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      Condensing embryology teaching: a medical student perspective

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      Advances in Medical Education and Practice

      Dove Medical Press

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          Abstract

          Dear editor We read with great interest the study by Kazzazi and Bartlett,1 which explores a potential method for teaching embryology to medical students. This consisted of a 2-h peer-teaching session, with an emphasis on the clinical aspects of this subject. As the modern medical curriculum often struggles to include adequate teaching of embryology, this study by Kazzazi and Bartlett1 is of particular relevance. Indeed, findings by Hamilton and Carachi2 also convey medical student dissatisfaction with embryology teaching. As medical students at King’s College London who have already received embryology teaching, we understand how conceptually challenging embryology can be for first year medical students and, thus, would like to offer additional insight. We first received embryology teaching in our first year, which consisted of an introductory lecture that covered the basic principles. We feel this was fundamental to our understanding of the complexities discussed in subsequent lectures. The condensed course provided by Kazzazi and Bartlett1 may best be delivered as a similar introduction to embryology, motivating students to engage with further learning offered. Although we appreciate the impact that the condensed course design had upon the medical students within the study, we believe that further improvements can be achieved. We have also benefited from peer-led teaching sessions similar to those described by Kazzazi and Bartlett.1 However, our teaching was delivered to smaller groups (8–10 students), which we felt to be more engaging than our lectures. This is supported by Cendan et al,3 who demonstrated an increase in student satisfaction and examination percentile scores in small group teaching when compared to that of a large lecture group. Consequently, providing this course in a small-group format may enhance student satisfaction and learning outcomes. Furthermore, while these condensed sessions can instill immediate confidence in the student, we have found that the long-term retention of knowledge is questionable. At our institution, much of our learning is delivered online, through virtual patient-based clinical scenarios. The provision of such scenarios, we believe, would prove beneficial when combined with the condensed teaching method, and highlight the clinical consequences of embryopathies. Several studies have attempted to evaluate the effectiveness of online virtual patients within medical education, with many concluding that it is a valuable tool.4,5 This teaching method allows students to revisit the topic whenever they feel the need to, negating the short-term memory issue that may be encountered with Kazzazi and Bartlett’s1 method. Furthermore, the online scenarios allow the standardization of teaching, a problem that may be encountered with small group peer teaching. In conclusion, we believe supplemental condensed embryology teaching, as suggested by Kazzazi and Bartlett,1 would be beneficial to the understanding of this challenging topic. However, from our experience, we would encourage this teaching to be delivered to a smaller group and be further supplemented with additional online patient-based scenarios to enhance learning and the retention of information. We hope this will provide a more thorough base knowledge of embryology and improve clinical knowledge in related specialities.

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          Most cited references 5

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          Efficacy of virtual patients in medical education: A meta-analysis of randomized studies

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            Death is not always a failure: outcomes from implementing an online virtual patient clinical case in palliative care for family medicine clerkship

            Background The dying patient is a reality of medicine. Medical students, however, feel unprepared to effectively manage the complex end-of-life (EOL) management issues of the dying patient and want increased experiential learning in Palliative Care. Aims To address the need for more formal curriculum in EOL care, we developed and implemented an online virtual patient (VP) clinical case in Palliative Care into the 2010–2011 Year Three Family Medicine Clerkship rotation curriculum. Methods A mixed-method design was used to measure the change in knowledge and perceived preparedness level in EOL care before and after completing the online VP case. A survey collected qualitative descriptions of the students’ educational experience of using this case. Results Ninety five percent (130/137) of the students voluntarily consented to have their results analyzed. The group knowledge score (n=127) increased significantly from a pre-course average of 7.69/16±2.27, to a post-course average of 10.02/16±2.39 (p<0.001). The students’ self-assessed comfort level increased significantly with all aspects of EOL management from pre-course to post-course (p<0.001). Nearly, 91.1% of the students rated the VP realism as ‘Good to Excellent’, 86% rated the case as educationally beneficial. Nearly 59.3% of students felt emotionally engaged with the VP. Qualitative feedback found that the case content was very useful and realistic, but that the interface was sometimes awkward to navigate. Conclusions The online VP case in Palliative Care is a useful teaching tool that may help to address the need for increased formal Palliative Care experience in medical school training programs.
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              Condensing embryology teaching for medical students: can it be taught in 2 hours?

              Introduction Embryology forms a valuable part of the medical school curriculum. However, medical students traditionally struggle with revising embryology and appreciating its relevance. Condensing the teaching content, implementing peer-teaching methods, and increasing clinical focus in curricula have been suggested as methods to improve student engagement. Methods Medical students at two universities were taught a condensed version of the embryological curriculum in 2 hours by final-year medical students. Students’ confidence with the topics covered in the embryological curricula was assessed using anonymized precourse and postcourse questionnaires. Students were asked to further evaluate the quality, delivery, and content of the teaching in the postcourse questionnaire and were given the opportunity to provide written comments. All questions consisted of a statement stem and a five-point Likert scale. Results Students scored significantly higher levels of confidence with embryology after implementation of the course. They found the talk to be effectively delivered, clear, and relevant to their examinations. Conclusion We have demonstrated that it is possible to design and produce an embryology teaching program that covers an undergraduate embryology curriculum in a chronological systems-based manner in 2 hours with successful results.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Adv Med Educ Pract
                Adv Med Educ Pract
                Advances in Medical Education and Practice
                Advances in Medical Education and Practice
                Dove Medical Press
                1179-7258
                2018
                20 March 2018
                : 9
                : 187-190
                Affiliations
                GKT School of Medical Education, King’s College London, London, UK
                School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Sachin T Patel, GKT School of Medical Education, King’s College London, Hodgkin Building, Newcomen St, London SE1 1UL, UK, Tel +44 7886 829 357, Email k1328784@ 123456kcl.ac.uk
                Correspondence: Fawz Kazzazi, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, 37 Grange Road, Leckhampton House, Cambridge CB2 1RH, UK, Tel +44 775 422 005, Email fk276@ 123456cam.ac.uk
                amep-9-187
                10.2147/AMEP.S160475
                5865570
                © 2018 Patel et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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