HSC Education Days


Trust in UNM School of Medicine Curriculum

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Intro Have you ever been disappointed after reading an end-of-course evaluation? Teachers put forth substantial effort but learners are disappointed with the course. What can explain this paradox? We surmised that trust affected learner perceptions of courses at the UNM School of Medicine. We investigated students’ perceptions of trust, and how that trust shapes their interactions with the curriculum. Background Research into medical education trust dynamics focuses on the instructor’s trust in the students to gradually perform tasks in the workplace. Yet, no relationship is unilateral in nature; therefore, we must also infer that a student develops a certain level of trust in their teachers, and, that level of trust shapes how students interpret their educational experience. Methods The initial phase of this research included a survey distributed to first-year medical students. The survey was designed to gauge student trust in the curriculum, faculty, and institution. Responses were thematically analyzed, and shaped discussion prompts in focus groups. Two classes of medical students have taken a survey and participated in focus groups before and post Step 1. Results Students felt that consistency within block structure and provided instructor content (e.g., high-yield notes) supported a trustworthy learning environment. Students appreciated faculty transparency regarding topics found in third-party resources but not covered during coursework. Students felt that faculty acknowledgment of discord between resources allows for compartmentalization of information as predominantly clinical or board applicable. Finally, students felt that negative faculty attitudes toward Step 1 eroded trust. Discussion Students perceive there to be a lack of harmony between the curriculum, as presented, and future board exams. This research provides invaluable information of students’ perceptions of material to optimize student reception and engagement with the curriculum.


This poster was presented during the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Education Days.

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