Indexed on: 24 Sep '05Published on: 24 Sep '05Published in: Medical Education
The aim of curriculum reform in medical education is to improve students' clinical and communication skills. However, there are contradicting results regarding the effectiveness of such reforms.A study of internal medicine students was carried out using a static group design. The experimental group consisted of 77 students participating in 7 sessions of communication training, 7 sessions of skills-laboratory training and 7 sessions of bedside-teaching, each lasting 1.5 hours. The control group of 66 students from the traditional curriculum participated in equally as many sessions but was offered only bedside teaching. Students' cognitive and practical skills performance was assessed using Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) testing and an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), delivered by examiners blind to group membership.The experimental group performed significantly better on the OSCE than did the control group (P < 0.01), whereas the groups did not differ on the MCQ test (P < 0.15). This indicates that specific training in communication and basic clinical skills enabled students to perform better in an OSCE, whereas its effects on knowledge did not differ from those of the traditional curriculum.Curriculum reform promoting communication and basic clinical skills are effective and lead to an improved performance in history taking and physical examination skills.