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1.  Effectiveness of evidence-based medicine training for undergraduate students at a Chinese Military Medical University: a self-controlled trial 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:133.
To evaluate the effect of the integration of evidence-based medicine (EBM) into medical curriculum by measuring undergraduate medical students’ EBM knowledge, attitudes, personal application, and anticipated future use.
A self-controlled trial was conducted with 251 undergraduate students at a Chinese Military Medical University, using a validated questionnaire regarding the students’ evidence-based practice (EBP) about knowledge (EBP-K), attitude (EBP-A), personal application (EBP-P), and future anticipated use (EBP-F). The educational intervention was a 20-hour EBM course formally included in the university’s medical curriculum, combining lectures with small group discussion and student-teacher exchange sessions. Data were analyzed using paired t-tests to test the significance of the difference between a before and after comparison.
The difference between the pre- and post-training scores were statistically significant for EBP-K, EBP-A, EBP-P, and EBP-F. The scores for EBP-P showed the most pronounced percentage change after EBM training (48.97 ± 8.6%), followed by EBP-A (20.83 ± 2.1%), EBP-K (19.21 ± 3.2%), and EBP-F (17.82 ± 5.7%). Stratified analyses by gender, and program subtypes did not result in any significant changes to the results.
The integration of EBM into the medical curriculum improved undergraduate medical students’ EBM knowledge, attitudes, personal application, and anticipated future use. A well-designed EBM training course and objective outcome measurements are necessary to ensure the optimum learning opportunity for students.
PMCID: PMC4091652  PMID: 24996537
Evidence-based medicine; Education; Medical; Evaluation
2.  Evaluating a grading change at UCSD school of medicine: pass/fail grading is associated with decreased performance on preclinical exams but unchanged performance on USMLE step 1 scores 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:127.
To assess the impact of a change in preclerkship grading system from Honors/Pass/Fail (H/P/F) to Pass/Fail (P/F) on University of California, San Diego (UCSD) medical students’ academic performance.
Academic performance of students in the classes of 2011 and 2012 (constant-grading classes) were collected and compared with performance of students in the class of 2013 (grading-change class) because the grading policy at UCSD SOM was changed for the class of 2013, from H/P/F during the first year (MS1) to P/F during the second year (MS2). For all students, data consisted of test scores from required preclinical courses from MS1 and MS2 years, and USMLE Step 1 scores. Linear regression analysis controlled for other factors that could be predictive of student performance (i.e., MCAT scores, undergraduate GPA, age, gender, etc.) in order to isolate the effect of the changed grading policy on academic performance. The change in grading policy in the MS2 year only, without any corresponding changes to the medical curriculum, presents a unique natural experiment with which to cleanly evaluate the effect of P/F grading on performance outcomes.
After controlling for other factors, the grading policy change to P/F grading in the MS2 year had a negative impact on second-year grades relative to first-year grades (the constant-grading classes performed 1.65% points lower during their MS2 year compared to the MS1 year versus 3.25% points lower for the grading-change class, p < 0.0001), but had no observable impact on USMLE Step 1 scores.
A change in grading from H/P/F grading to P/F grading was associated with decreased performance on preclinical examinations but no decrease in performance on the USMLE Step 1 examination. These results are discussed in the broader context of the multitude of factors that should be considered in assessing the merits of various grading systems, and ultimately the authors recommend the continuation of pass-fail grading at UCSD School of Medicine.
PMCID: PMC4083104  PMID: 24980918
Medical education; Pass-fail grading; Honors-pass-fail grading; Educational measurement
3.  Promoting physical therapists’ use of research evidence to inform clinical practice: part 2 - a mixed methods evaluation of the PEAK program 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:126.
Clinicians need innovative educational programs to enhance their capacity for using research evidence to inform clinical decision-making. This paper and its companion paper introduce the Physical therapist-driven Education for Actionable Knowledge translation (PEAK) program, an educational program designed to promote physical therapists’ integration of research evidence into clinical decision-making. This, second of two, papers reports a mixed methods feasibility study of the PEAK program among physical therapists at three university-based clinical facilities.
A convenience sample of 18 physical therapists participated in the six-month educational program. Mixed methods were used to triangulate results from pre-post quantitative data analyzed concurrently with qualitative data from semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Feasibility of the program was assessed by evaluating change in participants’ attitudes, self-efficacy, knowledge, skills, and self-reported behaviors in addition to their perceptions and reaction to the program.
All 18 therapists completed the program. The group experienced statistically significant improvements in evidence based practice self-efficacy and self-reported behavior (p < 0.001). Four themes were supported by integrated quantitative and qualitative results: 1. The collaborative nature of the PEAK program was engaging and motivating; 2. PEAK participants experienced improved self-efficacy, creating a positive cycle where success reinforces engagement with research evidence; 3. Participants’ need to understand how to interpret statistics was not fully met; 4. Participants believed that the utilization of research evidence in their clinical practice would lead to better patient outcomes.
The PEAK program is a feasible educational program for promoting physical therapists’ use of research evidence in practice. A key ingredient seems to be guided small group work leading to a final product that guides local practice. Further investigation is recommended to assess long-term behavior change and to compare outcomes to alternative educational models.
