0.31) were mainly attributable to behaviour (OR = 6.08), clinical administration (OR = 5.14), clinical process (OR = 6.73) and resources (OR = 2.06).
IRS do not capture all incidents in hospitals and should be combined with complementary information about diagnostic error and delayed treatment from patient complaints and retrospective chart review. Since incidents that are not recorded in IRS do not lead to remedial and preventive action in response to IRS reports, healthcare centres that have access to different incident detection methods should harness information from all sources to improve patient safety.
The drive to quality-manage medical education has created a need for valid measurement instruments. Validity evidence includes the theoretical and contextual origin of items, choice of response processes, internal structure, and interrelationship of a measure’s variables. This research set out to explore the validity and potential utility of an 11-item measurement instrument, whose theoretical and empirical origins were in an Experience Based Learning model of how medical students learn in communities of practice (COPs), and whose contextual origins were in a community-oriented, horizontally integrated, undergraduate medical programme. The objectives were to examine the psychometric properties of the scale in both hospital and community COPs and provide validity evidence to support using it to measure the quality of placements. The instrument was administered twice to students learning in both hospital and community placements and analysed using exploratory factor analysis and a generalizability analysis. 754 of a possible 902 questionnaires were returned (84% response rate), representing 168 placements. Eight items loaded onto two factors, which accounted for 78% of variance in the hospital data and 82% of variance in the community data. One factor was the placement learning environment, whose five constituent items were how learners were received at the start of the placement, people’s supportiveness, and the quality of organisation, leadership, and facilities. The other factor represented the quality of training—instruction in skills, observing students performing skills, and providing students with feedback. Alpha coefficients ranged between 0.89 and 0.93 and there were no redundant or ambiguous items. Generalisability analysis showed that between 7 and 11 raters would be needed to achieve acceptable reliability. There is validity evidence to support using the simple 8-item, mixed methods Manchester Clinical Placement Index to measure key conditions for undergraduate medical students’ experience based learning: the quality of the learning environment and the training provided within it. Its conceptual orientation is towards Communities of Practice, which is a dominant contemporary theory in undergraduate medical education.
Workplace learning; Learning environment; Evaluation; Communities of practice; Experience based learning
Reflection on experience is an increasingly critical part of professional development and lifelong learning. There is, however, continuing uncertainty about how best to put principle into practice, particularly as regards assessment. This article explores those uncertainties in order to find practical ways of assessing reflection.
We critically review four problems: 1. Inconsistent definitions of reflection; 2. Lack of standards to determine (in)adequate reflection; 3. Factors that complicate assessment; 4. Internal and external contextual factors affecting the assessment of reflection.
To address the problem of inconsistency, we identified processes that were common to a number of widely quoted theories and synthesised a model, which yielded six indicators that could be used in assessment instruments. We arrived at the conclusion that, until further progress has been made in defining standards, assessment must depend on developing and communicating local consensus between stakeholders (students, practitioners, teachers, supervisors, curriculum developers) about what is expected in exercises and formal tests. Major factors that complicate assessment are the subjective nature of reflection's content and the dependency on descriptions by persons being assessed about their reflection process, without any objective means of verification. To counter these validity threats, we suggest that assessment should focus on generic process skills rather than the subjective content of reflection and where possible to consider objective information about the triggering situation to verify described reflections. Finally, internal and external contextual factors such as motivation, instruction, character of assessment (formative or summative) and the ability of individual learning environments to stimulate reflection should be considered.
The role of deliberate practice in medical students' development from novice to expert was examined for preclinical skill training.
Students in years 1-3 completed 34 Likert type items, adapted from a questionnaire about the use of deliberate practice in cognitive learning. Exploratory factor analysis and reliability analysis were used to validate the questionnaire. Analysis of variance examined differences between years and regression analysis the relationship between deliberate practice and skill test results.
875 students participated (90%). Factor analysis yielded four factors: planning, concentration/dedication, repetition/revision, study style/self reflection. Student scores on 'Planning' increased over time, score on sub-scale 'repetition/revision' decreased. Student results on the clinical skill test correlated positively with scores on subscales 'planning' and 'concentration/dedication' in years 1 and 3, and with scores on subscale 'repetition/revision' in year 1.
