Medical Students have Spoken: Improving Undergraduate Education on Child Development
CPS ePoster Library. Bischoff M. 06/01/17; 176583; 22
Dr. Michelle Bischoff
Dr. Michelle Bischoff
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Background: Child development is a critical aspect of medical education for which learners commonly report low confidence and preparedness for practice. A recent study reported that graduating medical students' knowledge of child development was poor compared to what is expected at the physician level. The underlying reasons for this are complex, and literature is lacking on ways to improve teaching on child development in medical education.

Objectives: This study aimed to assess graduating medical students' opinions about child development teaching received during medical school. The goal was to identify educational strategies that may be used to improve undergraduate education in child development.

Methods: Near the end of training, fourth year medical students completed an online survey assessing opinions about developmental teaching received throughout medical school, specifically: types of instruction, quantity, and quality of preclinical and clerkship teaching dedicated to child development. They were also asked how competent they felt assessing a child's developmental status. Finally, students were asked to suggest ways this material could be better taught to future trainees. Responses were categorized into educational strategies for learning child development, as well as looking for overarching themes.

Results: 98 students from the 2014 graduating class completed the survey (56% response rate). Most students agreed that undergraduate teaching time dedicated to child development was adequate (55%). When asked how competent they felt assessing a child's developmental status, only 38% felt capable, while 62% felt they were only slightly or not at all competent. Students identified that having a pocket guide to reference developmental milestones was very helpful. Many students emphasized that rote memorization of concepts was difficult. They also conveyed that clinical exposure was helpful to solidify concepts and that perhaps more authentic interactions with children are necessary. Other emerging themes included need for more reinforcement of abnormal clinical presentations and increased allied health exposures.

Conclusion: Child development is a set of core concepts permeating all areas of pediatric medicine that is traditionally difficult to learn and retain. We identified several ways in which undergraduate teaching is helpful, including accessible reference materials, and also ways in which it might be improved, including increased individual and multidisciplinary clinical exposures. This student feedback may be used to develop new teaching tools and strategies to increase graduating medical students' competency and confidence related to normal child development.

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