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issn:2229-340
1.  EXPERIENCE OF A WORKSHOP ON COMMUNICATION SKILLS IN HEALTH PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION 
Background:
The teaching of communication skills is gaining increasing attention. However, the opportunities for faculty development are limited. This study highlights an attempt by the Medical Education Unit, King Fahd Hospital of the University, Al-Khobar, to raise the awareness of faculty to this vital area by organizing a one-day workshop.
Method:
A one-day workshop was organized to improve the awareness of the participants to the role of communication skills such as doctor-patient interaction, breaking bad news, counseling and conflict management. In all, 168 participants consisting of faculty members, interns and students, both male and female participated. The sessions included interactive lectures, video demonstrations and role play.
Results:
The feedback from the participants indicated that the objectives of the workshop were largely realized. The presentations by speakers were of high quality. However, the participants wanted more small group activities and video-demonstrations that were relevant to the local environment.
Conclusion:
By and large, the one-day workshop was found to be a practical model for an initial attempt to raise awareness. Further work is needed to organize more intensive workshops on specific issues related to communication skills.
PMCID: PMC3377044  PMID: 23012202
Communication Skills; Faculty Development; Health Professional Education
2.  AN AUDIT OF ASSESSMENT TOOLS IN A MEDICAL SCHOOL IN EASTERN SAUDI ARABIA 
Background:
Assessment has a powerful influence on curriculum delivery. Medical instructors must use tools which conform to educational principles, and audit them as part of curriculum review.
Aim:
To generate information to support recommendations for improving curriculum delivery.
Setting:
Pre-clinical and clinical departments in a College of Medicine, Saudi Arabia.
Method:
A self-administered questionnaire was used in a cross-sectional survey to see if assessment tools being used met basic standards of validity, reliability and currency, and if feedback to students was adequate. Excluded were cost, feasibility and tool combinations.
Results:
Thirty-one (out of 34) courses were evaluated. All 31 respondents used MCQs, especially one-best (28/31) and true/false (13/31). Groups of teachers selected test questions mostly. Pre-clinical departments sourced equally from “new” (10/14) and “used” (10/14) MCQs; clinical departments relied on ‘banked’ MCQs (16/17). Departments decided pass marks (28/31) and chose the College-set 60%; the timing was pre-examination in 13/17 clinical but post-examination in 5/14 pre-clinical departments. Of six essay users, five used model answers but only one did double marking. OSCE was used by 7/17 clinical departments; five provided checklist. Only 3/31 used optical reader. Post-marking review was done by 13/14 pre-clinical but 10/17 clinical departments. Difficulty and discriminating indices were determined by only 4/31 departments. Feedback was provided by 12/14 pre-clinical and 7/17 clinical departments. Only 10/31 course coordinators had copies of examination regulations.
Recommendations:
MCQ with single-best answer, if properly constructed and adequately critiqued, is the preferred tool for assessing theory domain. However, there should be fresh questions, item analyses, comparisons with pervious results, optical reader systems and double marking. Departments should use OSCE or OSPE more often. Long essays, true/false, fill-in-the-blank-spaces and more-than-one-correct-answer can be safely abolished. Departments or teams should set test papers and collectively take decisions. Feedback rates should be improved. A Center of Medical Education, including an Examination Center is required. Fruitful future studies can be repeat audit, use of “negative questions” and the number of MCQs per test paper. Comparative audit involving other regional medical schools may be of general interest.
PMCID: PMC3410120  PMID: 23012084
Assessment Technique; Curriculum review; MCQ
3.  PREDICTIVE FACTORS AND INCIDENCE OF COMPLICATIONS IN APPARENTLY HEALTHY FULL TERM INFANTS OF DIABETIC MOTHERS 
Aim:
To determine the incidence of different complications of the apparently healthy full-term infants of diabetic mothers (IDMs) and whether these complications could be predicted early.
Methods:
A prospective study was performed in the Nursery Unit of King Fahd Hospital of the University in Al-Khobar over an 18-month period. Eligible neonates were those full-term IDMs who were asymptomatic at birth, with birth weight ≥ 2000 g and whose mothers had gestational or pregestational diabetes. AUDMs were routinely observed for at least 2 days. A complete blood count, glucose, bilirubin and calcium serum levels were monitored. The morbidity study group included all IDMs who experienced complications requiring treatment or observation for > 48 hours.
Results:
One hundred and eighty eight infants with a birth-weight of 3411 ± 616 g and with gestational age of 38.5 ± 1.2 weeks were enrolled in the study. Asymptomatic hypoglycemia (31%) was mostly mild and transient. The rate of other complications such as hypocalcemia (4%), polycythemia (13%), hyperbilirubinemia (18%), intrauterine growth retardation (2%) with 30% rate for large gestational age. Using a logistic regression model; maternal insulin therapy, poor diabetic control, birth asphyxia, early neonatal hypoglycemia and polycythemia were found to be highly predictive of morbidity with an odd ratio of 2.41, 2.91, 9.65, 3.88 and 3.74 respectively.
Conclusion:
Complications of apparently healthy IDMs appear to be very mild and transient. These were found to be strongly associated with specific perinatal events.
PMCID: PMC3437102  PMID: 23008602
Infant of diabetic mother; full-term; complications

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