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Open Access Student self-assessment of strengths and needed improvements during a family medicine clerkship

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Objective: There are few reports on how students self-assess their performance on a family medicine clerkship. We studied what students perceived as their strengths and areas of needed improvement at the mid-point in our family medicine clerkship.

Methods: We introduced a form for family medicine clerkship students to self-assess their strengths and areas of needed improvements using the clerkship objectives as a standard. We calculated the frequency in which each clerkship objective was reported as a strength or an area of needed improvement. For students’ open-ended comments, two reviewers independently organized students’ comments into themes, then negotiated any initial differences into a set of themes that incorporated both the reviewers’ findings. We performed χ2 tests to determine any significant differences in the frequency of responses between male and female students.

Results: During the study period (July 2012 to June 2014), 372 students submitted completed self-assessment forms. The most frequently reported strengths were professional objectives (48.9%) and interpersonal communication objectives (43.0%) The most frequently reported areas of needed improvement were the ability to explain key characteristics of commonly used medications (29.3%) and the ability to develop a management plan (28.5%). There were no significant differences in the frequency of responses between male and female students.

Conclusion: We now have a better understanding of students’ perceived strengths and areas of needed improvement in our family medicine clerkship. We have shared this information with our community faculty preceptors so that they will be better prepared to work with our students. Family medicine clerkship preceptors at other institutions may also find these results useful.

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Keywords: Education; clinical clerkship; medical; student self-assessment; undergraduate

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2015-06-01

More about this publication?
  • Family Medicine and Community Health (FMCH) is an open-access journal focusing on subjects that are common and relevant to family medicine/general practice and community health. The journal publishes relevant content across disciplines such as epidemiology, public health, social and preventive medicine, research and evidence based medicine, community health service, patient education and health promotion and health ethics. The journal has a specific focus on the management of chronic illness particularly diabetes, ischaemic heart disease, chronic heart failure, hypertension, bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease and common mental illness. FMCH is published by Compuscript http://www.compuscript.com on behalf of the Chinese General Practice Press http://www.chinagp.net.

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