Student perceptions of the care of children: impacts of pre-clerkship pediatric and primary care clinical teaching
Background: Pediatric clinical skills teaching sessions provide an early opportunity for students to be exposed to the medical care of children. This report describes second and third year medical students’ perceptions of and attitudes towards working with children before and after the pediatric clinical skills teaching sessions, and the experiences of those students precepted by pediatricians only compared to those students working with a combination of pediatricians and family physicians.
Method: A 13 question survey was voluntarily completed before and after teaching sessions. Written reflective assignments were qualitatively analyzed for key themes. Response rate averaged 68% with class sizes of 84 and 85 students.
Results: Students’ perceptions of the care of children were generally very positive. Some differences were found based on gender, phase of study and prior clinical exposure to pediatric care. Pre and post responses were similar, regardless of preceptor specialty. Students with family physician preceptors identified the themes of prevention, health promotion and multidisciplinary care in their reflections.Conclusions: Students had already formed positive attitudes toward the medical care of children and intended to care for children in their future practice. Further research is needed into the effects of pre-clerkship experiences in the care of children on choice of medical specialty.
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