The relevance of basic sciences in undergraduate medical education

Lynch, C. and Grant, T. and McLoughlin, P. and Last, J. (2015) The relevance of basic sciences in undergraduate medical education. Irish Journal of Medical Science. ISSN 00211265 (ISSN)

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Abstract

Background: Evolving and changing undergraduate medical curricula raise concerns that there will no longer be a place for basic sciences. National and international trends show that 5-year programmes with a pre-requisite for school chemistry are growing more prevalent. National reports in Ireland show a decline in the availability of school chemistry and physics. Aim: This observational cohort study considers if the basic sciences of physics, chemistry and biology should be a prerequisite to entering medical school, be part of the core medical curriculum or if they have a place in the practice of medicine. Methods: Comparisons of means, correlation and linear regression analysis assessed the degree of association between predictors (school and university basic sciences) and outcomes (year and degree GPA) for entrants to a 6-year Irish medical programme between 2006 and 2009 (n = 352). Results: We found no statistically significant difference in medical programme performance between students with/without prior basic science knowledge. The Irish school exit exam and its components were mainly weak predictors of performance (−0.043 ≥ r ≤ 0.396). Success in year one of medicine, which includes a basic science curriculum, was indicative of later success (0.194 ≥ r2 ≤ 0.534). Conclusions: University basic sciences were found to be more predictive than school sciences in undergraduate medical performance in our institution. The increasing emphasis of basic sciences in medical practice and the declining availability of school sciences should mandate medical schools in Ireland to consider how removing basic sciences from the curriculum might impact on future applicants.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Export Date: 23 February 2015; Article in Press; CODEN: IJMSA; Correspondence Address: Lynch, C.; UCD School of Medicine and Medical Science, University College DublinIreland
Uncontrolled Keywords: Admission; Assessment; Education; Medical; Predictive; Science; Student; Undergraduate
Depositing User: Colin Lowry
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2015 09:51
URI: http://eprints.teachingandlearning.ie/id/eprint/2784

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