HSC Education Days


Medical Student’s Perspectives on Clerkship-Year Goals in a Split Curriculum

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Background: Clinical exposure is important for the consolidation of knowledge. During the CoVid pandemic UNM-SOM split the 2020-2021 clerkship-curriculum into a virtual component (6mo of didactics and Shelf preparation) and followed by a clinical placement (6mo of clerkships). This separation allowed to explore how students saw the relationship between: 1) didactics and clinical practice, and 2) clerkship elements to the overall goals for the clerkship-year. We explored student perceptions of the relationship of didactics and clinical experience to knowledge acquisition during the clerkship-year.

Methods: We conducted Zoom-based focus groups (FGs) with UNM’s Class of 2022 students who experienced the split curriculum. 16 students were interviewed about their experiences and impressions of the clerkship-year. Three independent reviewers (AL, AM, MR) used a grounded theory approach to separately code core-themes, followed by an inter-rater reliability scale, to select prevalent topics regarding student perspectives on learning acquisition in the split-curriculum and how their clerkship-goals impacted their perspectives.

Results: Students identified distinct goals of the clerkship-year (standardized tests’ performance, acquiring foundational knowledge, learning clinical medicine, developing clinical judgement, professional identity formation (PIF)). Four themes emerged: 1) the relationship between Shelf content and Clinical Practice, 2) preference for Segregated vs. Integrated curriculum, 3) Value of Clinical Experience in consolidating Medical Knowledge and 4) importance of Clinical Experience for learning Clinical Practice, developing Clinical Judgement and PIF.

Conclusions: Students identified their goals for Phase II clerkships and all agreed on the importance of clinical immersion for gaining knowledge and PIF. There are different types of learners that incorporate varying degrees of didactic and clinical learning to their overall clerkship-goals.

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