Clinical skills progress evaluation during internal medicine clerkships:
how much do students gain?
Clinical skills are important for medical students and doctors for their everyday work and faculties are expected to teach and assess clinical skills and other competencies that medical students should have at the beginning of their career. Among competencies required for a young doctor to begin with his or her career are several clinical skills. The aim of our study was to evaluate in a low-stakes formative assessment the clinical skills level improvement of finishing medical students prior to and after their 9-week Internal medicine clerkship.
88 final year medical students participated in the study prior and after their 9-week Internal medicine clerkship. On the first day and on their last day of clerkship, they were assessed in three different clinical skills – history taking, venipuncture and rectal examination. Clinical skills were performed on artificial simulators. Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) was used to evaluate students and assessors used a prepared checklist for each clinical skill.
A significant improvement was detected in total OSCE (p=0.001), history taking (p=0.001) and rectal examination results (p=0.023) on the second testing. Moreover, reduction of time needed to complete the task was also detected in all clinical skills.
Final year medical students have a lot of practical skills and are well prepared for the clinical environment. They are prepared to perform tested clinical skills on their own, without supervision. Additional activities should be considered to improve performance in the clinical skill.