Background There are limited data on the amount of time students spend on teaching and learning while on internal medicine clerkships, and existing data suggest a wide international variation. Community‐based teaching of internal medicine is now widespread; but its strengths and weaknesses compared to traditional hospital based teaching are still unclear. Aim To determine the proportion of time students spend on different activities on an internal medicine clerkship, and to determine whether this differs in general practice and in hospital. In addition we aimed to determine students’ views on the educational value and enjoyment of various activities. Methods Prospective completion of log diaries recording student activities. Each student was asked to complete the diary for two separate weeks of their internal medicine clerkship: one week of general practice‐based teaching and one week of hospital‐based teaching. Results The response rate was 68% (88/130). Students spent approximately 5·5 h per day on teaching and learning activities in both environments, with more time (50 min vs. 30 min, P=0·007) on unsupervised interaction with patients in hospital than in general practice, and more time (53 min vs. 21 min, P < 0·001) undergoing assessment in general practice than in hospital. Standard deviations were wide, demonstrating the heterogeneous nature of the data. Students perceived supervised interaction with patients and teaching by doctors as the most educational activities in both environments, but found it even more educationally valuable and enjoyable in general practice than in hospital (mean score for educational value: 4·27 in general practice, 3·88 in hospital, P=0·048; mean score for enjoyment 4·13 in general practice, 3·66 in hospital, P=0·03). Conclusions Students greatly value interactions with patients, perceiving these as both educational and enjoyable. Curriculum planners must continue to place patient‐based learning at the centre of undergraduate medical education. The heterogeneity of the data suggests that individual students have very different experiences, despite apparently similar timetables.
Medical Education – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2001
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