The positive effects on test results suggest that the role of deliberate practice in medical education merits further study. The cross-sectional design is a limitation, the large representative sample a strength of the study. The vanishing effect of repetition/revision may be attributable to inadequate feedback. Deliberate practice advocates sustained practice to address weaknesses, identified by (self-)assessment and stimulated by feedback. Further studies should use a longitudinal prospective design and extend the scope to expertise development during residency and beyond.
When innovations are introduced in medical education, teachers often have to adapt to a new concept of what being a good teacher includes. These new concepts do not necessarily match medical teachers' own, often strong beliefs about what it means to be a good teacher.
Recently, a new competency-based description of the good teacher was developed and introduced in all the Departments of Postgraduate Medical Education for Family Physicians in the Netherlands. We compared the views reflected in the new description with the views of teachers who were required to adopt the new framework.
Qualitative study. We interviewed teachers in two Departments of Postgraduate Medical Education for Family Physicians in the Netherlands. The transcripts of the interviews were analysed independently by two researchers, who coded and categorised relevant fragments until consensus was reached on six themes. We investigated to what extent these themes matched the new description.
Comparing the teachers' views with the concepts described in the new competency-based framework is like looking into two mirrors that reflect clearly dissimilar images. At least two of the themes we found are important in relation to the implementation of new educational methods: the teachers' identification and organisational culture. The latter plays an important role in the development of teachers' ideas about good teaching.
The main finding of this study is the key role played by the teachers' feelings regarding their professional identity and by the local teaching culture in shaping teachers' views and expectations regarding their work. This suggests that in implementing a new teaching framework and in faculty development programmes, careful attention should be paid to teachers' existing identification model and the culture that fostered it.
Lack of published studies on students’ practice behaviour of physical examination skills outside timetabled training sessions inspired this study into what activities medical students undertake to improve their skills and factors influencing this. Six focus groups of a total of 52 students from Years 1–3 using a pre-established interview guide. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed using qualitative methods. The interview guide was based on questionnaire results; overall response rate for Years 1–3 was 90% (n = 875). Students report a variety of activities to improve their physical examination skills. On average, students devote 20% of self-study time to skill training with Year 1 students practising significantly more than Year 3 students. Practice patterns shift from just-in-time learning to a longitudinal selfdirected approach. Factors influencing this change are assessment methods and simulated/real patients. Learning resources used include textbooks, examination guidelines, scientific articles, the Internet, videos/DVDs and scoring forms from previous OSCEs. Practising skills on fellow students happens at university rooms or at home. Also family and friends were mentioned to help. Simulated/real patients stimulated students to practise of physical examination skills, initially causing confusion and anxiety about skill performance but leading to increased feelings of competence. Difficult or enjoyable skills stimulate students to practise. The strategies students adopt to master physical examination skills outside timetabled training sessions are self-directed. OSCE assessment does have influence, but learning takes place also when there is no upcoming assessment. Simulated and real patients provide strong incentives to work on skills. Early patient contacts make students feel more prepared for clinical practice.
Undergraduate; Medical students; Practical; Physical examination skills; Clinical skills
According to The Indonesian Medical Council, 2006, Indonesian competence-based medical curriculum should be oriented towards family medicine. We aimed to find out if the educational goal of patient-centered care within family medicine (comprehensive care and continuous care) were adequately transferred from the expected curriculum to implemented curriculum and teaching process.
Discourse analysis was done by 3 general practitioners of scenarios and learning objectives of an Indonesian undergraduate medical curriculum. The coders categorized those sentences into two groups: met or unmet the educational goal of patient-centered care.
Text analysis showed gaps in patient-centered care training between the scenarios and the learning objectives which were developed by both curriculum committee and the block planning groups and the way in which the material was taught. Most sentences in the scenarios were more relevant to patient-centered care while most sentences in the learning objectives were more inclined towards disease-perspectives.
There is currently a discrepancy between expected patient-centered care values in the scenario and instructional materials that are being used.
