From simulation to reality, identifying the barriers

Whelan, Clare, DiBartolomeo, Matthew, Smith, Mathew and Danielle, James (2014) From simulation to reality, identifying the barriers. In: Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE), Excellence in Education - the 21st Century Teacher, 30 August - 3 September 2014, Milan, Italy.


Background : Medical schools utilize teaching in both the classroom and clinical settings as a means of educating students. By understanding the factors that students perceive to facilitate or hinder their development, coordinators and administrators can develop a curriculum that maximizes student learning and development. Summary of Work: A quantitative survey was administered to third, fourth and fifth year medical students at a medical school in an Irish University. The items related to categories identified in the literature as perceived by medical students to be influential in student learning in the clinical area: patient census, environment, supervision, clinical teachers and organization of the clinical learning and organization of the medical and surgical environment. Summary of Results: Students reported favourably about their experience with patients, clinical teaching and the clinical environment, (means 4.0, 3.5 and 3.4 respectively). The level of supervision and the organisation of the learning environment were reported less favourably, means 2.4 and 2.5 respectively. This finding is in keeping with other studies that have found that students experience a transition in learning needs from the pre-clinical to more clinical years. Students also reported a low level of feedback where the item “I get regular feedback on my strengths and weaknesses” scored a mean of less than in 3 for both medicine and surgery rotations. Discussion and Conclusions: Overall, the main issues perceived to inhibit the development of students’ clinical skills in the clinical skills setting were lack of supervision when on rotation, poor organization of the learning environment and insufficient feedback from clinical mentors. Take-home messages: By understanding the factors that students perceive as barriers to the development of their clinical skills in the clinical area we may be able to address some of those barriers and maximise the valuable learning opportunities of the clinical placement

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