PMCID: PMC4080990  PMID: 24965574
Knowledge translation; Evidence based practice; Education; Post-graduate training; Physical therapy; Mixed methods
4.  Promoting physical therapists’ of research evidence to inform clinical practice: part 1 - theoretical foundation, evidence, and description of the PEAK program 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:125.
There is a need for theoretically grounded and evidence-based interventions that enhance the use of research evidence in physical therapist practice. This paper and its companion paper introduce the Physical therapist-driven Education for Actionable Knowledge translation (PEAK) program, an educational program designed to promote physical therapists’ integration of research evidence into clinical decision-making. The pedagogical foundations for the PEAK educational program include Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory and Malcolm Knowles’s adult learning theory. Additionally, two complementary frameworks of knowledge translation, the Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARiHS) and Knowledge to Action (KTA) Cycle, were used to inform the organizational elements of the program. Finally, the program design was influenced by evidence from previous attempts to facilitate the use of research in practice at the individual and organizational levels.
The 6-month PEAK program consisted of four consecutive and interdependent components. First, leadership support was secured and electronic resources were acquired and distributed to participants. Next, a two-day training workshop consisting of didactic and small group activities was conducted that addressed the five steps of evidence based practice. For five months following the workshop, participants worked in small groups to review and synthesize literature around a group-selected area of common clinical interest. Each group contributed to the generation of a “Best Practices List” - a list of locally generated, evidence-based, actionable behaviors relevant to the groups’ clinical practice. Ultimately, participants agreed to implement the Best Practices List in their clinical practice.
This, first of two companion papers, describes the underlying pedagogical theories, knowledge translation frameworks, and research evidence used to derive the PEAK program – an educational program designed to promote the use of research evidence to inform physical therapist practice. The four components of the program are described in detail. The companion paper reports the results of a mixed methods feasibility analysis of this complex educational intervention.
PMCID: PMC4085660  PMID: 24965501
Evidence based practice; Knowledge translation; Education; Post-graduate training; Physical therapy
5.  How was the intern year?: self and clinical assessment of four cohorts, from two medical curricula 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:123.
Problem-based curricula have provoked controversy amongst educators and students regarding outcome in medical graduates, supporting the need for longitudinal evaluation of curriculum change. As part of a longitudinal evaluation program at the University of Adelaide, a mixed method approach was used to compare the graduate outcomes of two curriculum cohorts: traditional lecture-based ‘old’ and problem-based ‘new’ learning.
Graduates were asked to self-assess preparedness for hospital practice and consent to a comparative analysis of their work-place based assessments from their intern year. Comparative data were extracted from 692 work-place based assessments for 124 doctors who graduated from the University of Adelaide Medical School between 2003 and 2006.
Self-assessment: Overall, graduates of the lecture-based curriculum rated the medical program significantly higher than graduates of the problem-based curriculum. However, there was no significant difference between the two curriculum cohorts with respect to their preparedness in 13 clinical skills. There were however, two areas where the cohorts rated their preparedness in the 13 broad practitioner competencies as significantly different: problem-based graduates rated themselves as better prepared in their ‘awareness of legal and ethical issues’ and the lecture-based graduates rated themselves better prepared in their ‘understanding of disease processes’.
Work-place based assessment: There were no significant differences between the two curriculum cohorts for ‘Appropriate Level of Competence’ and ‘Overall Appraisal’. Of the 14 work-place based assessment skills assessed for competence, no significant difference was found between the cohorts.
The differences in the perceived preparedness for hospital practice of two curriculum cohorts do not reflect the work-place based assessments of their competence as interns. No significant difference was found between the two cohorts in relation to their knowledge and clinical skills. However results suggest a trend in ‘communication with peers and colleagues in other disciplines’ (χ2 (3, N = 596) =13.10, p = 0.056) that requires further exploration. In addition we have learned that student confidence in a new curriculum may impact on their self-perception of preparedness, while not affecting their actual competence.
PMCID: PMC4081487  PMID: 24961171
Evaluation/assessment; Clinical performance; Curriculum development/evaluation; Problem-based; Intern/house officer training; Competence
6.  Determinants of physician empathy during medical education: hypothetical conclusions from an exploratory qualitative survey of practicing physicians 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:122.
Empathy is an outcome-relevant physician characteristic and thus a crucial component of high-quality communication in health care. However, the factors that promote and inhibit the development of empathy during medical education have not been extensively researched. Also, currently there is no explicit research on the perspective of practicing physicians on the subject. Therefore the aim of our study was to explore physicians’ views of the positive and negative influences on the development of empathy during their medical education, as well as in their everyday work as physicians.
We administered a written Qualitative Short Survey to 63 physicians in seven specialties. They were able to respond anonymously. Our open-ended question was: “What educational content in the course of your studies and/or your specialist training had a positive or negative effect on your empathy?” We analyzed the data using thematic content analysis following Mayring’s approach.
Forty-two physicians took part in our survey. All together, they mentioned 68 specific factors (37 positive, 29 negative, 2 neutral) from which six themes emerged: 1. In general, medical education does not promote the development of empathy. 2. Recognizing the psycho-social dimensions of care fosters empathy. 3. Interactions with patients in medical practice promote empathy. 4. Physicians’ active self-development through reflective practice helps the development of empathy. 5. Interactions with colleagues can both promote and inhibit empathy through their role modeling of empathic and non-empathic behavior. 6. Stress, time pressure, and adverse working conditions are detrimental to empathy development.
