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Learning physical examination skills outside timetabled training sessions: what happens and why?

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      Abstract

      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.

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      What every teacher needs to know about clinical reasoning.

       Kevin Eva (2004)
      One of the core tasks assigned to clinical teachers is to enable students to sort through a cluster of features presented by a patient and accurately assign a diagnostic label, with the development of an appropriate treatment strategy being the end goal. Over the last 30 years there has been considerable debate within the health sciences education literature regarding the model that best describes how expert clinicians generate diagnostic decisions. The purpose of this essay is to provide a review of the research literature on clinical reasoning for frontline clinical teachers. The strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to clinical reasoning will be examined using one of the core divides between various models (that of analytic (i.e. conscious/controlled) versus non-analytic (i.e. unconscious/automatic) reasoning strategies) as an orienting framework. Recent work suggests that clinical teachers should stress the importance of both forms of reasoning, thereby enabling students to marshal reasoning processes in a flexible and context-specific manner. Specific implications are drawn from this overview for clinical teachers.
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        The assessment of professional competence: Developments, research and practical implications.

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          How can experience in clinical and community settings contribute to early medical education? A BEME systematic review.

          Review period January 1992-December 2001. Final analysis July 2004-January 2005. BACKGROUND AND REVIEW CONTEXT: There has been no rigorous systematic review of the outcomes of early exposure to clinical and community settings in medical education. OBJECTIVES OF REVIEW: Identify published empirical evidence of the effects of early experience in medical education, analyse it, and synthesize conclusions from it. Identify the strengths and limitations of the research effort to date, and identify objectives for future research. Ovid search of: BEI, ERIC, Medline, CINAHL and EMBASE Additional electronic searches of: Psychinfo, Timelit, EBM reviews, SIGLE, and the Cochrane databases. Hand-searches of:Medical Education, Medical Teacher, Academic Medicine, Teaching and Learning in Medicine, Advances in Health Sciences Education, Journal of Educational Psychology. Authentic (real as opposed to simulated) human contact in a social or clinical context that enhances learning of health, illness and/or disease, and the role of the health professional. Early: What would traditionally have been regarded as the preclinical phase, usually the first 2 years. Inclusions: All empirical studies (verifiable, observational data) of early experience in the basic education of health professionals, whatever their design or methodology, including papers not in English. Evidence from other health care professions that could be applied to medicine was included. Not empirical; not early; post-basic; simulated rather than 'authentic' experience. Careful validation of selection processes. Coding by two reviewers onto an extensively modified version of the standard BEME coding sheet. Accumulation into an Access database. Secondary coding and synthesis of an interpretation. A total of 73 studies met the selection criteria and yielded 277 educational outcomes; 116 of those outcomes (from 38 studies) were rated strong and important enough to include in a narrative synthesis of results; 76% of those outcomes were from descriptive studies and 24% from comparative studies. Early experience motivated and satisfied students of the health professions and helped them acclimatize to clinical environments, develop professionally, interact with patients with more confidence and less stress, develop self-reflection and appraisal skill, and develop a professional identity. It strengthened their learning and made it more real and relevant to clinical practice. It helped students learn about the structure and function of the healthcare system, and about preventive care and the role of health professionals. It supported the learning of both biomedical and behavioural/social sciences and helped students acquire communication and basic clinical skills. There were outcomes for beneficiaries other than students, including teachers, patients, populations, organizations and specialties. Early experience increased recruitment to primary care/rural medical practice, though mainly in US studies which introduced it for that specific purpose as part of a complex intervention. Early experience helps medical students socialize to their chosen profession. It helps them acquire a range of subject matter and makes their learning more real and relevant. It has potential benefits for other stakeholders, notably teachers and patients. It can influence career choices.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Skillslab, Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, P. O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
            [2 ]Student, Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
            [3 ]Institute for Medical Education, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
            [4 ]Department of Educational Development and Research, Faculty of Health Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
            Contributors
            +31-628-359428 , r.duvivier@maastrichtuniversity.nl
            Journal
            Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract
            Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract
            Advances in Health Sciences Education
            Springer Netherlands (Dordrecht )
            1382-4996
            1573-1677
            28 June 2011
            28 June 2011
            August 2012
            : 17
            : 3
            : 339-355
            3378843
            21710301
            9312
            10.1007/s10459-011-9312-5
            © The Author(s) 2011
            Categories
            Article
            Custom metadata
            © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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