Author(s): Wenrich MD, Jackson MB, Wolfhagen I, Ramsey PG, Scherpbier AJ
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Despite increasing attention to providing preclinical medical students with early patient experiences, little is known about associated outcomes for students. The authors compared three early patient experiences at a large American medical school where all preclinical students complete preceptorships and weekly bedside clinical-skills training and about half complete clinical, community-based summer immersion experiences. The authors asked, what are the relative outcomes and important educational components for students? METHODS: Medical students completed surveys at end of second year 2009-2011. In 2009, students compared/contrasted two of three approaches; responses framed later survey questions. In 2010 and 2011, students rated all three experiences in relevant areas (e.g., developing comfort in clinical setting). Investigators performed qualitative and quantitative analyses. RESULTS: Students rated bedside training more highly for developing comfort with clinical settings, one-on-one clinical-skills training, feedback, active clinical experience, quality of clinical training, and learning to be part of a team. They rated community clinical immersion and preceptorships more highly for understanding the life/practice of a physician and career/specialty decisions. CONCLUSIONS: Preclinical students received different benefits from the different experiences. Medical schools should define objectives of early clinical experiences and offer options accordingly. A combination of experiences may help students achieve clinical and team comfort, clinical skills, an understanding of physicians' lives/practices, and broad exposure for career decisions.
This article was published in BMC Med Educ
and referenced in Primary Healthcare: Open Access