Patient-centered care; Comprehensive care; Continuous care; Discourse analysis
Evidence that medical error can cause harm to patients has raised the attention of the health care community towards patient safety and influenced how and what medical students learn about it. Patient safety is best taught when students are participating in clinical practice where they actually encounter patients at risk. This type of learning is referred to as workplace learning, a complex system in which various factors influence what is being learned and how. A theory that can highlight potential difficulties in this complex learning system about patient safety is activity theory. Thirty-four final year undergraduate medical students participated in four focus groups about their experiences concerning patient safety. Using activity theory as analytical framework, we performed constant comparative thematic analysis of the focus group transcripts to identify important themes. We found eight general themes relating to two activities: learning to be a doctor and delivering safe patient care. Simultaneous occurrence of these two activities can cause contradictions. Our results illustrate the complexity of learning about patient safety at the workplace. Students encounter contradictions when learning about patient safety, especially during a transitional phase of their training. These contradictions create potential learning opportunities which should be used in education about patient safety. Insight into the complexities of patient safety is essential to improve education in this important area of medicine.
Activity theory; Communities of practice; Patient safety; Workplace learning
Learning in small group tutorials is appreciated by students and effective in the acquisition of clinical problem-solving skills but poses financial and resource challenges. Interactive seminars, which accommodate large groups, might be an alternative. This study examines the educational effectiveness of small group tutorials and interactive seminars and students' preferences for and satisfaction with these formats.
Students in year three of the Leiden undergraduate medical curriculum, who agreed to participate in a randomized controlled trial (RCT, n = 107), were randomly allocated to small group tutorials (n = 53) or interactive seminars (n = 54). Students who did not agree were free to choose either format (n = 105). Educational effectiveness was measured by comparing the participants' results on the end-of-block test. Data on students' reasons and satisfaction were collected by means of questionnaires. Data was analyzed using student unpaired t test or chi-square test where appropriate.
There were no significant differences between the two educational formats in students' test grades. Retention of knowledge through active participation was the most frequently cited reason for preferring small group tutorials, while a dislike of compulsory course components was mentioned more frequently by students preferring interactive seminars. Small group tutorials led to greater satisfaction.
We found that small group tutorials leads to greater satisfaction but not to better learning results. Interactive learning in large groups might be might be an effective alternative to small group tutorials in some cases and be offered as an option.
There are many avoidable deaths in hospitals because the care team is not well attuned. Training in emergency situations is generally followed on an individual basis. In practice, however, hospital patients are treated by a team composed of various disciplines. To prevent communication errors, it is important to focus the training on the team as a whole, rather than on the individual. Team training appears to be important in contributing toward preventing these errors. Obstetrics lends itself to multidisciplinary team training. It is a field in which nurses, midwives, obstetricians and paediatricians work together and where decisions must be made and actions must be carried out under extreme time pressure.
It is attractive to belief that multidisciplinary team training will reduce the number of errors in obstetrics. The other side of the medal is that many hospitals are buying expensive patient simulators without proper evaluation of the training method. In the Netherlands many hospitals have 1,000 or less annual deliveries. In our small country it might therefore be more cost-effective to train obstetric teams in medical simulation centres with well trained personnel, high fidelity patient simulators, and well defined training programmes.
The aim of the present study is to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of multidisciplinary team training in a medical simulation centre in the Netherlands to reduce the number of medical errors in obstetric emergency situations. We plan a multicentre randomised study with the centre as unit of analysis. Obstetric departments will be randomly assigned to receive multidisciplinary team training in a medical simulation centre or to a control arm without any team training.
The composite measure of poor perinatal and maternal outcome in the non training group was thought to be 15%, on the basis of data obtained from the National Dutch Perinatal Registry and the guidelines of the Dutch Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (NVOG). We anticipated that multidisciplinary team training would reduce this risk to 5%. A sample size of 24 centres with a cluster size of each at least 200 deliveries, each 12 centres per group, was needed for 80% power and a 5% type 1 error probability (two-sided). We assumed an Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) value of maximum 0.08.
The analysis will be performed according to the intention-to-treat principle and stratified for teaching or non-teaching hospitals.
