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COMMUNITY-RELATED ISSUES
Year : 2000  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 53-62

Introducing Community-based Teaching of Third Year Medical Students: Outcomes of a Pilot Project One Year Later and Implications for Managing Change


Medical Education Unit and Department of General Practice, Leeds University Medical School, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
J E Thistlethwaite
General Practice, 20 Hyde Terrace, Leeds LS2 9LN
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


Introduction: British undergraduate medical education is undergoing change, including a greater emphasis being placed on community-based teaching. These changes need to be evaluated for their educational outcomes, but there also needs to be a review of the process of introducing change and its subsequent management. The setting: During the academic year 1996/97 a new project was piloted at Leeds University. Fifty-three third year medical students were attached in groups of four to general practitioner tutors in a primary care setting for four days in order to improve consultation skills. There was an emphasis on adopting a patient-centered approach, particularly asking patients about their concerns. Method: These students were asked to .ll in a questionnaire to determine whether the community-based teaching has made any lasting impression on their attitudes and performance. The response rate was 80%. The students commented that even only four days of community-based teaching had helped them realize the importance of asking about patients' concerns. They also reported beginning to concentrate on psychosocial issues while talking to patients, issues that are often ignored by medical students. The students' comments are contrasted with those of the hospital-based tutors, some of whom have looked less than favorably on the project. Discussion: The introduction of any new learning experience needs to be evaluated both in the short term and in the long term. This study begins to address long-term evaluation and suggests that a brief attachment can be memorable to students and beneficial one year later.


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