Our results provide an overview of what might influence the development of clinical empathy, as well as hypothetical conclusions about how to promote it. Reflective practice seems to be lacking in current medical curricula and could be incorporated. Raising physicians’ awareness of the psycho-social dimension of disease, and of the impact of peer influence and role modeling, seems promising in this regard, too. Stress and well-being seem to be closely related to physician empathy, and their modulation must take into account individual, social, and organizational factors. Further research should investigate whether or how these hypothetical conclusions can deepen our understanding of the determinants of physician empathy in order to help its promotion.
PMCID: PMC4080581  PMID: 24952736
Empathy; Medical education; Physician; Physician-patient relationship; Health communication; Promoting factors; Inhibiting factors
7.  Building reproductive health research and audit capacity and activity in the pacific islands (BRRACAP) study: methods, rationale and baseline results 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:121.
Clinical research and audit in reproductive health is essential to improve reproductive health outcomes and to address the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. Research training, mentoring and a supportive participatory research environment have been shown to increase research activity and capacity in low to middle income countries (LMIC). This paper details the methods, rationale and baseline findings of a research program aimed at increasing clinical research activity and audit in the six Pacific Islands of Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and the Solomon Islands.
Twenty-eight clinician participants were selected by the five Ministries of Health and the Fiji National University to undergo a research capacity building program which includes a research workshop and mentoring support to perform research and audit as teams in their country. Data on the participants’ characteristics, knowledge and experiences were collected from structured interviews, questionnaires, focus groups, and an online survey. The interviews and the two focus groups were audio-recorded and all replies were analysed in a thematic framework.
The 28 participants included 9 nurses/midwives, 17 medical doctors of whom 8 were specialists in reproductive health and 2 other health workers. Most (24, 86%) were required to perform research as part of their employment and yet 17 (61%) were not confident in writing a research proposal, 13 (46%) could not use an electronic spreadsheet and the same number had not analysed quantitative data. The limited environmental enablers contributed to poor capacity with only 11 (46%) having access to a library, 10 (42%) receiving management support and 6 (25%) having access to an experienced researcher. Barriers to research that affected more than 70% of the participants were time constraints, poor coordination, no funding and a lack of skills.
Building a research capacity program appropriate for the diversity of Pacific clinicians required research evidence and collaborative effort of key stakeholders in the Pacific Islands and the region. The participants had limited research knowledge, skills and experience and would require individualized training and continuous intensive mentorship to realize their potential as clinician researchers for their services in the Pacific.
PMCID: PMC4069343  PMID: 24947243
Pacific countries; Clinician researchers; Research capacity building; Research skills; Barriers and enablers of research
8.  Inertial sensor real-time feedback enhances the learning of cervical spine manipulation: a prospective study 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:120.
Cervical Spinal Manipulation (CSM) is considered a high-level skill of the central nervous system because it requires bimanual coordinated rhythmical movements therefore necessitating training to achieve proficiency. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of real-time feedback on the performance of CSM.
Six postgraduate physiotherapy students attending a training workshop on Cervical Spine Manipulation Technique (CSMT) using inertial sensor derived real-time feedback participated in this study. The key variables were pre-manipulative position, angular displacement of the thrust and angular velocity of the thrust. Differences between variables before and after training were investigated using t-tests.
There were no significant differences after training for the pre-manipulative position (rotation p = 0.549; side bending p = 0.312) or for thrust displacement (rotation p = 0.247; side bending p = 0.314). Thrust angular velocity demonstrated a significant difference following training for rotation (pre-training mean (sd) 48.9°/s (35.1); post-training mean (sd) 96.9°/s (53.9); p = 0.027) but not for side bending (p = 0.521).
Real-time feedback using an inertial sensor may be valuable in the development of specific manipulative skill. Future studies investigating manipulation could consider a randomized controlled trial using inertial sensor real time feedback compared to traditional training.
PMCID: PMC4075507  PMID: 24942483
Medical education; Manipulation; Cervical; Kinematics; Inertial sensor
9.  The impact of training and working conditions on junior doctors’ intention to leave clinical practice 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:119.
The shortage of physicians is an evolving problem throughout the world. In this study we aimed to identify to what extent junior doctors’ training and working conditions determine their intention to leave clinical practice after residency training.
A prospective cohort study was conducted in 557 junior doctors undergoing residency training in German hospitals. Self-reported specialty training conditions, working conditions and intention to leave clinical practice were measured over three time points. Scales covering training conditions were assessed by structured residency training, professional support, and dealing with lack of knowledge; working conditions were evaluated by work overload, job autonomy and social support, based on the Demand–Control–Support model. Multivariate ordinal logistic regression analyses with random intercept for longitudinal data were applied to determine the odds ratio of having a higher level of intention to leave clinical practice.
In the models that considered training and working conditions separately to predict intention to leave clinical practice we found significant baseline effects and change effects. After modelling training and working conditions simultaneously, we found evidence that the change effect of job autonomy (OR 0.77, p = .005) was associated with intention to leave clinical practice, whereas for the training conditions, only the baseline effects of structured residency training (OR 0.74, p = .017) and dealing with lack of knowledge (OR 0.74, p = .026) predicted intention to leave clinical practice.