Primary outcome is the number of obstetric complications throughout the first year period after the intervention. If multidisciplinary team training appears to be effective a cost-effective analysis will be performed.
If multidisciplinary team training appears to be cost-effective, this training should be implemented in extra training for gynaecologists.
The protocol is registered in the clinical trial register number NTR1859
The educational climate is crucial in postgraduate medical education. Although leaders are in the position to influence the educational climate, the relationship between leadership skills and educational climate is unknown. This study investigates the relationship between the educational climate in clinical departments and the leadership skills of clinical consultants responsible for education.
The study was a trans-sectional correlation study. The educational climate was investigated by a survey among all doctors (specialists and trainees) in the departments. Leadership skills of the consultants responsible for education were measured by multi-source feedback scores from heads of departments, peer consultants, and trainees.
Doctors from 42 clinical departments representing 21 specialties participated. The response rate of the educational climate investigation was moderate 52% (420/811), Response rate was high in the multisource-feedback process 84.3% (420/498). The educational climate was scored quite high mean 3.9 (SD 0.3) on a five-point Likert scale. Likewise the leadership skills of the clinical consultants responsible for education were considered good, mean 5.4 (SD 0.6) on a seven-point Likert scale. There was no significant correlation between the scores concerning the educational climate and the scores on leadership skills, r = 0.17 (p = 0.29).
This study found no relation between the educational climate and the leadership skills of the clinical consultants responsible for postgraduate medical education in clinical departments with the instruments used. Our results indicate that consultants responsible for education are in a weak position to influence the educational climate in the clinical department. Further studies are needed to explore, how heads of departments and other factors related to the clinical organisation could influence the educational climate.
Professionals working in the operating room (OR) are subject to various distractions that can be detrimental to their task performance and the quality of their work. This study aimed to quantify the frequency, nature, and effect on performance of (potentially) distracting events occurring during endourological procedures and additionally explored urologists’ and residents’ perspectives on experienced ill effects due to distracting factors.
First, observational data were collected prospectively during endourological procedures in one OR of a teaching hospital. A seven-point ordinal scale was used to measure the level of observed interference with the main task of the surgical team. Second, semistructured interviews were conducted with eight urologists and seven urology residents in two hospitals to obtain their perspectives on the impact of distracting factors.
Seventy-eight procedures were observed. A median of 20 distracting events occurred per procedure, which corresponds to an overall rate of one distracting event every 1.8 min. Equipment problems and procedure-related and medically irrelevant communication were the most frequently observed causes of interruptions and identified as the most distracting factors in the interviews. Occurrence of distracting factors in difficult situations requiring high levels of concentration was perceived by all interviewees as disturbing and negatively impacting performance. The majority of interviewees (13/15) thought distracting factors impacted more strongly on residents’ compared to urologists’ performance due to their different levels of experience.
Distracting events occur frequently in the OR. Equipment problems and communication, the latter both procedure-related and medically irrelevant, have the largest impact on the sterile team and regularly interrupt procedures. Distracting stimuli can influence performance negatively and should therefore be minimized. Further research is required to determine the direct effect of distraction on patient safety.
Distraction; Interruption; Endourology; Training
Studies have shown that medical students experience the transition between preclinical and clinical training as a stressful period. They are generally frustrated by their inability to apply their knowledge to solve clinical problems in practice. Preclinical patient contacts may offer a solution to this 'shock of practice.' We studied how students who have had preclinical patient contacts perceive the transition from preclinical to clinical training and, more specifically, how they value these early patient contacts as preparation for learning in clinical practice.
A purposive sample of 21 students participated in three focus groups which met twice during their first weeks of clinical clerkships. The interviews were recorded and transcribed literally. Qualitative content analysis of the transcriptions was performed.
According to the students, working in clinical practice was enjoyable, motivated them to study and helped them to develop non-analytical reasoning skills. The students experienced stress due to increased working hours and work load, uncertainty as to what was expected of them and self-perceived lack of knowledge. They did not experience a major gap between the preclinical and clinical phase and felt well prepared for the clerkships. The preclinical patient contacts were considered to be instrumental in this.
