MEDLINE Journals

    Easing the transition: medical students' perceptions of critical skills required for the clerkships.

    Small RM, Soriano RP, Chietero M, et al. 
    Educ Health (Abingdon) 2008 Dec; 21(3) :192.

    The preclinical years of undergraduate medical education provide educational content in a structured learning environment whereas clerkships provide clinical training in a more experiential manner. Although early clinical skills training is emphasized in many medical schools, students still feel unprepared and anxious about starting their clerkships. This study identifies the skills medical students perceive as essential and those skill areas students are most anxious about prior to starting clerkship rotations.Open-ended questionnaires were administered to two cohorts of students, preclinical students (PCS) completing their second year and clinical students (CS) in the ninth month of the clinical training of their third year at a single urban US medical school. The following questions were addressed in the survey: which three clinical skills do they perceive are most essential for the clerkships; which skills are students most anxious about as they enter clerkships; and what additional skills training should be provided to students to ease the transition into clerkships.Response rate to the questionnaire was 84%. PCS (n=93) reported the three most essential skills to be prepared for clerkships are: history taking/physical examination (73%), proficiency in oral case presentations (56%), and generation of differential diagnosis (46%). CS (n=105) reported interpersonal skills (80%), history taking/physical examination (37%), and time management (26%) as most essential. PCS were most anxious about their oral case presentation skills (30%), but CS were most concerned about time management and self care (40%).This study identified the skills that students at one school regard as most important to have mastered before beginning clerkship training and the areas students find most anxiety provoking before and after they make the transition into clerkships. These results can inform medical educators about needed curriculum to facilitate this transition and decrease the anxiety of students entering the clinical realm.

    Clinical Clerkship
    Clinical Competence
    Education, Medical, Undergraduate
    Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
    Students, Medical
    United States


    Pub Type(s)
    Journal Article
    PubMed ID


    Content Manager
    Related Content

    Ready or not? Expectations of faculty and medical students for clinical skills preparation for clerkships.

    Development of clinical reasoning from the basic sciences to the clerkships: a longitudinal assessment of medical students' needs and self-perception after a transitional learning unit.

    A short transitional course can help medical students prepare for clinical learning.

    A novel 3-year longitudinal pilot study of medical students' acquisition and retention of screening eye examination skills.

    Can medical schools rely on clerkships to train students in basic clinical skills?

    Alternating skills training and clerkships to ease the transition from preclinical to clinical training.

    Preparation for clinical practice: a survey of medical students' and graduates' perceptions of the effectiveness of their medical school curriculum.

    Students' opinions about their preparation for clinical practice.