Junior doctors undergoing specialty training experience high workload in hospital practice and intense requirements in terms of specialty training. Our study indicates that simultaneously improving working conditions over time and establishing a high standard of specialty training conditions may prevent junior doctors from considering leaving clinical practice after residency training.
PMCID: PMC4068906  PMID: 24942360
Intention to leave clinical practice; Postgraduate residency training; Training conditions; Working conditions
10.  Study protocol for improving asthma outcomes through cross-cultural communication training for physicians: a randomized trial of physician training 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:118.
Massive resources are expended every year on cross-cultural communication training for physicians. Such training is a focus of continuing medical education nationwide and is part of the curriculum of virtually every medical school in America. There is a pressing need for evidence regarding the effects on patients of cross-cultural communication training for physicians. There is a need to understand the added benefit of such training compared to more general communication. We know of no rigorous study that has assessed whether cross-cultural communication training for physicians results in better health outcomes for their patients. The current study aims to answer this question by enhancing the Physician Asthma Care Education (PACE) program to cross cultural communication (PACE Plus), and comparing the effect of the enhanced program to PACE on the health outcomes of African American and Latino/Hispanic children with asthma.
A three-arm randomized control trial is used to compare PACE Plus, PACE, and usual care. Both PACE and PACE Plus are delivered in two, two-hour sessions over a period of two weeks to 5–10 primary care physicians who treat African American and Latino/Hispanic children with asthma. One hundred twelve physicians and 1060 of their pediatric patients were recruited who self-identify as African American or Latino/Hispanic and experience persistent asthma. Physicians were randomized into receiving either the PACE Plus or PACE intervention or into the control group. The comparative effectiveness of PACE and PACE Plus on clinician’s therapeutic and communication practices with the family/patient, children’s urgent care use for asthma, asthma control, and quality of life, and parent/caretaker satisfaction with physician performance will be assessed. Data are collected via telephone survey and medical record review at baseline, 9 months following the intervention, and 21 months following the intervention.
This study aims to reduce disparities in asthma outcomes among African American and Latino/Hispanic children through cross-cultural communication training of their physicians and assessing the added value of this training compared to general communication. The results of this study will provide important information about the value of cross-cultural training in helping to address persistent racial disparities in outcomes.
Trial registration NCT01251523 December 1, 2010
PMCID: PMC4070340  PMID: 24935221
Asthma; Randomized controlled trials; Physicians; Communication; Health disparities
11.  Why peer assessment helps to improve clinical performance in undergraduate physical therapy education: a mixed methods design 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:117.
Peer Assessment (PA) in health professions education encourages students to develop a critical attitude towards their own and their peers’ performance. We designed a PA task to assess students’ clinical skills (including reasoning, communication, physical examination and treatment skills) in a role-play that simulated physical therapy (PT) practice. Students alternately performed in the role of PT, assessor, and patient. Oral face-to-face feedback was provided as well as written feedback and scores.
This study aims to explore the impact of PA on the improvement of clinical performance of undergraduate PT students.
The PA task was analyzed and decomposed into task elements. A qualitative approach was used to explore students’ perceptions of the task and the task elements. Semi-structured interviews with second year students were conducted to explore the perceived impact of these task elements on performance improvement. Students were asked to select the elements perceived valuable, to rank them from highest to lowest learning value, and to motivate their choices. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed, using a phenomenographical approach and following template analysis guidelines. A quantitative approach was used to describe the ranking results.
Quantitative analyses showed that the perceived impact on learning varied widely. Performing the clinical task in the PT role, was assigned to the first place (1), followed by receiving expert feedback (2), and observing peer performance (3). Receiving peer feedback was not perceived the most powerful task element.
Qualitative analyses resulted in three emerging themes: pre-performance, true-performance, and post-performance triggers for improvement. Each theme contained three categories: learning activities, outcomes, and conditions for learning.
Intended learning activities were reported, such as transferring prior learning to a new application context and unintended learning activities, such as modelling a peer’s performance. Outcomes related to increased self-confidence, insight in performance standards and awareness of improvement areas. Conditions for learning referred to the quality of peer feedback.
PA may be a powerful tool to improve clinical performance, although peer feedback is not perceived the most powerful element. Peer assessors in undergraduate PT education use idiosyncratic strategies to assess their peers’ performance.
PMCID: PMC4064265  PMID: 24928420
Peer assessment; Peer feedback; Self-assessment; Clinical performance
12.  Predictive power of UKCAT and other pre-admission measures for performance in a medical school in Glasgow: a cohort study 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:116.
The UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) and its four subtests are currently used by 24 Medical and Dental Schools in the UK for admissions. This longitudinal study examines the predictive validity of UKCAT for final performance in the undergraduate medical degree programme at one Medical School and compares this with the predictive validity of the selection measures available pre-UKCAT.
This was a retrospective observational study of one cohort of students, admitted to Glasgow Medical School in 2007. We examined the associations which UKCAT scores, school science grades and pre-admissions interview scores had with performance indicators, particularly final composite scores that determine students’ postgraduate training opportunities and overall ranking (Educational Performance Measure - EPM, and Honours and Commendation – H&C). Analyses were conducted both with and without adjustment for potential socio-demographic confounders (gender, age, ethnicity and area deprivation).