Early patient contacts seem to ameliorate the shock of practice and prepare students for clinical work. The problems mentioned by the students in this study are mainly related to the socialisation process. The results of this study have to be validated by quantitative research.
Preclerkship clinical-skills training has received increasing attention as a foundational preparation for clerkships. Expectations among medical students and faculty regarding the clinical skills and level of skill mastery needed for starting clerkships are unknown. Medical students, faculty teaching in the preclinical setting, and clinical clerkship faculty may have differing expectations of students entering clerkships. If students’ expectations differ from faculty expectations, students may experience anxiety. Alternately, congruent expectations among students and faculty may facilitate integrated and seamless student transitions to clerkships.
To assess the congruence of expectations among preclerkship faculty, clerkship faculty, and medical students for the clinical skills and appropriate level of clinical-skills preparation needed to begin clerkships.
Investigators surveyed preclinical faculty, clerkship faculty, and medical students early in their basic clerkships at a North American medical school that focuses on preclerkship clinical-skills development. Survey questions assessed expectations for the appropriate level of preparation in basic and advanced clinical skills for students entering clerkships.
Preclinical faculty and students had higher expectations than clerkship faculty for degree of preparation in most basic skills. Students had higher expectations than both faculty groups for advanced skills preparation.
Preclinical faculty, clerkship faculty, and medical students appear to have different expectations of clinical-skills training needed for clerkships. As American medical schools increasingly introduce clinical-skills training prior to clerkships, more attention to alignment, communication, and integration between preclinical and clerkship faculty will be important to establish common curricular agendas and increase integration of student learning. Clarification of skills expectations may also alleviate student anxiety about clerkships and enhance their learning.
preclinical medical education; clerkships; curriculum; clinical skills; bedside teaching
Leadership courses and multi-source feedback are widely used developmental tools for leaders in health care. On this background we aimed to study the additional effect of a leadership course following a multi-source feedback procedure compared to multi-source feedback alone especially regarding development of leadership skills over time.
Study participants were consultants responsible for postgraduate medical education at clinical departments. Study design: pre-post measures with an intervention and control group. The intervention was participation in a seven-day leadership course. Scores of multi-source feedback from the consultants responsible for education and respondents (heads of department, consultants and doctors in specialist training) were collected before and one year after the intervention and analysed using Mann-Whitney's U-test and Multivariate analysis of variances.
There were no differences in multi-source feedback scores at one year follow up compared to baseline measurements, either in the intervention or in the control group (p = 0.149).
The study indicates that a leadership course following a MSF procedure compared to MSF alone does not improve leadership skills of consultants responsible for education in clinical departments. Developing leadership skills takes time and the time frame of one year might have been too short to show improvement in leadership skills of consultants responsible for education. Further studies are needed to investigate if other combination of initiatives to develop leadership might have more impact in the clinical setting.
Many evaluation instruments have been developed to provide feedback to physicians on their clinical teaching but written feedback alone is not always effective. We explored whether feedback effectiveness improved when teachers’ self-assessment was added to written feedback based on student ratings. 37 physicians (10 residents, 27 attending physicians) from different specialties (Internal Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Pediatrics, Neurology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, ENT, and Psychiatry) were invited to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire on their teaching skills. Students completed an almost identical questionnaire to evaluate the same teachers based on their experiences during clerkships. After receiving written feedback incorporating their self-assessment and the student ratings, the teachers indicated their perceptions of the self-assessment exercise and the written feedback in a questionnaire (five-point Likert scale items) and next, in more detail, in semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 12 of the participating teachers. 25 physicians participated (67%). The results showed that self-assessment and student feedback were both perceived as useful (3.7, SD 1.0) but the latter was considered more effective. The physicians we interviewed considered the combination of self-assessment with student ratings more effective than either self-assessment or written feedback alone. Notably, discrepancies between student ratings and self-assessment were deemed a strong incentive for change. We conclude that self-assessment can be a useful tool to stimulate improvement of clinical teaching when it is combined with written feedback based on student ratings. Future research among larger groups is needed to confirm our findings and examine whether these combined tools actually lead to improved teaching.