Despite its predictive value declining as students progress through the course, UKCAT was associated with the final composite scores. In mutually adjusted analyses (also adjusted for socio-demographic confounders), only UKCAT total showed independent relationships with both EPM (p = 0.005) and H&C (p = 0.004), school science achievements predicted EPM (p = 0.009), and pre-admissions interview score predicted neither. UKCAT showed less socio-demographic variation than did TSS.
UKCAT has a modest predictive power for overall course performance at the University of Glasgow Medical School over and above that of school science achievements or pre-admission interview score and we conclude that UKCAT is the most useful predictor of final ranking.
PMCID: PMC4063234  PMID: 24919950
UKCAT; Predictive validity; Widening participation; Socio-economic indicators; Admissions interview; School HE participation rate
13.  Development and validation of the ACE tool: assessing medical trainees’ competency in evidence based medicine 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:114.
While a variety of instruments have been developed to assess knowledge and skills in evidence based medicine (EBM), few assess all aspects of EBM - including knowledge, skills attitudes and behaviour - or have been psychometrically evaluated. The aim of this study was to develop and validate an instrument that evaluates medical trainees’ competency in EBM across knowledge, skills and attitude.
The ‘Assessing Competency in EBM’ (ACE) tool was developed by the authors, with content and face validity assessed by expert opinion. A cross-sectional sample of 342 medical trainees representing ‘novice’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘advanced’ EBM trainees were recruited to complete the ACE tool. Construct validity, item difficulty, internal reliability and item discrimination were analysed.
We recruited 98 EBM-novice, 108 EBM-intermediate and 136 EBM-advanced participants. A statistically significant difference in the total ACE score was observed and corresponded to the level of training: on a 0-15-point test, the mean ACE scores were 8.6 for EBM-novice; 9.5 for EBM-intermediate; and 10.4 for EBM-advanced (p < 0.0001). Individual item discrimination was excellent (Item Discrimination Index ranging from 0.37 to 0.84), with internal reliability consistent across all but three items (Item Total Correlations were all positive ranging from 0.14 to 0.20).
The 15-item ACE tool is a reliable and valid instrument to assess medical trainees’ competency in EBM. The ACE tool provides a novel assessment that measures user performance across the four main steps of EBM. To provide a complete suite of instruments to assess EBM competency across various patient scenarios, future refinement of the ACE instrument should include further scenarios across harm, diagnosis and prognosis.
PMCID: PMC4062508  PMID: 24909434
Evidence based medicine; Assessment; Medical students
14.  Knowledge assessment regarding secondary prevention of coronary heart disease- a multi centre survey 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:113.
Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is a major cause of mortality worldwide. Control and reduction of cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, excess of body weight, smoking and lack of exercise can contribute to a reduction of CVD mortality.
A standardized questionnaire was administered to all medical officers willing to participate in the study, who were working in the Cardiology Units all over Sri Lanka to assess the source of continuous medical education, attitudes on secondary prevention, barriers to secondary prevention and knowledge assessment of secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Chi square was used to compare groups and p < 0.05 was considered significant.
132 participants with equal numbers of males and female doctors participated. While 56 doctors have had no training in cardiology, 75 doctors have had some training in a cardiology unit. The barriers for secondary prevention were, poor knowledge/understanding of patients 3.82 (1.06), too many drugs 3.74 (0.98), presence of co-morbid conditions 3.68(0.97), cost of medications 3.69 (0.97) and poor adherence to prevention strategies by patients 3.44 (1.15). Routine clinic visits 85 (65%) and public awareness day seminars 30 (22.2%) were the most effective methods of secondary prevention. Guidelines were the most popular method of continuous medical education. Those who have had some training in cardiology did not differ in their knowledge from those who have never had training in cardiology. Knowledge about prevention with regard to diet was inadequate and exercise and lipids were adequate but not good. Rates of knowledge on smoking cessation were much higher than for other CVD risk factors.
There needs to be more adherences to clinical guidelines and attention paid to CVD prevention, in particular, the importance of dietary modifications, adequate exercise, and lipid control.
PMCID: PMC4057928  PMID: 24903262
Cardiovascular disease prevention; Coronary heart disease; Secondary prevention; Sri Lanka; Continuous medical education
15.  Developments in spiritual care education in German - speaking countries 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:112.
This article examines spiritual care training provided to healthcare professionals in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The paper reveals the current extent of available training while defining the target group(s) and teaching aims. In addition to those, we will provide an analysis of delivered competencies, applied teaching and performance assessment methods.
In 2013, an anonymous online survey was conducted among the members of the International Society for Health and Spiritual Care. The survey consisted of 10 questions and an open field for best practice advice. SPSS21 was used for statistical data analysis and the MAXQDA2007 for thematic content analysis.
33 participants participated in the survey. The main providers of spiritual care training are hospitals (36%, n = 18). 57% (n = 17) of spiritual care training forms part of palliative care education. 43% (n = 13) of spiritual care education is primarily bound to the Christian tradition. 36% (n = 11) of provided trainings have no direct association with any religious conviction. 64% (n = 19) of respondents admitted that they do not use any specific definition for spiritual care. 22% (n = 14) of available spiritual care education leads to some academic degree. 30% (n = 19) of training form part of an education programme leading to a formal qualification. Content analysis revealed that spiritual training for medical students, physicians in paediatrics, and chaplains take place only in the context of palliative care education. Courses provided for multidisciplinary team education may be part of palliative care training. Other themes, such as deep listening, compassionate presence, bedside spirituality or biographical work on the basis of logo-therapy, are discussed within the framework of spiritual care.