Feedback; Self-assessment; Clinical teaching; Faculty development
Learning in clinical practice can be characterised as situated learning because students learn by performing tasks and solving problems in an environment that reflects the multiple ways in which their knowledge will be put to use in their future professional practice. Collins et al. introduced cognitive apprenticeship as an instructional model for situated learning comprising six teaching methods to support learning: modelling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection and exploration. Another factor that is looked upon as conducive to learning in clinical practice is a positive learning climate. We explored students’ experiences regarding the learning climate and whether the cognitive apprenticeship model fits students’ experiences during clinical training. In focus group interviews, three groups of 6th-year medical students (N = 21) discussed vignettes representing the six teaching methods and the learning climate to explore the perceived occurrence of the teaching methods, related problems and possibilities for improvement. The students had experienced all six teaching methods during their clerkships. Modelling, coaching, and articulation were predominant, while scaffolding, reflection, and exploration were mainly experienced during longer clerkships and with one clinical teacher. The main problem was variability in usage of the methods, which was attributed to teachers’ lack of time and formal training. The students proposed several ways to improve the application of the teaching methods. The results suggest that the cognitive apprenticeship model is a useful model for teaching strategies in undergraduate clinical training and a valuable basis for evaluation, feedback, self-assessment and faculty development of clinical teachers.
Cognitive apprenticeship; Teaching and learning in clinical practice; Focus group research
Female medical students often prefer primary care specialties, while male students appear to be attracted to hospital specialties. Notwithstanding the steady feminisation of medicine, in many countries there are still difficulties in recruiting trainees for general practice. This seeming paradox raises the question on what specific role gender plays in a specialty choice. The authors looked at the (a) the role of gender in general practice specialty choice of Dutch medical students, (b) the decisive factors in career choice and relation of gender to these, and (c) differences in how male and female students are influenced by the GP clerkship.
A cohort of 206 final year medical students at the Maastricht University, the Netherlands were asked to complete a questionnaire focusing on career preferences before and after a 12-week general practice clerkship and at graduation, a couple of months later.
Gender was significantly related to willingness to become a GP in bivariate analysis. Adding variables in multivariate analysis made this effect disappear. While females expressed overall higher preference for general practice than males, after the GP clerkship likelihood of choosing general practice increased with 38% among male and 22% among female students. After graduation, interest in general practice had dropped, mainly among females. Attitudes predicting a GP career choice were: extrinsic career motivation before the clerkship, and the content of GP work (patient contacts, treatments) and motivation to work with chronic and palliative patients after the clerkship.
Gender 'as such' appeared not to be a distinctive predictor of specialty choice. It is students' attitudes towards GP work and preferred patient category that determine the career choice in general practice. However, more male students were positively influenced by the GP clerkship than female students. The motivating effect of the clerkship is not long lasting. Especially female graduates change their interest in favour of other specialties, which may explain why eventually few students choose general practice. It might be worthwhile to reinforce an initial preference for general practice by motivational guidance throughout the whole period of clerkships.
An increasing number of newly trained Dutch GPs prefer to work in a group practice and as a non-principal rather than in a single-handed practice. In view of the greater number of female doctors, changing practice preferences, and discussions on future workforce problems, the question is whether male and female GPs were able to realise their initial preferences in the past and will be able to do so in the future.
We have conducted longitudinal cohort study of all GPs in the Netherlands seeking a practice between 1980 and 2004. The Netherlands Institute of Health Services Research (NIVEL) in Utrecht collected the data used in this study by means of a postal questionnaire. The overall mean response rate was 94%.
Over the past 20 years, an increasing proportion of GPs, both male and female, were able to achieve their preference for working in a group practice and/or in a non-principal position. Relatively more women than men have settled in group practices, and more men than women in single-handed practices; however, the practice preference of men and women is beginning to converge. Dropout was highest among the GPs without any specific practice preference.
The overwhelming preference of male and female GPs for working in group practices is apparently being met by the number of positions (principal or non-principal) available in group practices. The preference of male and female GPs regarding the type of practice and job conditions is expected to converge further in the near future.