Spiritual care is often approached as an integral part of grief management, communication/interaction training, palliative care, (medical) ethics, psychological or religious counselling or cultural competencies. Respondents point out the importance of competency based spiritual care education, practical training and maintaining the link between spiritual care education and clinical practice. Further elaboration on the specifics of spiritual care core competencies, teaching and performance assessment methods is needed.
PMCID: PMC4057597  PMID: 24898431
16.  Survey and analysis of the current state of residency training in medical-school-affiliated hospitals in China 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:111.
Since the global standards for postgraduate medical education (PGME) were published in January 2003, they have gained worldwide attention. The current state of residency training programs in medical-school-affiliated hospitals throughout China was assessed in this study.
Based on the internationally recognized global standards for PGME, residents undergoing residency training at that time and the relevant residency training instructors and management personnel from 15 medical-school-affiliated hospitals throughout China were recruited and surveyed regarding the current state of residency training programs. A total of 938 questionnaire surveys were distributed between June 30, 2006 and July 30, 2006; of 892 surveys collected, 841 were valid.
For six items, the total proportions of “basically meets standards” and “completely meets standards” were <70% for the basic standards. These items were identified in the fields of “training settings and educational resources”, “evaluation of training process”, and “trainees”. In all fields other than “continuous updates”, the average scores of the western regions were significantly lower than those of the eastern regions for both the basic and target standards. Specifically, the average scores for the basic standards on as many as 25 of the 38 items in the nine fields were significantly lower in the western regions. There were significant differences in the basic standards scores on 13 of the 38 items among trainees, instructors, and managers.
The residency training programs have achieved satisfactory outcomes in the hospitals affiliated with various medical schools in China. However, overall, the programs remain inadequate in certain areas. For the governments, organizations, and institutions responsible for PGME, such global standards for PGME are a very useful self-assessment tool and can help identify problems, promote reform, and ultimately standardize PGME.
PMCID: PMC4059472  PMID: 24885865
Residency training; Global standards for postgraduate medical education; Medical-school-affiliated hospitals; China
17.  Becoming a medical educator: motivation, socialisation and navigation 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:110.
Despite an increasing concern about a future shortage of medical educators, little published research exists on career choices in medical education nor the impact of specific training posts in medical education (e.g. academic registrar/resident positions). Medical educators at all levels, from both medical and non-medical backgrounds, are crucial for the training of medical students, junior doctors and in continuing professional development. We explored the motivations and experiences of junior doctors considering an education career and undertaking a medical education registrar (MER) post.
Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with junior doctors and clinicians across Queensland Health. Framework analysis was used to identify themes in the data, based on our defined research questions and the medical education workforce issues prompting the study. We applied socio-cognitive career theory to guide our analysis and to explore the experience of junior doctors in medical education registrar posts as they enter, navigate and fulfil the role.
We identified six key themes in the data: motivation for career choice and wanting to provide better education; personal goals, expectations and the need for self-direction; the influence of role models; defining one’s identity; support networks and the need for research as a potential barrier to pursuing a career in/with education. We also identified the similarities and differences between the MERs’ experiences to develop a composite of an MER’s journey through career choice, experience in role and outcomes.
There is growing interest from junior doctors in pursuing education pathways in a clinical environment. They want to enhance clinical teaching in the hospitals and become specialists with an interest in education, and have no particular interest in research or academia. This has implications for the recruitment and training of the next generation of clinical educators.
PMCID: PMC4047547  PMID: 24885740
18.  Nutrition education and leadership for improved clinical outcomes: training and supporting junior doctors to run ‘Nutrition Awareness Weeks’ in three NHS hospitals across England 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:109.
One in four adults are estimated to be at medium to high risk of malnutrition when screened using the ‘Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool’ upon admission to hospital in the United Kingdom. The Need for Nutrition Education/Education Programme (NNEdPro) Group was developed to address this issue and the Nutrition Education and Leadership for Improved Clinical Outcomes (NELICO) is a project within this group.
The objective of NELICO was to assess whether an intensive training intervention combining clinical and public health nutrition, organisational management and leadership strategies, could equip junior doctors to contribute to improvement in nutrition awareness among healthcare professionals in the National Health Service in England.
Three junior doctors were self-selected from the NNEdPro Group original training. Each junior doctor recruited three additional team members to attend an intensive training weekend incorporating nutrition, change management and leadership. This equipped them to run nutrition awareness weeks in their respective hospitals. Knowledge, attitudes and practices were evaluated at baseline as well as one and four months post-training as a quality assurance measure. The number and type of educational events held, pre-awareness week Online Hospital Survey results, attendance and qualitative feedback from training sessions, effectiveness of dissemination methods such as awareness stalls, Hospital Nutrition Attitude Survey results and overall feedback were also used to determine impact.
When the weighted average score for knowledge, attitudes and practices at baseline was compared with four months post-intervention scores, there was a significant increase in the overall score (p = 0.03). All three hospital teams conducted an effective nutrition awareness week, as determined by qualitative data collected from interviews and feedback from educational sessions.
The NELICO project and its resulting nutrition awareness weeks were considered innovative in terms of concept and content. It was considered useful, both for the junior doctors who showed improvement in their nutrition knowledge and reported enthusiasm and for the hospital setting, increasing awareness of clinical and public health nutrition among healthcare professionals. The NELICO project is one innovative method to promote nutrition awareness in tomorrow’s doctors and shows they have the enthusiasm and drive to be nutrition champions.
PMCID: PMC4059452  PMID: 24885676
Nutrition; Education; Medical; Doctors
19.  The validity and reliability of the self-directed learning instrument (SDLI) in mainland Chinese nursing students 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:108.
Self-directed learning is crucial to the professional development of nursing students, and which enables them to expand the knowledge and enhance the quality of their practice. A validated self-directed learning instrument is important not only in assessing the individual’s self-directed learning level, but also in evaluating the effectiveness of teaching or learning methods. The aim of this study is to evaluate the validity and reliability of the SDLI in mainland Chinese nursing students.
A cross-sectional design with convenience sampling was used to recruit participants from three nursing schools. The mainland Chinese version of SDLI was tested with respect to validity and reliability in 1,499 nursing students, and another 30 nursing students were invited to evaluate the test-retest reliability of the scale in 7 days interval.
Explorary factor analysis identified a four-factor structure, accounting for 56.101% of the total variance. The confirmatory factor analysis showed a good overall fit of this four-factor model. Convergent validity was supported by the highly positive Pearson’s correlation between SDLI score and SRSSDL score (r = .876, p = .000). Cronbach’s alpha for internal consistency of overall scale was .916, and 4 dimensions were between .755-.825.The test-retest reliability of overall scale was .850, and 4 dimensions were between .708-.821. The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of overall scale was .916, and 4 dimensions were .822-.889.
This study indicates that the SDLI is a valid and reliable instrument for assessing self-directed learning in mainland Chinese nursing students. Nurse educators could use such knowledge to develop their roles and plan to support nursing students in becoming self-directed learners and lifelong learner.
PMCID: PMC4087248  PMID: 24885557
Self-directed learning; Nursing students; Scale; Validity; Reliability
20.  A pilot study of a practice management training module for medical residents 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:107.
In 2005 a competency based curriculum was introduced in the Dutch postgraduate medical training programs. While the manager’s role is one of the seven key competencies, there is still no formal management course in most postgraduate curricula. Based on a needs assessment we conducted, several themes were identified as important for a possible management training program. We present the results of the pilot training we performed to investigate two of these themes.
The topics “knowledge of the healthcare system” and “time management” were developed from the list of suggested management training themes. Fourteen residents participated in the training and twenty-four residents served as control. The training consisted of two sessions of four hours with a homework assignment in between. 50 True/false-questions were given as pre- and post-test to both the test and control groups to assess the level of acquired knowledge among the test group as well as the impact of the intervention. We also performed a qualitative evaluation using evaluation forms and in-depth interviews.
All fourteen residents completed the training. Six residents in the control group were lost to follow up. The pre- and post-test showed improvement among the participating residents in comparison to the residents from the control group, but this improvement was not significant. The qualitative assessment showed that all residents evaluated the training positively and experienced it as a useful addition to their training in becoming a medical specialist.
Our training was evaluated positively and considered to be valuable. This study supports the need for mandatory medical management training as part of the postgraduate medical curriculum. Our training could be an example of how to teach two important themes in the broad area of medical management education.
PMCID: PMC4038828  PMID: 24885442
Medical residents; Management training; Competency; Postgraduate curriculum
21.  Senior physiotherapy students as standardised patients for junior students enhances self-efficacy and satisfaction in both junior and senior students 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:105.
Standardised patients are used in medical education to expose students to clinical contexts and facilitate transition to clinical practice, and this approach is gaining momentum in physiotherapy programs. Expense and availability of trained standardised patients are factors limiting widespread adoption, and accessing clinical visits with real patients can be challenging. This study addressed these issues by engaging senior students as standardised patients for junior students. It evaluated how this approach impacted self-reported constructs of both the junior and senior students.
Learning activities for undergraduate physiotherapy students were developed in five courses (Neurology, Cardiorespiratory and three Musculoskeletal courses) so that junior students (Year 2 and 3) could develop skills and confidence in patient interview, physical examination and patient management through their interaction with standardised patients played by senior students (Year 4). Surveys were administered before and after the interactions to record junior students’ self-reported confidence, communication, preparedness for clinic, and insight into their abilities; and senior students’ confidence and insight into what it is like to be a patient. Satisfaction regarding this learning approach was surveyed in both the junior and senior students.
A total of 253 students completed the surveys (mean 92.5% response rate). Across all courses, junior students reported a significant (all P < 0.037) improvement following the standardised patient interaction in their: preparedness for clinic, communication with clients, confidence with practical skills, and understanding of their strengths and weaknesses in relation to the learning activities. Senior students demonstrated a significant improvement in their confidence in providing feedback and insight into their own learning (P < 0.001). All students reported high satisfaction with this learning experience (mean score 8.5/10).
This new approach to peer-assisted learning using senior students as standardised patients resulted in positive experiences for both junior and senior students across a variety of physiotherapy areas, activities, and stages within a physiotherapy program. These findings support the engagement of senior students as standardised patients to enhance learning within physiotherapy programs, and may have application across other disciplines to address challenges associated with accessing real patients via clinical visits or utilising actors as standardised patients.
PMCID: PMC4035716  PMID: 24885224
Standardised patient; Peer-assisted learning; Physiotherapy
22.  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
23.  A prospective, blinded evaluation of a video-assisted ‘4-stage approach’ during undergraduate student practical skills training 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:104.
The 4-stage approach (4-SA) is used as a didactic method for teaching practical skills in international courses on resuscitation and the structured care of trauma patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate objective and subjective learning success of a video-assisted 4-SA in teaching undergraduate medical students.
The participants were medical students learning the principles of the acute treatment of trauma patients in their multidiscipline course on emergency and intensive care medicine. The participants were quasi- randomly divided into two groups. The 4-SA was used in both groups. In the control group, all four steps were presented by an instructor. In the study group, the first two steps were presented as a video. At the end of the course a 5-minute objective, structured clinical examination (OSCE) of a simulated trauma patient was conducted. The test results were divided into objective results obtained through a checklist with 9 dichotomous items and the assessment of the global performance rated subjectively by the examiner on a Likert scale from 1 to 6.
313 students were recruited; the results of 256 were suitable for analysis. The OSCE results were excellent in both groups and did not differ significantly (control group: median 9, interquantil range (IQR) 8–9, study group: median 9, IQR 8–9; p = 0.29). The global performance was rated significantly better for the study group (median 1, IQR 1–2 vs. median 2, IQR 1–3; p < 0.01). The relative knowledge increase, stated by the students in their evaluation after the course, was greater in the study group (85% vs. 80%).
It is possible to employ video assistance in the classical 4-SA with comparable objective test results in an OSCE. The global performance was significantly improved with use of video assistance.
PMCID: PMC4040470  PMID: 24885140
Teaching methods; Medical students; Trauma care
24.  Video-based feedback of oral clinical presentations reduces the anxiety of ICU medical students: a multicentre, prospective, randomized study 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:103.
Oral presentations of clinical cases by medical students during medical rounds in hospital wards are a source of anxiety and little is known about how this anxiety can be alleviated. The objective of this study was to investigate whether video-based feedback of public oral presentations can reduce anxiety in 4th year medical students.
Multicentre randomized study conducted in six intensive care units (ICU) and emergency departments (ED) in France over a 9-month period in 2012. One hundred and forty two 4th year medical students were randomized to two groups: intervention and control. Students in the intervention group were recorded while making an oral presentation of a patient during morning ward rounds, followed by video-based feedback. Students in the control group conducted presented classical oral presentations without being filmed and with no formal feedback. Anxiety levels during a public oral presentation were assessed using the Spielberger State Anxiety Inventory (STAI-S). The primary outcome was the difference in STAI-S scores between groups at the beginning and at the end of a 3-month ICU or ED internship.
Seventy four students were randomized to the ‘video-based feedback’ group and 68 were randomized to the control group. In both groups, STAI-S scores were significantly lower after 3 months of internship. However, the reduction in STAI-S scores was significantly greater in the “video-based feedback” group than in controls (-9.2 ± 9.3 vs. –4.6 ± 8.2, p = 0.024. Compared to the control group, significantly fewer students with high-level anxiety were observed in the “video-based feedback” group after 3 months of internship (68 vs. 28%, p <0.001).
Compared to “usual practice”, video-assisted oral feedback reduced anxiety and significantly decreased the proportion of students experiencing severe anxiety.
PMCID: PMC4059172  PMID: 24885005
Oral feedback; Video tape; Medical education
25.  An educational video to promote multi-factorial approaches for fall and injury prevention in long-term care facilities 
BMC Medical Education  2014;14:102.
Older adults living in long term care (LTC) settings are vulnerable to fall-related injuries. There is a need to develop and implement evidence-based approaches to address fall injury prevention in LTC. Knowledge translation (KT) interventions to support the uptake of evidence-based approaches to fall injury prevention in LTC need to be responsive to the learning needs of LTC staff and use mediums, such as videos, that are accessible and easy-to-use. This article describes the development of two unique educational videos to promote fall injury prevention in long-term care (LTC) settings. These videos are unique from other fall prevention videos in that they include video footage of real life falls captured in the LTC setting.
Two educational videos were developed (2012–2013) to support the uptake of findings from a study exploring the causes of falls based on video footage captured in LTC facilities. The videos were developed by: (1) conducting learning needs assessment in LTC settings via six focus groups (2) liaising with LTC settings to identify learning priorities through unstructured conversations; and (3) aligning the content with principles of adult learning theory.
The videos included footage of falls, interviews with older adults and fall injury prevention experts. The videos present evidence-based fall injury prevention recommendations aligned to the needs of LTC staff and: (1) highlight recommendations deemed by LTC staff as most urgent (learner-centered learning); (2) highlight negative impacts of falls on older adults (encourage meaning-making); and, (3) prompt LTC staff to reflect on fall injury prevention practices (encourage critical reflection).
Educational videos are an important tool available to researchers seeking to translate evidence-based recommendations into LTC settings. Additional research is needed to determine their impact on practice.
PMCID: PMC4032168  PMID: 24884899

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